Wednesday, May 13, 2020

An Example of Statements Made By Counsel At Trial That Could Result in a Mistrial (Non-Precedential)

In the case of Steltz v. Meyers, No. 179 EDA 2019(Pa. Super. April 14, 2020 Ford Elliot, P.J.E., Olson, J., and Bowes, J.) (Op. by Ford Elliot, P.J.E.) (Bowes, dissenting)(Non-Precedential, the court affirmed the trial court’s granting of Post-Trial Motions following a verdict in favor of the defense.

The appellate court agreed with the trial court that the misconduct of defense counsel in asking a question at trial that implied facts not in evidence was so serious that a mistrial was properly granted.

More specifically, defense counsel had questioned the Plaintiff at trial as to whether the Plaintiff was unable to find any medical provider in a relevant field that could testify in support of the Plaintiff’s case.  The court noted that such a witness did in fact exist but was not called to testify at trial.

The appellate court reiterated the rule that statements by counsel, not based on evidence, which tend to influence the jury in resolving issues before them solely by an appeal to passion and prejudice was not proper.

The court also noted that no curative jury instruction from the court could have adequately dispelled the prejudice caused by defense counsel.

As such, the granting of a mistrial was upheld.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

Judge Bowes Dissenting Opinion can be viewed HERE.

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