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Name: People v. Hall
Case #: B134828
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 07/28/2000
Subsequent History: Review denied 11/15/00

Reversal of a conviction for possession of a controlled substance with a prior “strike” was reversed where, during closing argument, the prosecutor invited the jury to speculate about evidence which was not presented at trial. The defense, during argument, noted that the prosecution had not called the second arresting officer, and suggested that it was because he might not have corroborated the first officer’s testimony. The prosecutor responded that the defense could have called him, which was proper. However, the prosecutor then also told the jury that the absent witness’s testimony would have been repetitive, the effect of which was to tell the jury that the second officer would have testified in a manner favorable to the prosecution. The defense objected, but the court overruled the objection and did not admonish the jury. Whether judged under the Chapman harmless-beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard (Chapman v. California (1967) 386 U.S. 18) or the Watson reasonable-probability-of-a-more-favorable-result standard (People v. Watson (1956) 46 Cal.2d 818), the error could not be deemed harmless and reversal was required.