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Finally, defendant claims that the court undermined the credibility of an expert witness the defense attempted to call to testify regarding eyewitness identification evidence.9  However, as this expert’s proposed testimony was excluded as irrelevant (see post, pt. X), how defendant could have been prejudiced by any damage to her credibility is unclear.  

We conclude that imperfect as the trial court’s behavior may occasionally have been, it did not deprive defendant of a fair trial, the effective assistance of counsel, or a reliable penalty determination.

V.  Restriction on Jury Voir Dire

Defendant cites four instances in which the court assertedly restricted jury voir dire.10  In only one of these cases, however, does the record show the court actually cut short the defense attorney’s questioning on a topic.  During the general voir dire of Prospective Juror N., the defense questioned her in some detail about the murder of two of her cousins, which occurred in 1958 when N. was 19 years old.  N. stated that the killer had been apprehended, had been found not guilty by reason of insanity and confined in a psychiatric hospital.  The following exchange ensued:

“Mr. Maple:  All right.  Had he been in some sort of relationship with your cousins?

“Prospective Juror N.:  They were all mutually investing in—

“The Court:  Just a moment.  What is the relevance of this, counsel?

9 When the witness stated she had done research supported by the Michael Milkin Foundation, the court observed that Milkin had pled guilty to “fraud and mischief with the security exchange people.”  When the witness, who had been appointed by another judge of the court, testified she would receive $1,000 per day to testify, Judge Tso expressed surprise and disapproval.  

10 All four instances were also cited as examples of biased conduct by the court.  (See ante, pt. IV.)

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