Alex B. Long

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University of Tennessee Legal Studies Research Paper Series


Over the past few years, there have been numerous news stories about prosecutors posting racially inflammatory content on their social media accounts. There have also been several incidents in recent years in which prosecutors have commented on matters of public concern on social media in a way that is not overtly racist but nonetheless raises legitimate concerns over the prosecutors’ integrity and appreciation of the special role that prosecutors play. Concerns over the extent to which prosecutors bring their personal biases into the courtroom have only increased in recent years and have contributed to the doubts as to the overall fairness of the criminal justice system, particularly as applied to people of color. These forms of extra-prosecutorial conduct tend to diminish public confidence in the impartiality, integrity, and independence of prosecutors and the criminal justice system more broadly. Currently, no rule of professional conduct speaks directly to the situation in which a prosecutor engages in such conduct in a private capacity. This Article addresses this gap in prosecutorial ethics.

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