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Witness Testimony Judged Appropriate on Appeal

Following his conviction for custodial assault, Washington prisoner David Sykes filed his appeal arguing the trial court admitted into evidence “improper opinion testimony” and his counsel was ineffective for failing to object to it. Sykes was convicted of the assault for throwing a cupful of liquid on a prison guard. In his court testimony, the guard referred to the incident as “the assault,” which, Sykes contended, unfairly prejudiced the jury against him. Sykes defended himself with the contention that he accidently hit the guard with the liquid, and was therefore not an assault.

On appeal, the court determined the guard’s use of the term assault was permissible in this instance and affirmed Sykes’ conviction. Furthermore, the court found no “reasonable probability” that the outcome of the trial would have been different had Sykes’ counsel objected to the use of the term; therefore, ineffective assistance of counsel was not shown. See: Wash. v. Sykes, Wash. App., Div. II, # 38758-1-II.

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Related legal case

Wash. v. Sykes