Prosecutors and Democracy — Themes and Counterthemes (Epilogue)

Prosecutors and Democracy: A Cross-National Study (Maximo Langer & David Alan Sklansky eds., Cambridge University Press, 2017)

UCLA School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 16-58

Stanford Public Law Working Paper No. 2880538

39 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2016 Last revised: 16 Feb 2018

See all articles by Maximo Langer

Maximo Langer

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

David Alan Sklansky

Stanford University

Date Written: December 5, 2016

Abstract

Discussions of the relationship between prosecutors and democracy have been excessively dominated by a narrow understanding of democracy as a principal-agent relationship in which prosecutors, as representatives of the people, are responsive to their wishes. A richer understanding of the sources of legitimation of prosecutors and of the relationship between prosecution and democracy may help deepen our understanding of what it is distinctive about prosecutors in the United States and open possible avenues for discussion and reform in the United States and elsewhere. This paper — a revised version of which will serve as the epilogue of PROSECUTORS AND DEMOCRACY: A CROSS-NATIONAL STUDY (Máximo Langer & David Alan Sklansky eds., Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2017) — explores four different ways in which prosecutors might be thought to be “democratic” — or, alternatively, four different kinds of “democracy” that criminal prosecution can help to constitute. Prosecutors can promote representative democracy, by serving as an agent of the people. Prosecutors can be key figures in what can be called legal democracy, by serving as neutral and independent ministers of justice, advancing the rule of law. Prosecutors can be democratic by advancing the values that embody a given conception of democracy, such as liberal democracy and its values of liberty, dignity, and equality. Finally, systems of criminal prosecution can be configured to promote various conceptions of participatory democracy, by securing roles for the victims of crime and for members of the community more generally.

Keywords: Prosecutors, democracy, criminal justice, comparative law

JEL Classification: K14, K33, K40, K41, K42, K49

Suggested Citation

Langer, Maximo and Sklansky, David Alan, Prosecutors and Democracy — Themes and Counterthemes (Epilogue) (December 5, 2016). Prosecutors and Democracy: A Cross-National Study (Maximo Langer & David Alan Sklansky eds., Cambridge University Press, 2017); UCLA School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 16-58; Stanford Public Law Working Paper No. 2880538. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2880538

Maximo Langer (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States

David Alan Sklansky

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
191
rank
151,824
Abstract Views
843
PlumX Metrics