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Criminal Procedure

Ronald F. Wright

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Mercenary Criminal Justice, Ronald F. Wright, Wayne A. Logan Mar 2013

Mercenary Criminal Justice, Ronald F. Wright, Wayne A. Logan

Ronald F. Wright

Lately, a growing number of bill collectors stand in line to collect on the debt that criminals owe to society. Courts order payment of costs; legislatures levy conviction surcharges; even private, for-profit entities get a piece of the action, collecting fees for probation supervision services and the like. And some of these collectors beckon even before a final bill is due, such as prosecutors who require suspects to pay diversion fees before they file any charges.

Government budgetary cutbacks during the Great Recession have led criminal justice actors to rely on legal financial obligations (LFOs) as a source of revenue ...


The Worldwide Accountability Deficit For Criminal Prosecutors, Ronald Wright, Marc Miller Dec 2010

The Worldwide Accountability Deficit For Criminal Prosecutors, Ronald Wright, Marc Miller

Ronald F. Wright

In democratic governments committed to the rule of law, prosecutors should be accountable to the public, just like other powerful government agents who make important decisions. The theoretical need for prosecutor accountability, however, meets practical shortcomings in criminal justice systems everywhere. Individual prosecutors everywhere express allegiance to the rule of law through the wise decisions made by each prosecutor and across offices as a whole. But the claim “trust us” does not in fact generate the level of public trust that one should expect in a government of laws. Institutional strategies to guarantee prosecutor accountability all fall short of the ...


How Prosecutor Elections Fail Us, Ronald F. Wright Dec 2008

How Prosecutor Elections Fail Us, Ronald F. Wright

Ronald F. Wright

There are several methods for holding prosecutors accountable in this country. Judges enforce a few legal boundaries on the work of prosecutors. Prosecutors with positions lower in the office or department hierarchy must answer to those at the top. But none of these controls binds a prosecutor too tightly. At the end of the day, the public guards against abusive prosecutors through direct democratic control.

Does the electoral check on prosecutors work? There are reasons to believe that elections could lead prosecutors to apply the criminal law according to public priorities and values. Voters choose their prosecutors at the local ...


Dead Wrong, Ronald Wright, Marc Miller Dec 2007

Dead Wrong, Ronald Wright, Marc Miller

Ronald F. Wright

DNA-driven exonerations offer many lessons for police, for prosecutors, and for legislatures. Many scholars have focused on novel procedures to identify and remedy wrongful convictions after they occur. Scholars have also concluded that in our administrative criminal justice system we need prosecutors who are driven less by testosterone and more by a balanced search for the truth.

In our view, the most enduring changes to the work of prosecutors will focus not on softening their adversarial perspective, but on enhancing and staying true to the traditional core of their work on the front end of the process—the charging decisions ...