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Daniel R. Alonso

For many years, defense and wrongful conviction advocates have pushed for an independent body to investigate and discipline prosecutors. In their words, “disciplinary measures [to punish prosecutorial misconduct] are grossly inadequate,” leading them to the conclusion that, “[t]o deter further misconduct and abuse of power, prosecutors must be punished more severely than attorneys who hold less distinguished and privileged positions.” H. Mitchell Caldwell, “The Prosecutor Prince: Misconduct, Accountability, and a Modest Proposal,” 63 Cath. U. L. Rev. 51, 55-56 (2013). In 2015, the New York State Commission on Statewide Attorney Discipline (the Lippman Commission), created by then-Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, studied the question, particularly with respect to judicial opinions purporting to find “misconduct.” The Lippman Commission heard repeated arguments in favor of “a separate disciplinary mechanism to address claims of prosecutorial misconduct” and examined a then-pending New York bill that would create such a mechanism. Ultimately, the group rejected the entire proposition:

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