Defining The Standards Of Proper Conduct For The Legal Profession

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Since 1908, the ABA has been responsible for defining the standards of proper conduct for the legal profession. These standards, many of them established by the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, are continuously evolving as society and the practice of law change over time. In 1969, the ABA passed its Model Code of Professional Responsibility, guidelines for proper legal conduct that were eventually adopted by all jurisdictions. The ABA modified the code by adopting the Model Rules of Professional Conduct in 1983 and was revised in 2002. Any breach of the trust by the attorney that underlies the relationship between that attorney and the client can be considered misconduct. This thread will provide a synopsis of prosecutorial and attorney misconduct. Would it be acceptable for a prosecutor to destroy evidence (e.g., DNA) of a defendant’s guilt? Absolutely not and this would be one example of prosecutorial misconduct. Knowledge that the accused is actually innocent and withholding that information could result in the defendant being unjustly incarcerated. In the Sundance television series Rectify, Daniel Holden is prosecuted and sentenced for rape and murder due to being coerced into making a confession by law enforcement with the prosecutors’ knowledge of his innocence (2013 - ). Some other examples of prosecutorial misconduct would be: • In Caldwell v. Mississippi, 472 U.S. 320 (1985), prosecutors misstated the law when arguing to the

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