Volume 1 (2014), Prosecutorial Discretion: Ethics, Practice, and Study

Articles

Narcotics Prosecutors as Problem Solvers

Professor Osler, himself a former Assistant United States Attorney, argues that when deciding whether and how to pursue narcotics cases, federal prosecutors should focus not on number of convictions or quantity of drugs intercepted, but rather on whether they are solving problems through the cases they choose. He first examines federal prosecutors' extremely broad discretion in selecting narcotics defendants and charges, as well as some of the negative effects of the failure to employ a "problem solving" rubric in the war on drugs to date. Read more about Narcotics Prosecutors as Problem Solvers

  • October 2014
  • 1 Stan. J. Crim. L. & Pol'y 1
  • Article

The Many Faces of Prosecution

Professors Wright, Levine, and Miller describe the benefits of the "ground-up" research methodology for understanding how prosecutors' offices (and individual prosecutors) actually function. They describe the roots of this approach in earlier studies done by social scientists, and contrast it with traditional legal scholarship based on cases, statutes, court outcome data, and economic rational actor theories. They then describe their own recent efforts to revive the "ground-up" approach through over 250 semistructured interviews with prosecutors in the American Southwest and Southeast. Read more about The Many Faces of Prosecution

  • October 2014
  • 1 Stan. J. Crim. L. & Pol'y 27
  • Article

Prosecutor King

Professor Luna examines prosecutorial discretion through the lens of the Republic, analogizing Plato’s model city to American criminal justice. Like the city’s ideal rulers, prosecutors reign supreme through their discretionary decisionmaking, which includes not only the power to enforce the law but also the effective authority to adjudicate cases and set the scope of criminal law. Comparative analysis reveals that American prosecutors are not platonic, however, and an antitotalitarian critique of the Republic helps demonstrate the danger of unchecked prosecutorial power.
  • October 2014
  • 1 Stan. J. Crim. L. & Pol'y 48
  • Article