State Criminal Procedure Rights: How Much Should the U.S. Supreme Court Influence?

By Kendra Kumor

This Note is about state court interpretation of state constitutional provisions that relate to prosecutorial summation arguments. This Note finds that when the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a prosecutorial summation issue, state court interpretations of their state constitutional provisions are less diverse than when the Supreme Court does not issue an opinion. When state courts interpret their own constitutional provisions after Supreme Court precedent has been disseminated, they give more interpretative weight to the Supreme Court opinion than any other sister state precedent. This Note uses prosecutorial summation arguments to illustrate why state courts should refrain from placing greater interpretive weight on Supreme Court precedent when interpreting their state constitutions, since state courts have more expertise and authority in the area of state criminal trial procedure.