FORT WORTH COA DISMISSED MURDER PROSECUTION DUE TO PROSECUTOR MISCONDUCT DURING TRIAL
The Fort Worth Court of Appeals issued a second opinion on remand from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals concerning alleged misconduct by a Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney. For the second time, the Fort Worth Appeals Court found the prosecutor's trial tactics to be intentional and/or reckless prosecutorial misconduct such that jeopardy attached after the trial judge declared a mistrial. In particular, the court cited the prosecutor's tactic of repeatedly commenting on the Defendant's invocation of her right to remain silent as intentional or reckless misconduct.
Although the trial Judge, Judge Sharon Wilson, found that the prosecutor's actions did not amount to reckless or intentional misconduct, the Court of Appeals found that Judge Wilson abused her discretion in this regard. The Court of Appeals dismissed the pending indictment against Ms. Lewis.
THE CASE WAS GOING BADLY FOR THE STATE
The Court of Appeals noted in it's analysis that "The case was going badly for the state." The court noted that the prosecutor had failed to call the responding or investigating officers to testify and failed to offer the Defendant's prior statement into evidence before the Defendant took the witness stand. Once Ms. Lewis testified that the complainant had twice raped her and that the weapon accidentally discharged, the prosecutor twice attempt to cross-examine her with her refusal to talk to the investigating detective instead of impeaching her with her prior statement. A link to the opinion: Texas Judiciary Online - HTML Opinion