Someone convicted of a crime in California may be able to appeal that conviction on the grounds of “prosecutorial misconduct.” Citizens are protected from “prosecutorial misconduct” under the United States Constitution. “Prosecutorial misconduct” is defined as unlawful action taken by a prosecutor, specifically to sway the jury to convict a defendant, wrongfully, or to get the judge to impose a punishment more harsher than appropriate for the crime.
When Does “Prosecutorial Misconduct” Occur?
“Prosecutorial misconduct” occurs when a prosecutor breaks a law or a code of professional ethics in the course of a prosecution. It is the responsibility of a prosecutor to present a jury and judge with the facts of the case in an attempt to seek justice. He or she must present a legal argument that is honest during the quest to get the defendant convicted. It also is the obligation of the prosecuting attorney to turn over all evidence to the defense, even if it could exonerate the defendant. Recent research reveals that individuals are wrongfully convicted, due to “prosecutorial misconduct,” about 40 percent of the time.
How to Respond to “Prosecutorial Misconduct”
If one suspects he or she was convicted of a crime in California as a result of “prosecutorial misconduct,” it is crucial to work with a skilled criminal defense attorney who can fight for justice for him or her. Often, filing an appeal, in a timely manner, is a critical first step. If “prosecutorial misconduct” affected the outcome of a case, then a defense lawyer can fight to get the conviction overturned, under California Penal Code 1181. A defense lawyer also may find it appropriate to request a new trial for his her client on the grounds of “prosecutorial misconduct.” This would cancel the previous conviction and allow the trial process to begin over again. For this to occur, however, the criminal defense lawyer has to prove that the “Prosecutorial misconduct” occurred and it affected the outcome of the case.
Examples of “Prosecutorial Misconduct”
When is it appropriate to appeal on the grounds of “prosecutorial misconduct? A knowledgeable attorney is able to walk his or her client through the appeal process and can advise it if is appropriate to appeal on the specific grounds of “prosecutorial misconduct” in California. When seeking to appeal because of “prosecutorial misconduct,” a defense lawyer will be sure one or some of the following took place:
- The prosecutor referred to facts that were not proven during the trial;
- The prosecutor referred to inadmissible evidence;
- The prosecutor made negative comments in response to the defendant’s decision not to testify during the trial;
- The prosecutor declared his personal opinions concerning why the defendant should be found guilty; and/or
- The prosecutor withheld evidence that could have helped the defendant’s case.
Contact Us For Help!
If you or a loved one need assistance concerning “prosecutorial misconduct,” contact us at The Law Office of Peter Blair. We provide a free consultation to those seeking an attorney for representation.