Tip of the Week: Argue Cumulative Error to the Trial Court

14 09 2011

Often on appeal attorneys want to rebut the assertions of harmless error and failure to show prejudice by listing all of the trial court’s errors and claiming that as a whole the trial was unfair and the defendant was prejudiced.  It is a common sense argument and one that can be successful.  However, while attorneys object to each and everyone one of the errors at trial individually, they fail to object to the cumulative effect of the errors and get a ruling from the trial court.  Without an objection to the cumulative effect of the errors the argument cannot be advanced on appeal.  See Munson v. State, 331 Ark. 41, 959 S.W.2d 391 (1998).


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