Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2293516
 


 



A Perfect Prosecution: The People of the State of New York v. Dominique Strauss-Kahn


JaneAnne Murray


University of Minnesota Law School

July 14, 2013

Criminal Law and Philosophy, Forthcoming
Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 13-48

Abstract:     
The presumption of innocence may be the foundational principle of the American criminal justice system, but the presumption of guilt is its operational force. The U.S. Supreme Court acknowledged this reality in two notable criminal law decisions in 2012, Lafler v. Cooper and Missouri v. Frye, when it described the criminal process as “a system of pleas, not a system of trials”.

People v. Strauss-Kahn is an ideal lens through which to examine this process. It is both an excellent example of a transparent and objective invocation of the criminal sanction, and a sharp counterpoint to the vast majority of cases where law enforcement conclusions are trusted and rarely second-guessed. Stage by stage, the Strauss-Kahn case illustrates how to counterbalance the presumption of guilt and give expression to the presumption of innocence in the pretrial period through vigilantly-invoked and enforced due process protections.

Drawing from this examination, the paper will then explore how to approach this model process in the more standard cases, which typically see a fraction of the judicial, law enforcement, and defense resources afforded Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The Strauss-Kahn prosecution offers several insights, three of which will be sketched at the paper’s conclusion: a requirement that prosecutorial decision-making be subject to a reasonable doubt standard; early enforcement of the prosecutor’s obligation to disclose information that is favorable to the accused; and finally, a requirement that a prosecutor explain in writing any decision to dismiss the felony charges in indicted felony cases, so that the factual, legal and policy bases of these decisions (numbering almost one quarter of New York’s superior court felony cases annually) can be aggregated, analyzed and publicized.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 19

Keywords: Dominique Strauss-Kahn, DSK, Presumption of Innocence, Presumption of Guilt, Brady, Due Process

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Date posted: July 15, 2013 ; Last revised: September 14, 2013

Suggested Citation

Murray, JaneAnne, A Perfect Prosecution: The People of the State of New York v. Dominique Strauss-Kahn (July 14, 2013). Criminal Law and Philosophy, Forthcoming; Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 13-48. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2293516

Contact Information

JaneAnne Murray (Contact Author)
University of Minnesota Law School ( email )
Walter F. Mondale Hall
229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
646.209.7553 (Phone)
866.259.7819 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.umn.edu/facultyprofiles/murrayj.html
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