State v. Gevrez

In State v. Gevrez, 61 Ariz. 296, 148 P.2d 829 (Ariz. 1944), in which the accused was on trial for murdering his ex-wife, the accused's mother-in-law sat near the jury throughout the trial and wept bitterly on different occasions; also, the fifth-grade child of the accused and his deceased ex-wife testified while holding her deceased mother's doll. 148 P. 3d at 832-33. On appeal of the accused's conviction, the Arizona Supreme Court reversed on three grounds: the sanity opinion of the state's expert witness rested on an improper basis, the mother-in-law's deportment during the trial was prejudicial to the accused, and it affirmatively appeared that the prosecution staged and prearranged the child witness's carrying the doll. Id. at 833. Interestingly, in its remarks about the carrying of the doll, the Arizona Supreme Court added: "So, we have an instance of where a girl in the fifth grade carried her mother's doll in the trial of the case and the influence on the jury was not fair to the accused, and it was a very strong appeal to the jury put forward by the prosecution, and while no error can be claimed by reason of it , yet it has the great tendency, as in the other matter just mentioned, to arouse the sympathy of the jury." Id.