Monday, December 23, 2013

Portuondo v. Agard case brief

Portuondo v. Agard case brief summary
529 U.S. 61 (2000)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Certiorari was granted to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to decide whether it was constitutional for a prosecutor, in her summation, to call the jury's attention to the fact that respondent criminal defendant had the opportunity to hear all other witnesses testify and to tailor his testimony accordingly.

CASE FACTS
The court reversed an appellate judgment holding that a prosecutor's comments in her summation, calling the jury's attention to the fact that respondent criminal defendant had the opportunity to hear all other witnesses testify and to tailor his testimony accordingly, violated respondent's Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

ARGUMENT
Respondent contended that attaching the cost of impeachment to the exercise of his Sixth Amendment right to be present at trial and to be confronted with the witnesses against him, and his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights to testify on his own behalf, was unconstitutional.

DISCUSSION
  • The court rejected this argument, holding that a witness's ability to hear prior testimony and to tailor his account accordingly and the threat of that ability presented to the integrity of the trial were no different when it was defendant doing the listening. 
  • Further, allowing comment upon the fact that defendant's presence in the courtroom provided him a unique opportunity to tailor his testimony was appropriate, and indeed, given the inability to sequester defendant, sometimes essential, to the central function of the trial to discover the truth.
CONCLUSION
The court reversed an appellate judgment ruling that a prosecutor's summation comment was unconstitutional since allowing comment upon the fact that defendant's presence in the courtroom provided him a unique opportunity to tailor his testimony was appropriate to the central function of the trial to discover the truth.

Suggested law school study materials

Shop Amazon for the best prices on Law School Course Materials.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Search Thousands of Case Briefs and Articles.