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The Champion

January/February 2010 , Page 12 

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Bringing an Unlawful Verdict to Light: Discussing Prosecutorial Misconduct with Defense Attorneys in United States v. Ted Stevens

By Shana- Tara Regon

What is the role of the prosecutor? And what does the prosecutor think is her role? These are seemingly simple questions that should always have the same answer — to ensure that justice is served. Unfortunately, all too often they do not. Frequently, “ensuring that justice is served” is understood to prioritize securing an indictment and then convicting the accused. Any ethical and responsible prosecutor will agree, however, that “ensuring that justice is served” means that only the guilty are appropriately accused and convicted, and that, quite importantly, the innocent are not. And it means that the rules governing the process are of paramount importance, as they serve as a check on the adversarial nature of the proceedings and the egos and aspirations of the litigants.

Prosecutorial overreaching and misconduct distort the truth-finding process and taint the credibility of the criminal justice system, including the outcomes they generate. The role of the Department of Justice, and all

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