chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
February 28, 2024

ABA Criminal Justice Section launches Prosecutorial Independence Task Force

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2024 — The Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association today announced the creation of the Task Force for Prosecutorial Independence to preserve and strengthen prosecutorial independence and enhance the American public’s understanding of the prosecutor’s critical role in maintaining the integrity of the criminal justice system.

Co-chaired by John Choi, attorney for Ramsey County in Saint Paul, Minnesota; Ellen S. Podgor, the Gary R. Trombley Family White Collar Crime Research Professor at the Stetson University College of Law; and Ellen Yaroshefsky, the Howard Lichtenstein Distinguished Professor of Legal Ethics at the Maurice A Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, the 24-member task force is comprised of a diverse group of prosecutors, defenders, legal scholars and others with expertise in the criminal justice system from across the country and across the political spectrum. Sara Alpert Lawson of Zuckerman Spaeder LLP is the reporter.

The task force will be assisted by an advisory board composed of national leaders, including former U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Larry D. Thompson. 

“The ABA Criminal Justice Section works to preserve the independence and exercise of discretion of locally elected prosecutors, which is a cornerstone of our justice system,” Choi said. “The Task Force on Prosecutorial Independence was created to reinforce, promote and educate the public about the importance of prosecutorial independence.”

The task force’s formation follows the adoption on Feb. 5 of Criminal Justice Section Resolution 501 by the ABA House of Delegates at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Louisville.

Resolution 501 “urges state, local, territory and tribal officials to adhere to the ABA Criminal Justice Standards for the Prosecution Function to affirm the essential role of prosecutorial discretion and independence in the criminal justice process, to respect the independence and discretion inherent in the prosecutorial function and to provide that removal, suspension or substitution of an elected or appointed prosecutor should not be permitted” for improper or personal reasons. The resolution also calls on officials to establish written standards that ensure prosecutors are afforded due process.

A full list of task force and advisory board members is available here.

The ABA Criminal Justice Section is the “unified voice of criminal justice.” With its diverse membership of criminal justice professionals, the ABA Criminal Justice Section is uniquely situated to bring all the various actors to the table to address today’s most pressing criminal justice issues.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on X (formerly Twitter) @ABANews.