Discretion In Prosecutors

2008 Words 9 Pages
Prosecutors have a wide range of discretion that can affect numerous members in the criminal justice system, as well as themselves, and the offenders that are being charged with a crime(s). Prosecutors have a lot of discretion when it comes to choosing which cases they are going to prosecute, what charges that are going to be brought against a defendant and whether or not they will reduce an offender’s charge. With all of that responsibility, a prosecutor needs to make sure that he uses his discretion ethically because discretion can be used for the right and sometimes the wrong reasons. Prosecutors have a lot of power in the criminal justice system, which includes a various amount of duties, responsibilities, and discretion, so prosecutors …show more content…
Prosecutors can use their discretion to benefit themselves by choosing to avoid certain cases to escape public humiliation. Prosecutors can also use their discretion to build their relationships within the criminal justice system. Or they can use their discretion to benefit other members of the criminal justice system which, include police officers, Judges, and defense attorneys. And perhaps most importantly, they can use their discretion to the benefit of the …show more content…
There is a prosecutor’s code of professional ethics that every prosecutor is responsible for following (ABA, 2016). While historically, the code of professional ethics has prohibited one attorney from representing co-defendants when a conflict of interest has been found, the U.S. Supreme Court and other appellate courts recently have been applying a stricter interpretation of what constitutes a conflict (BJS, 1984). Prosecutors use their discretion for many reasons, sometimes the right reasons and sometime for the wrong ones, especially when race is involved (Phillips, 2012). When prosecutors use their discretion ethically, it can be a great thing. When a prosecutor uses their discretion to help three-strike offenders who are facing life in prison for a false charge get a lesser change, that is a good example of proper use of ethics. An example of a prosecutor using their discretion for unethical reasons is that the race of the victim has a consistent impact on the death penalty - the vast majority of studies report that death is more likely to be imposed on behalf of white victims, and particularly white female victims (Phillips, 2012). There are general policies that in place on how to use discretion a prosecutor should follow (Worrall et al.,

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