Substantial Evidence Against Defendant Outweighs Prosecutor’s Improprieties at TrialTrial Advocacy
Commonwealth v. Cadet, No. SJC-10505 (Mass. Nov. 18, 2015)
Opinion digest provided by John P. Wilton
The Supreme Judicial Court examined whether several prosecutorial improprieties created a substantial likelihood of a miscarriage of justice in the defendant’s conviction of first-degree murder. The SJC reprimanded several of the prosecutor’s tactics, including: referring to the defendant’s deceased girlfriend as the “victim” throughout trial; repeatedly inferring the defendant lacked masculinity for his inability to defend himself from his girlfriend without killing her; and characterizing the defendant as a “monster.” Observing the overwhelming evidence against the defendant, the SJC concluded that these transgressions did not give rise to a substantial likelihood of a miscarriage of justice because it was unlikely the prosecutor’s conduct influenced the verdict. Therefore, the errors at trial did not did not necessitate a do over.
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