Monday, August 31, 2015
Laurie L. Levenson (Loyola Law School Los Angeles) has posted The Cure for the Cynical Prosecutors’ Syndrome: Rethinking a Prosecutor’s Role in Post-Conviction Cases (Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law, Vol 20, Issue 2 (2015)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
One of the biggest challenges facing the criminal justice system is dealing with the growing tide of post-conviction petitions claiming wrongful conviction. Each year, the number of exonerees grows. In 2014, an unprecedented 125 exonerations were recorded in the United States. In analyzing how post-conviction matters are handled, it becomes apparent that one of the key roadblocks to remedying these injustices is not, as some have suggested, the attitude of young prosecutors. Rather, senior prosecutors also suffer from a type of “Cynical Prosecutors’ Syndrome” that impairs their ability to play a constructive role in the exoneration process. This article discusses the role of prosecutors in the post-conviction process, analyzes current studies of prosecutorial attitudes, and proposes reforms to ensure that meritorious post-conviction challenges are handled properly.