Sometimes, people convicted of crimes win new trials. Often, this is due to prosecutorial misconduct. After all, prosecutors must follow a code of ethics, and when they resort to shady tactics, they undermine defendants’ rights to receive a fair trial.
Here is a look at some examples of what may constitute prosecutorial misconduct.
Not turning over all exculpatory evidence
It is hard for prosecutors to not let their emotions cloud their judgment, and that can become clear with exculpatory evidence regulations. Exculpatory evidence is evidence that favors the defendant. Suppose John Doe is facing robbery charges, and his alibi is that he was home alone watching TV at the time. While interviewing people in preparation for the case, officials came across a witness who admitted to peeking into John Doe’s windows at the time the robbery was taking place and saw him watching TV. This seems like exculpatory evidence, but prosecutors firmly convinced of the defendant’s guilt might not turn it over. Prosecutorial misconduct.
Falsifying/planting evidence or having knowledge of it
If police officers planted evidence at a crime scene and the prosecutors know about it, their failure to speak out about it is prosecutorial misconduct. To be sure, some prosecutors may only suspect, and they are too afraid to dig and get to the root of the matter. That could still be grounds for misconduct. Prosecutors can get so fixated on convicting someone that they forget about the right to a fair trial.
Messing with the right to representation
Prosecutors want confessions, and they often take advantage of tricks that make defendants not bring in lawyers or delay it. They may also make misleading statements, for example, something such as, “Your lawyer will be here soon. In the meanwhile, you need to tell us where you were last night.” The sad fact is that many prosecutors try to talk to defendants without their lawyers present.
The above examples are just a few possibilities when it comes to prosecutorial misconduct. If you believe this type of misconduct could be a factor in your case, it is a good idea to get legal advice.