Patrick T. McNallyAttorney at Law

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An overzealous prosecutor's tactics might produce an unfair trial

Although a strong work ethic is often considered a virtue, should prosecutors approach their jobs that way?

As a law firm that has represented many criminal defendants, we have observed aggressive prosecutorial tactics in the courtroom. True, it is a prosecutor’s job to seek a conviction, but there is a difference between doing one’s job and seeking to win at all costs. When prosecutors cross the line and become overzealous, a criminal defendant’s constitutional right to a fair trial may be in jeopardy.

For example, a criminal defendant has a constitutional right not to testify, pursuant to the Fifth Amendment. Further, adverse implications should not be encouraged when a defendant utilizes that right. Yet there are real life examples to the contrary, as we discuss on our criminal defense law firm's website. Specifically, a Memphis prosecutor who made such an implication during her closing argument was brought before the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee.

However, not all overzealous prosecutorial tactics may be that overt. Perhaps the prosecution failed to turn over exculpatory evidence or certain transcripts. In order to get a fair trial in such an atmosphere, an accused may need a criminal defense attorney who has experience in pointing out examples of overreaching by prosecutors. When combined with a tactical defense strategy, such an approach may help a criminal defendant get the best outcome.

If you are concerned about getting a fair criminal trial, or perhaps believe that a verdict was unfair due to prosecutorial misconduct and/or errors by the trial court, our criminal defense law firm can review your case. We have helped clients at both the trial and appellate level.

Source: “Prosecutor's constitutionally forbidden outburst brings disciplinary charges,” copyright 2016, Patrick T. McNally, Attorney at Law

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