Monday, June 16, 2008

"Law Of The Streets"

The Maryland Court of Appeals reversed a criminal conviction based on its conclusion that the prosecutor made an improper closing argument. The alleged victim had offered testimony that did not inculpate the defendant; the prosecutor argued that the victim was adhering to "the law of the streets" in his testimony. The court majority provides a detailed analysis of "golden rule" closing arguments in support of its conclusion. A concurring opinion agrees with the majority's analysis of so-called "Golden Rule" arguments but would find that the prosecutor's argument here involved "permissible rhetorical flourishes" made in fair response to the defense arguments.  (Mike Frisch)

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