Can Defendant Be Assumed to Be Guilty Based on Membership In An ''Undesirable'' Group ?
In People v. Rivera, 145 Ill. App. 3d 609, 495 N.E.2d 1088, 99 Ill. Dec. 353 (1986), the court held it was reversible error for the State, in its impeachment of a witness, to argue as fact something that it could not substantiate. Rivera, 145 Ill. App. 3d at 621-22, 495 N.E.2d at 1096-97.
While the State is permitted wide latitude in closing argument, it is improper for the prosecutor to argue assumptions or facts not based upon evidence in the case or to present to the jury what amounts to his own testimony. People v. Smith, 141 Ill. 2d at 60, 565 N.E.2d at 908.
"Furthermore, it is improper for the prosecutor to do or say anything in argument the only effect of which will be to inflame the passion or arouse the prejudice of the jury against the defendant, without throwing any light on the question for decision." People v. Smith, 141 Ill. 2d at 60, 565 N.E.2d at 907.
Finally, a defendant cannot automatically be assumed to be guilty based on his membership in an undesirable group. People v. Terry, 312 Ill. App. 3d 984, 992, 728 N.E.2d 669, 676, 245 Ill. Dec. 587 (2000).