The goal of a prosecutor is to win the case. what role does justice and ethics play in reaching this goal?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

To me, the role that justice and ethics should play in this goal is twofold:

  • Prosecutors should not bring cases in which they do not believe in the guilt of the defendant.
  • Prosecutors must seek the truth during the case -- not just try to win.  As the link I have added here says

A prosecutor is expected at times to step out of this conventional adversarial role and to act as a monitor both of substantive and procedural justice in ways not expected of criminal defense lawyers or civil advocates.

What this is saying is that prosecutors should not go all out to win in the same way that defense attorneys should.  Prosecutors should not try to obscure the truth because they are not only interested in winning the cases -- they represent the government whose first goal should be to see justice done.

So prosecutors should not try to, for example, discredit a witness if they believe the witness is telling the truth.  They should not try to cheat in order to win.

This means that justice and ethics should mitigate the prosecutors' desire to win their cases.  Cases should only be won using just and ethical means.

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

The statement that the goal of a prosecutor is to win the case is rather controversial. Winning a case is definitely an important consideration in the activities of any lawyer or attorney, whether representing the prosecution or the defendant. But the layers from both the side also have the responsibility of protect and uphold the law.

Knowingly and purposefully causing prosecution of an Innocent, or acquittal of a guilty person is not really the goal of any honest lawyer. The duty of lawyer is provide the best possible legal support to secure and protect the legal rights of the client represented. These legal rights do not include the right to use falsehood or other similar illegal and unethical practices to protect illegitimate interests of the client.

Both justice and ethics are intended to support and protect what is right, and to oppose what is wrong. Both these guide the action of every honest lawyer. And most certainly no dishonest act can be considered just and ethical.

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