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Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for D.C. July 20, 2006. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/LEGAL TIMES. Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for D.C. July 20, 2006. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/LEGAL TIMES.

Prosecutorial discretion has accustomed us to the idea that decisions on who to charge and whose crimes to ignore are virtually unreviewable. The exceptions are narrow: such as the constitutional bar on bills of attainder which may compel prosecution. Fairness defenses to prosecution are many but instances where prosecution is abandoned after a voluntary admission of guilt are unheard of.

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