Prosecutorial Vouching In Arizona

There are two types of prosecutorial vouching. One involves placing the prestige of the government behind a witness and the other suggests that additional unrevealed evidence supports a guilty verdict; both are improper. State v. Salcido, 140 Ariz. 342, 344, 681 P.2d 925, 927 (App. 1984). Both prosecutors and defense counsel are given wide latitude in arguments to the jury. State v. Taylor, 112 Ariz. 68, 84, 537 P.2d 938, 954 (1975). The Arizona Supreme Court, in a similar scenario, disagreed. See State v. McCall, 139 Ariz. 147, 159, 677 P.2d 920, 932 (1983). In McCall, the court held that testimony regarding a plea agreement is relevant to the credibility of the prosecution's witness and that such "testimony does not amount to improper vouching but simply demonstrates that the witness had no motivation to testify falsely." Id. at 158-59, 677 P.2d 931-32 (citing United States v. Ricco, 549 F.2d 264 (2d Cir. 1977), cert. denied, 431 U.S. 905, 97 S. Ct. 1697, 52 L. Ed. 2d 389 (1977).