Stanton v. State (Majority, with Concurring and Dissenting)Annotate this Case
The Supreme Court reversed Defendant's conviction of first degree murder and sentence of life imprisonment, holding that the per se improper political activity of the prosecutor campaigning for a judicial position during trial so infected the integrity of the proceeding as to warrant a new trial.
This was Defendant's third trial for the murder of Jesse Hamilton. The first conviction was reversed on appeal, and a mistrial occurred on remand. After a third trial, Defendant was again convicted of murder. Prosecutor Stephanie Barrett prosecuted the case, and at the time of the third trial, Barrett was campaigning for a position in the Arkansas Court of Appeals. Defendant moved for a mistrial based on an appearance of impropriety. The motion was denied. Following his conviction, Defendant appealed the circuit court's decisions related to the prosecutor's campaigning and solicitation of signatures at the courthouse. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the prosecutor's improper political activity and the failure of the trial court to resolve the situation so compromised the integrity of Defendant's trial as to warrant a new trial. The Court remanded the case for a fourth trial.