What Is Prosecutorial Misconduct?

The criminal justice system is meant to protect you and others in Pennsylvania, and throughout the U.S. Certain transgressions on the part of prosecutors, however, may lead to your wrongful conviction. We at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, are frequently asked on what grounds people may appeal a criminal conviction. In this post, we will discuss one such factor, prosecutorial misconduct.

When prosecutors engage in conduct that violates the ethical standards of law or the court rules, it may be considered prosecutorial misconduct. These types of transgressions may be committed in an effort to obtain a conviction or to further their own careers, among other reasons.

There are numerous actions, which could be considered misconduct by a prosecutor. According to the Innocence Project, some of the most common types of prosecutorial misconduct include the following:

  • Deliberately destroying, mishandling or mistreating evidence.
  • Pushing your witnesses not to take the stand.
  • Withholding evidence from your attorney that could prove your innocence.
  • Depending on fraudulent forensic experts.
  • Making arguments that are misleading and exaggerate the probative value of certain testimony.

Additionally, allowing witnesses to testify who they know are not being truthful, or who they should know are not being truthful, may also constitute misconduct on the part of a prosecutor. Based on these types of actions, you may not have received the fair trial that you are entitled to under the U.S. Constitution. As such, you might have grounds for a criminal appeal.