In the heat of criminal trials, prosecutorial misconduct isn’t usually fatal. A “curative” jury instruction is the standard antidote to prejudicial remarks or references to facts outside the case.

It’s rare that a single sentence from a prosecutor spoils the fairness of a trial. That actually happened, however, in State v. Harold Trent Butler, where a split Appellate Court panel ruled Nov. 2 that a prosecutor’s remark was simply too mindbending to cure with admonishments.

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