Vanderbilt Law Review

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It is an old saw that prosecutors have both an ethical and a legal obligation to "do justice." The contours of that obligation, however, are not well defined. This Article addresses one particularly neglected aspect of the obligation: prosecutors' ethical duty to serve justice after convictions are complete. Prosecutorial justice issues seem to arise less frequently after conviction than at trial. Prosecutorial discretion is at its height in the postconviction context because legislators and professional code drafters have not focused on postconviction issues. Freed from binding legal constraints, prosecutors have avoided deep consideration of how their general obligation to serve justice might apply. Once defendants have been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, prosecutors' natural inclination in balancing the equities has been to sidestep defense-oriented actions.

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