State v. ParkerAnnotate this Case
After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of felony murder and criminal discharge of a firearm at an occupied building. During trial, the jury received instructions on second-degree unintentional murder and involuntary manslaughter as lesser included offenses of felony murder. Defendant appealed, arguing that the prosecutor misstated the law - thus, committing misconduct - when he told the jurors during closing arguments that they were to consider Defendant’s guilt for the lesser included crimes only after finding him not guilty of felony murder. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the prosecutor’s statement was erroneous because it suggested to the jury that it must unanimously acquit him of felony murder before considering his guilt for the lesser included crimes; but (2) because the prosecutor also recited the correct legal standard during closing arguments and the overwhelming evidence established Defendant’s guilt for felony murder, the prosecutor’s erroneous statement did not constitute reversible misconduct.