Rampant Prosecutorial Misconduct in the US: A Short Media Review

This is a mere sip in the ocean of info on this subject. At a glance, the cases are many, but any semblance of consistent judicial penalties are few.

 

Prosecutorial misconduct occurs when a prosecutor breaks a law or a code of professional ethics in the course of a prosecution. In Berger v. United States, 295 U.S. 78 (1935), Justice Sutherland explained prosecutorial misconduct meant “overstepp[ing] the bounds of that propriety and fairness which should characterize the conduct of such an officer in the prosecution of a criminal offense.”

 

In the justice system, prosecutors have the power to decide what criminal charges to bring, and since 97 percent of cases are resolved without a trial, those decisions are almost always the most important factor in the outcome. That is why it is so important for prosecutors to play fair, not just to win.

 

Some wrongful convictions are caused by honest mistakes. But in far too many cases, the very people who are responsible for ensuring truth and justice — law enforcement officials and prosecutors — lose sight of these obligations and instead focus solely on securing convictions.

The cases of wrongful convictions are filled with evidence of negligence, fraud or misconduct by prosecutors or police departments.

Center for Prosecutorial Integrity Database This site has over 500 recent cases review for characteristics and results.

Saving the best for last. The Los Angeles Times article database about pros misconduct from 1999 to the present.

 

About csidds

Dr. Michael Bowers is a long time forensic consultant in the US and international court systems.
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