Bain Error Law and Legal Definition

The name Bain error originated from the Californian case People v. Bain, 5 Cal. 3d 839 (Cal. 1971).This case is most often cited for the principle that a prosecutor may not offer his personal opinion that defendant is guilty unless he explicitly states that such opinion is based in the trial evidence. A prosecutor must not express a personal opinion or belief in a defendant's guilt, where there is substantial danger that jurors will interpret this as being based on information at the prosecutor's command, other than evidence adduced at trial. The danger is acute when the prosecutor offers his opinion and does not explicitly state that it is based solely on inferences from the evidence at trial.

In Bain, the defendant was convicted by jury of forcible rape, false imprisonment, oral copulation, and possession of a dirk or dagger, against which he appealed. The court held that the misconduct of the prosecutor which was objected to by defense counsel constituted prejudicial error where the prosecutor made an unsupported assertion that defendant and his counsel fabricated the pick-up story and made statements of his personal belief in defendant's guilt built on a racial foundation.