Prosecutorial Accountability

Prosecutorial Accountability in the Post-Connick v. Thompson Era: Reforms and Solutions

ABA Midyear Meeting in New Orleans

Time: Saturday, February 4, 2012, 3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Location: Louisiana State Bar Association, Founder’s Room,

Last year in Connick V. Thompson, a closely divided U.S. Supreme Court overturned a $14 million judgment awarded to exonerated death row prisoner John Thompson against the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office. The Court refused to hold the Office financially liable, provoking sharp dissents from 4 current Justices and public criticism from former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.  This year, in Smith v. Cain, the Court again questioned Orleans Parish prosecutors to determine whether alleged misconduct should result in a new trial for a convicted prisoner.  Both cases involved alleged violations of Brady v. Maryland, the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court cases that requires prosecutors to provide certain kinds of evidence to the defense before trial.

A new study published by Yale Law Journal Online provides an in-depth examination of state bars’ procedures for disciplining prosecutors. The study finds that prosecutors are rarely sanctioned for misconduct and that reforms are needed to ensure that state bars hold prosecutors accountable.

Deborah Jane Cooper, co-author, “The Myth of Prosecutorial Accountability After Connick v. Thompson: Why Current Professional Responsibility Measures Cannot Protect Against Prosecutorial Misconduct,” Yale Law Journal Online

Lawrence J. Fox, Partner, Drinker Biddle & Reath; Yale Law School Lecturer; director, Yale Ethics Bureau  

Bruce Green, Professor, Fordham University School of Law; director, Louis Stein School of Law and Ethics; former SDNY Assistant United States Attorney

Mathias H. Heck, Jr., Prosecuting Attorney, Montgomery County, Ohio; past President of the National District Attorneys Association

John Thompson, exonerated Louisiana death row prisoner; founder, Resurrection After Exoneration

Deborah Jane Cooper, co-author, “The Myth of Prosecutorial Accountability After Connick v. Thompson: Why Current Professional Responsibility Measures Cannot Protect Against Prosecutorial Misconduct,” Yale Law Journal Online

Lawrence J. Fox, Partner, Drinker Biddle & Reath; Yale Law School Lecturer; director, Yale Ethics Bureau  

Bruce Green, Professor, Fordham University School of Law; director, Louis Stein School of Law and Ethics; former SDNY Assistant United States Attorney

Mathias H. Heck, Jr., Prosecuting Attorney, Montgomery County, Ohio; past President of the National District Attorneys Association

John Thompson, exonerated Louisiana death row prisoner; founder, Resurrection After Exoneration