What constitutes a fair trial?

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What constitutes a fair trial?

It is to my belief that the prosecuting attorney, previously dealt with on another case and found not guilty, is now conspiring with the current prosecutor handling my current case. They remain within the same division and are known to be very close friends. An obvious grudge is held against the defendant, due to the previous conviction. Should this be legal? Why aren’t there state laws protecting our criminals from such cabal activities? If there is belief to conspire a grudge, may a new prosecuting attorney be obtained?

Asked on March 13, 2011 under Criminal Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

All lawyers, including--even especially--prosecutors, are under ethical and legal obligations which control what they can and cannot due. So, for example, prosecutors have to turn over any exculpatory or mitigating evidence in their possession to the defense; they can't hide unfavorable test results; they can't lie or encourage witnesses to lie; etc. However, as long as they act fair and in accordance with all ethical and legal guidelines, their opinions, attitudes, emotions, etc. are irrelevant. So it doesn't matter if a prosecutor has a "grudge" against a defendant--he or she is allowed to positvely *hate* the defendant in fact--so long as the prosecutor plays by the rules. And conversely: if the prosecutor doesn't obey the ethical and legal rules and hides, destroys, taints, etc. evidence, the it doesn't matter why he or she did that--all that matters is the bad behavior itself, which may give rise to grounds to appeal or overturn a conviction or receive a new trial.


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