State v. Briley

In State v. Briley, 55 Conn. App. 258, 262, 739 A.2d 293, cert. denied, 251 Conn. 927, 742 A.2d 363 (1999), the defendant challenged the prosecutor's rebuttal argument to the jury, which responded to the defendant's attack on the reliability of the eyewitness identification of the defendant. 55 Conn. App. at 260-61. In that case, the Court noted that the prosecutor's remarks were invited by defense counsel's comments because they challenged the reliability of the eyewitness' identification of the defendant. 55 Conn. App. at 263. In affirming the propriety of the comment, we stated that "when a prosecutor's allegedly improper argument is in direct response to matters raised by defense counsel, the defendant has no grounds for complaint. . . . Furthermore, the statements were made only on one occasion during closing argument." Id. In Briley, the argument was directed at the reliability of an eyewitness identification by a bank teller who was robbed at gunpoint by a stranger. The teller later identified the robber from police photographs. Following the prosecutor's controversial argument to the jury, the defendant advanced the claim that the prosecutor had, in effect, given expert testimony to the jury that was contrary to modern scholarship on the reliability of eyewitness memory. Id., 261. "It is apparent that the remarks of the state's attorney were invited by the comments of defense counsel in challenging the reliability of the witnesses' identification of the defendant, which was based on the short period of time in which she saw him in the bank." State v. Briley, supra, 55 Conn. App. 263.