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The Champion

July 1998 , Page  

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Curbing Prosecutorial Excess: A Job for the Courts and Congress

By Arnold I. Burns, Warren L. Dennis

Arnold I. Burns and Warren L. Dennis are partners at Proskauer Rose LLP, in the New York and Washington, D.C., offices respectively. Mr. Burns formerly served as Deputy Attorney General of the United States. Mr. Dennis served for five years as a trial attorney at the Department of Justice. 

Amybeth Garcia-Bokor is an associate with Proskauer's litigation and dispute resolution practice. 

The Problem: Personalization of Prosecution Invites Excess

Once the phrase "prosecutorial discretion" conjured up an image of sober, reflective and mature exercise of well-informed judgment, usually characterized by a certain concern for public confidence in the system. Now the phrase has increasingly become synonymous with the arbitrary targeting of subjects based on criteria ranging from political hardball, to prosecutorial ambition, to the allure of urgent newspaper headlines and television promos ("News at 11") that, like magic pixie dust, can grace a faceless civil servant with instant celebrity stat

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