Fixing the System: Police and Prosecutorial Misconduct

Fixing the System: Police and Prosecutorial Misconduct

Police and Prosecutorial Misconduct informational page

Recommendations to help eliminate misconduct

Hold police and prosecutors accountable

Prosecutors are rarely held accountable for acts of misconduct or abuses of power in the United States. Durham County, North Carolina, District Attorney Mike Nifong violated more than a dozen ethics rules while prosecuting the Duke Lacrosse case. Nifong was disbarred for his conduct, but this type of disciplinary action is not the norm. Prosecutors are not above the law and therefore must be held accountable for illegal activities.

The same policies must be applied to police officers as well. Misconduct at the police level has the potential to heavily influence the path the prosecutor takes in order to secure a conviction. When police use illegal tactics such has failing to turn over evidence, providing incentives to informants in order to obtain information, securing false confessions, or giving dishonest testimony, they prevent the prosecution from handling the case properly.

Criminal Justice Reform Commissions must be put into place in order to insure that the system operates legally. Currently there are eleven states that have reform commissions.