Prosecutor Referred to the Jury Speaking for the Community
In Smith v. State, 818 So. 2d 707, 710-11 (Fla. 5th DCA 2002) the prosecutor told the jury: "You are citizens that speak on behalf of your community . . . . You are citizens that speak on behalf of your community in rendering a verdict in this case." Id.
While the district court found that the prosecutor approached the line of propriety and may have gone beyond, it concluded that the trial court's refusal to grant a mistrial based on these comments was not an abuse of discretion. Id.
The district court concluded that the reference to the jury speaking for the community did not permeate the closing argument, that it was near the end of the argument, and it was not repeated after the defense objected.
Thus, the court concluded, this isolated and limited comment would not appear to be so prejudicial as to vitiate the entire trial and thus a mistrial was not warranted.
Card v. State, 803 So. 2d 613 (Fla. 2001) (finding prosecutor's conscience of the community argument in penalty phase was not so prejudicial as to vitiate the entire trial and thus court did not abuse its discretion in denying request for mistrial; prosecutor's reference to the term was isolated and he did not continue with the argument after the defense objected);
Otero v. State, 754 So. 2d 765 (Fla. 3d DCA 2000) (concluding that impermissible conscience of the community argument did not warrant a reversal; argument was made at the very end of the State's rebuttal argument and did not otherwise permeate the State's closing argument).