Murder Conviction Reversed for Prosecutorial Misconduct
Appellant Asim Martinez was charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon. Conceding his involvement, but arguing that he was angry and had blacked out after his wife was assaulted, appellant pursued an extreme emotional disturbance defense that was based on his own testimony, the testimony of his wife, and the opinion of a defense expert in forensic psychology. During cross-examination and in summation, the prosecutor repeatedly accused the defense expert and appellant’s wife of lying, declared that the expert had also lied in another case, and made other improper remarks.
On April 29, 2015, the Appellate Division reversed appellant’s conviction for second-degree murder on the law and in the interest of justice, ruling that the cumulative effect of the prosecutor’s “numerous improper comments” deprived appellant of “the ability to present his defense of extreme emotional disturbance.” It thus granted a new trial on that count.
Mark W. Vorkink briefed and argued the case for Appellate Advocates.