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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Prosecutor As "Minister Of Justice", Bennett L. Gershman May 1988

The Prosecutor As "Minister Of Justice", Bennett L. Gershman

Pace Law Faculty Publications

Times have changed. Today, prosecutors are on top of the world. Their powers are enormous, and constantly reinforced by sympathetic legislatures and courts. The "awful instruments of the criminal law," as Justice Frankfurter described the system,1 are today supplemented with broad new crimes, easier proof requirements, heavier sentencing laws, and an extremely cooperative judiciary, from district and state judges, to the highest Court in the land.


Proving The Defendant's Bad Character, Bennett L. Gershman Jan 1988

Proving The Defendant's Bad Character, Bennett L. Gershman

Pace Law Faculty Publications

The classic study of the American jury shows that when a defendant's criminal record is known and the prosecution's case has weaknesses, the defendant's chances of acquittal are thirty-eight percent, compared to sixty-five percent otherwise. Because of the danger that jurors will assume that the defendant is guilty based on proof that his bad character predisposes him to an act of crime, the courts and legislatures have attempted to circumscribe the use of such evidence. Some prosecutors, however, although well aware of the insidious effect such prejudicial evidence can have on jurors, violate the rules of evidence ...


The Prosecutor's Obligation To Grant Defense Witness Immunity, Bennett L. Gershman Jan 1988

The Prosecutor's Obligation To Grant Defense Witness Immunity, Bennett L. Gershman

Pace Law Faculty Publications

The author enumerates the three most common situations in which the courts have required the prosecutor to offer immunity to defense witnesses: (1) to safeguard the defendant's right to essential exculpatory testimony; (2) where the use of the prosecutor's powers to grant immunity causes such distortion in the fact-finding process as to require granting immunity to defense witnesses; and (3) where immunity is required to remedy prosecutory misconduct such as the intimidation of witnesses. The use of the "missing witness" instruction to avoid reaching the constitutional issue is also discussed.