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Name: People v. Abbaszadeh
Case #: C036850
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 02/25/2003
Subsequent History: none

Appellant was an Iranian charged with fraud offenses. During the voir dire before his jury trial, Judge O’Flaherty committed Mello error when he told the jurors to lie if they needed to in order to get off the jury if they felt that they harbored negative feelings about Iranians. The Attorney General conceded the error but argued that the error was waived because defense counsel did not object during voir dire. The appellate court here reversed. Failure to object to the instruction was excused because an objection would have been futile, the prosecutor was equally at fault for allowing the instruction, and the shocking nature of the error rendered the trial unfair. Reversal, retrial before a different judge, and transmission of the opinion to the Commission on Judicial Performance were required.