Friday, September 12, 2008

A call for prosecutorial shaming

Doc Berman turns us on to a new paper by Prof. Adam Gershowitz at the South Texas College of Law which:
explores the unfortunately large number of instances in which appellate courts reverse convictions for serious prosecutorial misconduct but do not identify the names of the prosecutors who committed the misconduct. Because judges are reluctant to publicly shame prosecutors whose cases are reversed, this Article advocates that a neutral set of third parties undertake the responsibility of publicly identifying prosecutors who commit serious misconduct. The naming of prosecutors will shame bad actors, provide a valuable pedagogical lesson for junior prosecutors, and signal to trial judges that certain prosecutors must be monitored more closely to avoid future misconduct.
Gershowitz's call for a "neutral set of third parties" responsible for "publicly identifying prosecutors who commit serious misconduct" sounds like a great idea for a blog if somebody with Westlaw access wanted to undertake it.


Anonymous said...

Are they not identified as trial counsel in the opinion, like civil cases have trial and appellate counsel identified for each party?

Anonymous said...

The suggestion is to aggregate this information in a searchable format like before it shut down.

Anonymous said...

Ahh. I'm not sure about that myself, unless they;'re reprimanded, which does become part of their public record with the bar.

I am in favor of that happening a lot more often with prosecutorial misconduct.

Honolulucitylights said...

It is not typical for the trial prosecutor to write his/her own appellate brief. The appellate attorney's name usually adorns the brief.

I personally know a Ninth Circuit case in which the unethical AUSA was named in the opinion. He petitioned the court and his name disappeared from publication. In fact, the disappearance of his name made it look like the appellate lawyer was the bad actor, at least to those readers who don't know the difference.

There should be a lot more shaming of unethical prosecutors/ausas. Bad defense attorneys are always named. (Often meaningless: the Ninth Circuit found a defense attorney ineffective. One year later she was appointed to the state bench.)

Anonymous said...

I can not wrap my mind around the concept of prosecutorial "immunity". Of course you have widespread misconduct: there is no accountability. Does anyone know the full extend of the damage that a prosecutor can cause in an entire family? Not only the charged person in question.
My child is disabled from the stress caused by police and prosecutorial misconduct.

Anonymous said...

I just pray that all those reverse cases are 100% sure that are free from the acusations made to them.