November 01, 2019 Ethics

New York Creates Commission on Prosecutor Conduct

Peter A. Joy and Kevin C. McMunigal

New York recently became the first and, so far, only state in the country to create a commission to review claims of misconduct by prosecutors in the 62 district attorney offices throughout the state. Officially termed the Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct, it has been and continues to be controversial. Many have called for establishment of such a commission, as did the New York Times in an August 15, 2018, editorial titled “Prosecutors Need a Watchdog.” But it is has drawn strong opposition from the District Attorneys Association of New York, which has filed a pending lawsuit challenging its constitutionality. In this column, we describe the Commission’s composition, jurisdiction, and powers and provide an overview of the arguments surrounding it.

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