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August 11, 2021

"The Case for Pattern-and-Practice Investigations Against District Attorney’s Offices"

The title of this post is the title of this new article authored by Rory Fleming.  Here is its abstract:

Prosecutorial misconduct is a serious issue and one that is notoriously hard to combat.  Frustrated with the inaction from state bars, reformers have embraced alternative accountability strategies, such as prosecutor elections and civilian review boards.  Another tool for additional accountability is the pattern-and-practice investigation under 42 U.S.C. § 14141.  Frequently used as a federal intervention tool against errant police departments, the statute has only been used the local prosecutor context once.  Even so, it has untapped potential as a tool to make consistently high-problem local prosecutor's offices comply with their ethical duties under the rules in Brady, Batson, and other Supreme Court decisions.  Upon finding that the evidentiary threshold of a pattern of practice of constitutional violations has been met, the Justice Department can negotiate a settlement agreement that legally binds the local prosecutor's office to take action to ameliorate the issues leading to the status quo.  Several factors, such as a local prosecutor's jurisdiction experiencing a particularly high number of reversals due to misconduct and striking a particularly high number of minorities during voir dire, should inform DOJ's priorities, if it decides to act. 

August 11, 2021 at 06:52 PM | Permalink



Posted by: AFPD | Aug 12, 2021 9:50:15 AM

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