Prosecutors and Use of Subpoenas

6 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2018

See all articles by Peter A. Joy

Peter A. Joy

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law

Kevin C. McMunigal

Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Date Written: April 2018

Abstract

How some prosecutors have been treating victims, witnesses, and others has recently been in the news. News reports include prosecutors arresting victims for failing to testify, including a rape victim who was incarcerated for 27 days in order to ensure that she would testify. The woman, who suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, had a mental breakdown on the stand on the first day of trial and spent 10 days in a mental hospital. In a recent disciplinary case, a disciplinary panel has recommended a public reprimand against a prosecutor who used subpoenas in an effort to pressure and embarrass people who filed character letters for use at a sentencing hearing. These instances illustrate the controversy surrounding some prosecutors’ use of subpoenas. When does a prosecutor cross the line when using coercive measures, such as subpoenas, to obtain cooperation by victims, witnesses, and others in pursuing the conviction and punishment of those accused of violating the law? In this paper, we explore where that line may be.

Keywords: legal ethics, professional responsibility, rules of professional conduct, subpoenas, criminal procedure, criminal law, prosecutors, ethics

JEL Classification: K14, K19, K41, K42, K39

Suggested Citation

Joy, Peter A. and McMunigal, Kevin C., Prosecutors and Use of Subpoenas (April 2018). 33 Criminal Justice 44 (Spring 2018); Washington University in St. Louis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 18-04-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3163822 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3163822

Peter A. Joy (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States
313-935-6445 (Phone)

Kevin C. McMunigal

Case Western Reserve University School of Law ( email )

11075 East Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44106-7148
United States
2163683613 (Phone)
2163682086 (Fax)

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