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What if a prosecutor knows the defendant is innocent?

What if a prosecutor knows the defendant is innocent?

Prosecutors have a duty to disclose any and all information that would deprive the defendant of a fair trial, whether the defendant asked for the information or not. If the prosecution fails to disclose this information to you, then they may have committed a Brady due process violation.

How do you prove a defendant is guilty?

When a criminal defendant is prosecuted, the prosecutor must prove the defendant’s guilt BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. If the jury—or the judge in a bench trial—has a reasonable doubt as to the defendant’s guilt, the jury or judge should pronounce the defendant not guilty.

What happens if a prosecutor has evidence that someone is innocent?

If a prosecutor has evidence that someone is innocent, sharing that evidence could mean the prosecutor loses the case. Holding onto it could mean sending an innocent person to prison. In The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Bazelon writes that what the prosecutor does often boils down to an honor system.

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What happens if the prosecution fails to prove guilt?

A Prosecutor’s Failure to Prove Guilt. The most common defense argument is that the prosecution has failed to prove the defendant guilty. Because of the constitutional principles that a defendant is presumed innocent and that the prosecution has to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, this is often the strongest argument the defendant can make.

When does the prosecutor have to give evidence to the defense?

BAZELON: Well, the prosecutor has a constitutional obligation to hand over evidence that is favorable to the defense if it is material either to guilt or to punishment. And that line, that standard, comes from a 1963 Supreme Court case called Brady v. Maryland.

Can a judge forbid a defendant from offering evidence of third-party guilt?

Criminal defendants have a constitutional right to present a defense. Therefore, a judge cannot forbid a defendant from offering evidence of third-party guilt simply because the judge believes that the prosecutor has presented an exceptionally strong case.