Second Degree Murder Punishment Example In Missouri
X was convicted by a jury of second-degree murder and armed criminal action. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and 15 years, respectively.
He argues that the circuit court erred in limiting his opening statement to evidence to be produced in his case-in-chief, excluding evidence to be elicited by cross-examining State witnesses.
After opinion by the Court of Appeals, this Court granted transfer. Mo. Const. art. V, sec. 10. Reversed and remanded.
The judge not only precluded the defense from referencing exculpatory facts, but in this case, effectively denied defense any opening statement. See State v. Barton, 936 S.W.2d 781, 788 (Mo. banc 1996).
There is a reasonable probability that, in the absence of the abuse of discretion, the verdict would have been different. Therefore, X was prejudiced by the trial court's abuse of discretion.