Prosecutors are not infallible. They make mistakes, succumb to bias, and, sometimes, act intentionally to illegally influence the outcomes of cases. This is known as prosecutorial overreach and misconduct. Prosecutorial misconduct obscures truth in court cases and erodes trust in criminal justice system.
What Constitutes Prosecutorial Misconduct?
Federal prosecutors must abide by a professional and constitutional duty to act in fairness in criminal proceedings. They are guilty of prosecutorial misconduct when their actions or omissions cause a wrongful conviction or outsized punishment. Examples of prosecutorial misconduct are defined by case law and precedent. Because prosecutors are involved in many aspects of cases, from the investigation to sentencing, opportunity for prosecutorial misconduct is broad.
Some Examples Include:
- Evidence tampering.
- Failing to admit evidence that exonerates the defendant.
- Practices like entrapment or pressuring a person to commit a crime.
- Inducing a plea bargain through threat or unfounded assurances.
- Intentionally presenting false evidence or witness testimony that’s factually untrue.
- Pursuing false criminal charges with the intent to slander or seek revenge against someone.
- Influencing potential jurors through statements to the media.
- Making unlawful arguments to the jury like expressing their personal opinions or alluding to facts not represented by evidence.
How is Prosecutorial Misconduct Harmful?
Unfortunately, when prosecutors unlawfully pursue convictions, the individual whose rights have been violated has little recourse. Judges in appeals cases seek to understand if the prosecutor acted intentionally and that their actions sufficiently caused prejudice among the jury. Absent that intent, mistrials and overturned convictions are rare. They do happen, but the burden of proof on the defendant is substantial. More frequently, the prosecutor walks away with a slap on the wrist.
What You Can Do
The Fair Fight Initiative is committed to bringing attention to cases of prosecutorial misconduct and the systemic injustices that permit them to occur.
Through donations, we partially or fully fund defense teams for individuals whose rights have been violated by prosecutorial and government misconduct. We also promote advocacy and awareness campaigns to bring these injustices to light.
Fair Fight Initiative levels the playing field to create a more equitable justice system.
Please consider donating or helping us fundraise for people who desperately need help to ensure their rights are protected.
Approved cases will be documented and litigated with funds generated by our nonprofit. Fair Fight Initiative receives many applications, and responses may take many weeks.