Faithful Execution: The Persistent Myth of Widespread Prosecutorial Misconduct
49 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2018
Date Written: July 2, 2018
Professors, politicians, activists, journalists, and bloggers alike stand ready to denounce prosecutorial misconduct—the more egregious the misconduct, the more vociferous the denunciation, and rightly so. Ordinarily, such public denunciation would have a salubrious effect. Unfortunately, this remedial process has been hijacked by those who insist that prosecutorial misconduct is widespread and has infected all facets of the criminal justice system, to the detriment of defendants and the consternation of the public. Their vitriol precludes a dispassionate evaluation of the criminal justice system generally and prosecutorial misconduct specifically. This article demonstrates that, contrary to expectations, prosecutorial misconduct occurs with reassuring infrequency. The article also proffers a few explanations for the persistence of the myth that prosecutorial misconduct is endemic, discusses various problems related to the criminal justice system that are improperly attributed to prosecutors, and evaluates a few well-intentioned but misguided proposals intended to remedy prosecutorial misconduct.
Keywords: criminal law, criminal procedure, prosecutorial misconduct
JEL Classification: K14, K40, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation