Notable Decisions and Other News

Decisions

Appellate Division Grants New Trial Because of Prosecutorial Misconduct

December 30, 2016

Mr. Kohrelle Brisco was convicted of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and related offenses.  On appeal, Mr. Brisco argued, inter alia, that he was deprived of his due process right to a fair trial by various improper arguments made by the prosecutor during summation.

In a decision dated December 28, 2016, the Appellate Division, Second Department, agreed with this claim, reversed his conviction on the law, and remanded for a new trial.  It ruled that the prosecutor had improperly attacked defense counsel’s role and integrity by implying that his arguments were merely the product of expediency; referenced facts not in evidence and misstated critical testimony by a defense witness; appealed to the jury’s sympathies and fears by characterizing Mr. Brisco as a public menace; urged the jurors to “do their jobs” by convicting him; and suggested that they should not be fooled by his courtroom demeanor into considering him a “gentleman.”  These cumulative errors, the Second Department held, deprived Mr. Brisco of a fair trial.

Denise Corsi briefed and argued Mr. Brisco’s appeal before the Second Department.