The Public Interest and the Unconstitutionality of Private Prosecutors
93 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2011
Date Written: 1994
This article discusses the history of private and public prosecution in the United States, including standards governing prosecutorial ethics. It argues that the use of private prosecutors is unethical and violative of defendants' constitutional rights. In particular, the article asserts that the use of such prosecutors violates due process principles and creates, at the very least, an unacceptable appearance of impropriety. The article contends that the public's interest in not having its members erroneously charged or convicted in the criminal process outweighs an interested party's right to retain a private prosecutor as set forth in some state laws. In addition to discussing existing statutes and case law allowing and prohibiting private prosecutors, the article contains an extended discussion of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Young v. United States ex rel.
Keywords: private prosecutors, history, prosecutorial ethics, constitutional rights, defendants, due process principles, impropriety, Young v. United States ex rel. Vuitton et Fils S.A.,
JEL Classification: K14, K19, K39, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation