It is important that those accused of committing a crime are protected and that their full criminal defense rights are protected. Accused individuals should be familiar with their criminal defense rights and ways they may be violated including through prosecutorial misconduct.
Failure to disclose evidence
Prosecutors have a duty to disclose any exculpatory evidence or evidence in their possession that would be favorable to the accused individual. This is a significant violation if prosecutors fail to comply with it.
Use of testimony the prosecutor knows or should know is false
Prosecutors have a duty not to suborn perjury which requires them not to provide or facilitate testimony that they know is false or have a reason to know is false. This can also be another serious violation if the prosecutor supports false testimony.
Inappropriate, inflammatory or improper comments
Prosecutors are prohibited from making inappropriate, inflammatory or improper comments. Prosecutors should also refrain from eliciting inappropriate, inflammatory or improper comments.
There are other possible forms of prosecutorial misconduct including abuse of power or if the prosecutor abuses their discretion and other examples as well. This blog has previously discussed possible prosecutorial misconduct in relation to charging decisions and the application of prosecutorial discretion.
Accused individuals are facing the potential loss of their freedom and other significant penalties and consequences every day. Criminal defense rights and safeguards are in place to protect them. Prosecutorial misconduct is serious and may be a component of an accused individual’s criminal defense which is why it is essential to understand what it is.