Chapter 9 Reading Notes
Prosecution is powerful because they decide whether or not to bring the case to court, are the
only side to present to the grand jury, identify and call material witnesses, what charges to
bring against the defendant, and has the upper hand in most plea deals.
Prosecutors: US Attorneys: represent US government, appointed by and serve at the pleasure
of the president; Prosecute federal cases, civil cases where the government is a party, and
collection of administratively uncollectible debts. DA’s: elected (influence/ power of voters over
them); felonies; county level; ADA’s. City/ Municipal Attorneys: misdemeanors.
The mission: the just prosecution of criminal defendants. Berger vs US: goal should be
justice, not necessarily winning. ABA says prosecution should be the seeker of truth.
This mission rails because prosecutors are judged based on their conviction rates
(political rubric instead of ethical/ just rubric). Adversarial system- justice equals
Conflicts of interest: loyalties are at odds.
Ethical Issues with Law Enforcement: Law enforcement are supposed to provide quality
investigations. Prosecutor’s office kicking back cases for more investigation (to avoid wasting
tax payer dollars in an unfounded case) can make Law Enforcement agencies mad.
Read the case file.
Ensure the quality of the investigation.
Warrants and Probable Cause- make sure substandard investigative work does not
destroy the case.
Witness Credibility- independent corroboration of their statements.
Officer Credibility- Laurie Lists are supposed to list all officers with credibility issues to
prevent the prosecution from using them as witnesses and jeopardizing their cases.
Credibility of Forensic Evidence and Personnel- expert shopping.
Pre-Trial Ethical Issues:
Almost unlimited funding: shopping for expert witnesses is a betrayal of their role as a
Abusing the Grand Jury: determines if someone will be indicted/ charged based on
probable cause. Only hears from prosecution. The grand jury’s indictment must be
signed by the prosecutor. Not presenting exculpatory evidence.
Overcharging: used to coerce a