Thursday, April 5, 2012
The Delaware Supreme Court reversed a conviction for attempted robbery in the first degree, holding that the prosecutor's closing rebuttal argument improperly vouched for the State's case.
The opinion describes a rather inept alleged thief. He went into a Super Fresh supermarket and asked to exchange ten pennies for a dime. When the clerk opened the register, he demanded money and reached in the open drawer. The clerk "slammed the drawer shut, catching [the defendant's] fingers in the crack." He then reached into his waistband and the clerk yelled, causing him to run out the door.
The police tracked him down with the aid of a Belgian shepherd. He was brought back to the supermarket, where he was identified in part by his red goatee.
The prosecutor argued that "The State of Delaware is bringing this charge because it is exactly what [the defendant] did."
The court found that the criminal case was a "close" one and that the prejudicial remark may have affected the outcome. (MIke Frisch)