X hits on this document





52 / 115

the fingerprint examination” that he wished to address.  The court gave Maple an opportunity to “tie . . . up” the two subjects, and Maple argued that the absence of fingerprint powder on the bubble shield’s exterior (convex) surface cast doubt on the fingerprint evidence.  But when Maple then began to address the testimony of the prosecution handwriting expert, the court precluded him from continuing to do so, suggesting that Miller “pick this up” instead.  

Defendant contends the trial court violated section 1095 and so restricted the defense argument as to deprive defendant of the effective assistance of counsel.  The Attorney General maintains that the court’s order for division of argument was within its discretionary control over trial proceedings under section 1044 and that counsel gave a competent argument.

We need not decide whether the trial court’s restriction on the division of argument violated section 1095 or was within the court’s discretion under section 1044.  Any error did not preclude counsel from arguing the case effectively.  Maple was permitted to argue the technical aspect of the fingerprint evidence, as he wished to do, and made such an argument before trying to also discuss the handwriting evidence.  Maple’s only question regarding the handwriting expert drew an objection, which was sustained on grounds not challenged on appeal.  The record does not reflect what, if any, additional topics regarding the handwriting evidence Maple would have discussed had he been permitted to continue on that subject; nor does it provide any reason to imagine that Miller was incapable of discussing those topics, if there were any.  To the extent Miller needed preparation time in order to address the handwriting (or fingerprint) evidence, the record reflects that, not long after he resumed arguing, the court recessed for the day, and reconvened the next day, providing an opportunity for such additional preparation.  Thus, the record reflects no prejudice, and in particular no infringement of the right to effective assistance, resulting from the court’s ruling.  (People v.

Document info
Document views496
Page views496
Page last viewedTue Jan 17 18:05:13 UTC 2017