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Name: People v. Lopez
Case #: B182877
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/13/2006
Subsequent History: Review Granted 7/19/06: S143615

Lopez, a Catholic priest, was convicted of multiple counts of molesting minors. During argument, the prosecutor made reference to Catholic priests committing “horrendous crimes,” asked the jurors to stand in the shoes of the victims, and expressed his opinion on the guilt of the defendant. The appellate court reversed the convictions, (and ordered a copy of the opinion sent to the State Bar), based on prosecutorial misconduct. Arguing guilt by association is misconduct, as is expressing a personal opinion on the guilt of the defendant. The error prejudiced appellant under People v. Watson, because the entire case was based on the testimony of the victims, without independent evidence or material admissions.