Sheeley v. State

In Sheeley v. State, 991 P.2d 136 (Wyo. 1999), the prosecutor asked a witness during cross-examination whether or not an investigator recalled what the victim had been told by a judge during the preliminary hearing regarding her testimony in that proceeding. The investigator responded that he thought the judge cautioned her in regard to perjury. The Court held that this exchange was reversible error for the obvious reason that it injected possible judicial bias into the trial. 991 P.2d at 139-40. Eliciting the testimony concerning the judge's statement in another proceeding may have allowed the jury to conclude that the trial judge believed the evidence favored a finding of guilt. Id. In that case, the judge, through the prosecutor's line of questioning, was effectively commenting on the weight and quality of the evidence.