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Name: People v. Shazier
Case #: H035423
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 12/27/2012
Subsequent History: Review granted 4/17/2013: S208398

Prosecutor’s pervasive pattern of misconduct during sexually violent predator (SVP) trial required reversal of order adjudging appellant an SVP. During the third trial in a civil commitment proceeding alleging Shazier was a sexually violent predator, the prosecutor told the jury in his closing argument that the community would subject them to disapproval and contempt should they find for the defendant, referred to Shazier as a “prolific child molester,” and suggested there were other victims who had not reported the crimes. Defense counsel made objections during the argument and to other statements made throughout trial, but the objections were overruled. The appellate court reversed the judgment, finding that the prosecutor’s many improper questions and argument so infected the trial with unfairness as to make the resulting conviction a denial of due process. This was not a case with a few minor incidents of misconduct, but a pervasive pattern of inappropriate questions, comments, and arguments throughout. The cumulative effect of all the misconduct required reversal.