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The Impact of Government Appellate Strategies on the Development of Criminal Law

F. Andrew Hessick

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

October 1, 2009

Marquette Law Review, Forthcoming

Appellate courts are a principal source of change and growth of the criminal law. In the course of resolving disputes, appellate courts announce rules that govern future cases. For the government, seeing that these rules develop in a favorable way is often more important than the outcome in the case before the appellate court. The government is charged with protecting the public, and developing generally applicable rules of criminal law often is more important in obtaining that goal than securing the conviction of one individual. In its efforts to ensure the development of government-friendly rules, the government does not depend solely on the merits of its substantive arguments; it also uses strategies on appeal, sometimes over the course of many appeals, to nudge courts to adopt rules that are favorable to the government or to establish obstacles designed to discourage courts from adopting unfriendly rules. This Symposium Article describes some of these strategies and discusses how those strategies may affect the development of the law.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 13

Keywords: criminal appeals, appellate strategy, litigation strategy, prosecutors, development of the law, development of criminal law

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Date posted: October 3, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Hessick, F. Andrew, The Impact of Government Appellate Strategies on the Development of Criminal Law (October 1, 2009). Marquette Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1481451

Contact Information

F. Andrew Hessick (Contact Author)
University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )
332 S. 1400 East Front
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States
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