Rights and Responsibilities: Why Prosecutors Must Act Ethically

Like many professionals, lawyers are bound by professional codes of conduct to act ethically. The American Bar Association has issued Rules of Professional Conduct that impose duties on lawyers that go above and beyond what the Constitution says. Your St. Augustine attorney will understand that, not only does he have an obligation to provide ethical representation, but the prosecution does as well.

ABA Rules for Prosecutors

The American Bar Association has issued certain rules that apply specifically to prosecutors, which your St. Augustine lawyer will be aware of. Specifically, a prosecuting attorney must disclose to the defense any information that is favorable to the defendant even if it exposes a glaring weakness in their case. Even if the prosecutor believes this evidence is unreliable or will not have much of an effect, it must nevertheless be disclosed to the defendant’s St. Augustine attorney.

Exculpatory Evidence

This duty also extends to evidence that may be exculpatory (that is, evidence that may lead to a conclusion of your innocence or at least lessens the degree of guilt). This is obviously something your St. Augustine attorney will want to keep an eye on as even a small bit of evidence can prove fatal to the prosecution’s case.

Moreover, the prosecution must disclose any such evidence to your St. Augustine attorney early enough to allow you and your attorney to investigate and analyze it thoroughly. Your St. Augustine lawyer will then advise you whether it is in your best interest to plead guilty or not guilty.

Prosecutorial Ethics

At the federal level, the U.S. Department of Justice has issued policies that go even farther when it comes to prosecutorial ethics. Prosecutors are obligated to thoroughly review all investigative agency case files and informant files to preserve evidence that may be favorable to the defendant’s St. Augustine lawyer.

Any information that would cast a shadow on the prosecution’s case or negatively affect the admissibility of the prosecution’s evidence must be disclosed to the defendant’s St. Augustine attorney “reasonably promptly” after the evidence is found.

For Quality, Ethical Legal Representation

Don’t assume, however, that criminal prosecutors are effectively neutered from doing their job at all. You will need a dedicated St. Augustine attorney to fight for your rights. Call the Attorneys at Canan Law at (904) 849-2266.


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