CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Prosecutors Shouldn't Wield Guns in Court

From  "Pennsylvania prosecutors should think twice about displaying during an opening statement a handgun that will later be entered into evidence during a trial, a state appeals court panel has suggested in a case of first impression.  In Commonwealth v. Parker, a three-judge panel of the Superior Court ruled that although a Philadelphia assistant district attorney should not have been permitted by the trial court to display the gun allegedly belonging to Maurice Parker, the error was harmless, given the weight of the evidence brought against Parker.  "We do, however, caution against the use of such tactics by prosecutors in the future," Judge John T. Bender wrote.  "The display of the gun by the prosecution could not honestly be said to serve any legitimate purpose except to inflame the jury," he added later."  More . . .  [Mark Godsey]

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