Prosecutorial Training Wheels: Ginsburg's Connick v. Thompson Dissent and the Training Imperative
48 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2013
Date Written: December 1, 2012
This comment picks up on a section of Justice Ginsburg's dissent from the impactful 2011 decision in Connick v. Thompson that criticized the majority for assuming that law schools teach prosecutors all they need to know about criminal procedure and, specifically, compliance with the Brady doctrine. By testing this claim empirically through a survey of ABA-accredited law school curriculum, the author determines that only a quarter of schools make criminal procedure a graduation requirement. Similarly, most criminal procedure textbooks provide only cursory treatment of the Brady doctrine, making the point that even law schools that require criminal procedure may not address that specific topic in sufficient detail. Concluding that law school does not provide enough training in criminal procedure, despite the Supreme Court majority's claims, the author proceeds to identify a number of proposals -- legislative, executive, and judicial -- that would help train new prosecutors and/or increase accountability for offices' failures to train after the Court eliminated civil liability as a possibility in Connick.
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