Brief Fact Summary. After committing a heinous crime, Darden was convicted of murder, robbery and assault with intent to kill. Petitioner brought appeal, on the grounds that statements made in the prosecution’s closing argument prejudiced his case.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Comments allowed in a closing argument cannot be considered reversible error when the defense has an opportunity to rebut.
A lawyer shall not state a personal opinion as to the credibility of a witness or the guilt or innocence of an accused and shall not use arguments calculated to inflame the passions or prejudices of the jury.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether comments made in a closing argument constitute reversible error.
Held. The court found that the defendant was given ample opportunity to bring out its own case and, despite the prosecution’s closing argument, the trial was basically fair and no reversible error existed.
Dissent. Justice Blackmun dissented, maintaining that the court, in its opinion, was willing to lower the level of fairness to allow this closing argument although it was obviously misconduct.
Discussion. This case stands for the proposition that all negative comments about a defendant do not constitute reversible.