CASE LAW UPDATE:  Whether it was not error to deny a mistrial after a police officer testified that he knew defendant from a different investigation?

Defendant was convicted of 1st degree controlled substance crime, unlawful possession of a firearm, and threats of violence.  He appealed.  On appeal, defendant argued that the trial court committed reversible error by denying his motion for a mistrial after a police officer impermissibly testified that he knew defendant from another investigation.  Noting that (1) the challenged testimony was isolated and brief; (2) the evidence against defendant was strong; and (3) the trial court provided a curative instruction, the Minnesota Court of Appeals held that the denial of defendant’s motion for a mistrial was not an abuse of discretion.  If a motion for a mistrial is granted, the entire case goes back to square one.  The jury is discharged.  A new jury must be selected.  Hence, courts are very reluctant to grant a motion for a mistrial.  Mistrials are exceedingly rare.  Affirmed.

Commentary:  you can’t unring a bell.

State v. Mutcherson, A20-0644, Stearns County.

Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson was not attorney of record in this case.

Recommended Posts