RULE 3.8 SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF A PROSECUTOR

Effective Date: 9/20/1985

Obsolete Date: 8/1/2006

The prosecutor in a criminal case shall:

(a) not prosecute a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause;

(b) make reasonable efforts to assure that the accused has been advised of the right to, and the procedure, for obtaining, counsel and has been given reasonable opportunity to obtain counsel;

(c) not seek to obtain from an unrepresented accused a waiver of important pretrial rights, such as the right to a preliminary hearing;

(d) disclose to the defense at the earliest practical time all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or mitigates the offense, and, in connection with sentencing, disclose to the defense and to the tribunal all unprivileged mitigating information known to the prosecutor, except when the prosecutor is relieved of this responsibility by a protective order of the tribunal; and

(e) make reasonable efforts to prevent investigators, law enforcement personnel, employees or other persons assisting or associated with the prosecutor in a criminal case from making an extrajudicial statement that the prosecutor would be prohibited from making under Rule 3.6.

COMMENT

A prosecutor has the responsibility of a minister of justice and not simply that of an advocate.This responsibility carries with it specific obligations to see that the defendant is accorded procedural justice and that guilt is decided upon the basis of sufficient evidence. This responsibility also obligates the prosecutor to promptly make available to the defense information which is known, material and favorable to the defendant's position. Discovery of such information by the prosecutor confers no property right in the same upon the prosecutor; rather, in the interest of seeing that the truth is ascertained and all proceedings justly determined, the defense should be accorded ready access to any such information. See also Rule 3.3(f), governing ex parte proceedings, among which grand jury proceedings are included. Applicable law may require other measures by the prosecutor and knowing disregard of those obligations or a systematic abuse of prosecutorial discretion could constitute a violation of Rule 8.4.

Paragraph (c) does not apply to an accused representing himself with the approval of the tribunal.Nor does it forbid the lawful questioning of a suspect who has knowingly waived his rights to counsel and silence.

The exception in paragraph (d) recognizes that a prosecutor may seek an appropriate protective order from the tribunal if disclosure of information to the defense could result in substantial harm to an individual or to the public interest.

Reference: Minutes of the Professional Conduct Subcommittee of the Attorney Standards Committee on 09/20/85 and 11/08/85 

Effective Date Obsolete Date
03/01/2013 View
03/01/2012 03/01/2013 View
08/01/2006 03/01/2012 View
09/20/1985 08/01/2006 View