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The appeals process: What is prosecutorial misconduct?

On Behalf of | Feb 4, 2022 | Criminal Appeals |

Prosecutors have a duty to convict guilty people and protect the innocent. They must consider the interests of all parties and respect their legal rights.

Prosecutors gather evidence to build a case against the person they feel is accountable for a crime. Prosecutorial misconduct happens when an attorney in this position breaks a code of ethics or law during the process.

What is prosecutorial misconduct?

Prosecutors have a professional obligation to ensure fairness in criminal matters. If they engage in illegal or improper conduct at any stage, it can unfairly affect the legal outcome. These attornies have substantial power over all aspects of a criminal case, including investigations, charges and sentencing. Because of this control, there are many potential forms of legal misconduct.

What actions do courts consider misconduct?

Some prosecutorial misconduct claims include:

  • Improper comments made during the trial or closing arguments
  • Withholding of exculpatory evidence
  • False evidence or witness testimony
  • Unsuitable investigative methods
  • Improper plea-bargaining
  • Inappropriate statements to the media

Can you have your case dismissed due to prosecutorial misconduct?

If you believe improper actions affected your criminal trial, you can appeal based on claims of misconduct. You have a legal right to appeal whether a prosecuting attorney knowingly interfered with your case or unintentionally made an error.

If a prosecutor’s actions meet the definition of misconduct, an appeals court decides if the improper methods affected your case. When wrongdoing impacts your criminal trial, you may get a mistrial, new trial or dismissal of charges.

You need a thorough understanding of trial laws and proceedings to file a prosecutorial misconduct appeal. If misdeeds affect your right to due process, you may have a valid appeals claim.