Summation Misconduct

When the prosecutor makes misleading, unfair, or otherwise improper arguments to the jury.

This is a general category only and does not precisely describe the allegations of any particular complaint listed below. Review the complaint carefully to understand the specific misconduct alleged. 

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In closing argument, also known as “summation,” the prosecutor’s job is to explain how evidence introduced at trial applies to the legal elements of the charged offenses. Prosecutors must stay within the four corners of the evidence and are not allowed to make arguments that rely on facts that are not in evidence. Prosecutors are not permitted to engage in prejudicial or misleading argument, such as making “irrelevant and inflammatory comments”; expressing “personal belief or opinion as to the truth or falsity of any testimony or evidence,” also known as vouching; appealing to the jurors’ sympathies or fears; shifting the burden from the prosecution to the defense; and denigrating the defense, defense counsel or the defendant. Engaging in these forms of arguments is prejudicial to the accused and improper, and can violate the accused’s constitutional right to a fair trial.