We have all heard cases involving police misconduct recently. This topic has received significant attention from the public, and rightfully so. However, police misconduct is not the only threat to the integrity of our justice system.
Misconduct also happens among other public officials, including prosecutors. Prosecutors have the responsibility to behave in an ethical way and to comply with the law. However, they do not always follow the rules, which is a big problem for many reasons.
Prosecutorial misconduct happens when a prosecutor engages in illegal or unethical conduct. This can happen in a variety of ways. When this happens, our justice system is threatened, the prosecutor loses credibility, they can lose their job and it can cause severe harm to a case, further disrupting our justice system.
During a criminal proceeding, prosecutors can engage in misconduct in many ways, such as:
- Failing to disclose evidence
- Providing false evidence
- Making wrong arguments
If a judge finds that the prosecutor engaged in misconduct, they has several options, among them:
- Grant a motion for a new trial.
- Dismiss the charges.
- Ask the jury to disregard certain evidence.
Penalties for official misconduct
In New Jersey, penalties for misconduct on part of public officials, including prosecutors, include prison time and hefty fines, depending on the type of misconduct and the consequences that stem from such actions.
The state recognizes the importance of establishing harsh penalties for public officials who break the law and violate their duty to the people of the United States because of the seriousness of these issues, and the potential threat they pose to our justice system.