Tuesday, January 5, 2010
The limits of proper argument; no prosecutorial misconduct for reference to religion
The Legal Profession Blog is reporting that the Oklahoma Supreme Court has affirmed a death penalty sentence in a case in which the defendant alleged prosecutorial misconduct because of the prosecutor's closing argument. The court rejected the claim of prosecutorial misconduct finding that the prosecutor's brief reference to heavenly judgment was invited by the defense argument in the sentencing phase. The court held that the prosecutor’s brief personal reflections about the forgiveness of God did not, as the defendant "hyperbolically contends, reassure jurors “that they, too, would be forgiven for imposing the death penalty;” nor did it “encourage the jury to follow biblical standards rather than the Court’s instructions." Go here for the text of the opinion.