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.