A Colorado appellate court has reversed the conviction of a log home builder found guilty of theft in 2009. The Court of Appeals said the prosecutor in the case, Kathleen O’Brien, should not have been allowed to characterize the defendant’s testimony as a “lie” during trial.
The Flume reports:
The Court of Appeals opinion, written by Judge Russell Carparelli with the concurrence of Judge David Furman and Judge Richard Gabriel, found that the trial court judge in Fairplay erred when he allowed the prosecutor to use the word “lie” during cross examination and closing arguments.
The decision read in part: “A prosecutor’s use of the word ‘lie’ and its various forms is categorically improper. This includes using any form of the word ‘lie’ in reference to a witness’s or defendant’s truthfulness.”
“Because defendant did not object at trial, we review for plain error. We reverse for plain error only when an error is obvious and substantial and so undermines the fundamental fairness of the trial that serious doubt is cast on the reliability of the judgment of conviction,” said the decision.