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Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy


In June of 2008, The New York Times reported on a New York prosecutor’s conflict with his supervisors. The disagreement rested on the prosecutor’s belief that the District Attorney’s Office had wrongly convicted two men of a 1990 shooting. After thoroughly re-investigating the case, the prosecutor made a powerful pitch to his bosses that the men’s convictions “be dropped.” The supervisors disagreed and instructed the prosecutor to proceed with a hearing to oppose setting aside the convictions. The prosecutor complied with the directive but then “deliberately helped the other side win.”

This short thought piece proposes an ethical course of action for front-line prosecutors who disagree with their bosses about the “just” way to handle an issue or case.

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