The Professional Discipline of Prosecutors

51 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2000

See all articles by Fred C. Zacharias

Fred C. Zacharias

University of San Diego School of Law

Date Written: September 2000


Numerous commentators have reacted by noting the dearth of cases in which disciplinary authorities have sanctioned prosecutors. This Article approaches the issue of discipline of prosecutors from an impartial perspective. it provides an empirical and theoretical analysis of the claim that professional discipline of prosecutors has been inadequate.

The article first analyzes the range of actions for which, realistically, discipline might be imposed. It then considers whether, in reality, prosecutors are less likely than private lawyers to face disciplinary action and, if so, the possible reasons for the discrepancy. With this background, the Article attempts to identify if, when, and why more discipline of prosecutors would benefit society. The final portion of the Article assumes the validity of existing resource constraints and suggests lines disciplinary authorities might draw for disciplining prosecutors. It offers alternatives to discipline that might represent more effective mechanisms for addressing the concerns of those who lament the lack of bar action.

Suggested Citation

Zacharias, Fred C., The Professional Discipline of Prosecutors (September 2000). Available at SSRN: or

Fred C. Zacharias (Contact Author)

University of San Diego School of Law

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States

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