Leagal Ethics for the Prosecutors and Judges Project

[Research Workshop Report] “Evidence of Innocence and Prosecutorial Ethics” (December 12, 2012)

2015:03:06author:sum_rw2 Topics

We have invited Professor Peter A. Joy from Washington University in St. Louis Law School for a research workshop titled “Evidence of Innocence and Prosecutorial Ethics” to discuss ethical principals for prosecutors, as well as its history and present situation in the United States, together with the Japan Federation of Bar Associations.


(picture)Professor Peter A. Joy giving a lecture


Lecture Summary

The American Bar Association, ABA, holds great influence in ethical principals for judges in the United States. In their ethical Model Rules for Professional Conduct, they require the respect for the rights, as well as the release of profitable proof for the accused. This is reflected from the idea from Berger v. United States, stating that the role of the prosecutor is “not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done.” (Berger v. United States, 295 U.S. 78, 88 (1935) )

In particular, in the Model Rules for Professional Conduct 3.8(d), it is stated for the prosecutor, to “make timely disclosure to the defense of all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or mitigates the offense, and, in connection with sentencing, disclose to the defense and to the tribunal all unprivileged mitigating information known to the prosecutor, except when the prosecutor is relieved of this responsibility by a protective order of the tribunal”.


Recently however, many false accusation cases have become apparent, in which the prosecutor consciously hid evidence that would have proved innocence. In response to this case, the ABA has added to the Model Rules for Professional Conduct, strengthening the obligation for prosecutors to reveal proof of innocence, if found after the judgment of guilty.(additions of Model Rules for Professional Conduct 3.8 (g) and (h) )


These additions have been supported by many prosecutors, and thus were thought to spread throughout the country. However, even after four years, these additions have not been implemented by most states. (At the time of this lecture, only 7 states have implemented, and 9 states were still in the process of implementation). The reasons for this may be the lack of specified periods for rule reforms, and that there are still oppositions from prosecutors. The United States, like Japan, is still in the process of judicial reformation.


Research Workshop (closed)

Date: December 12, 2012   18:15-20:00

Location: Tokyo Bar Association17F, Meeting rooms 1703AB

Theme: 「Evidence of Innocence and Prosecutorial Ethics~What is Needed of American Prosecutors to Avoid False Accusations~」

Lecturer profile:

Peter A. Joy

Henry Hitchcock Professor of Law; Director, Criminal Justice Clinic at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law


Professor Peter A. Joy is well known for his work in clinical legal education, legal ethics, and trial practice. As director of the Criminal Justice Clinic, he supervises student-lawyers who provide direct legal representation to clients and work with experienced public defenders on criminal matters.

(taken from Washington University School of Law HP: http://law.wustl.edu/)