ABA Criminal Justice Section Tabs New Committee: The Prosecutorial Independence Task Force

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By Jonathan Nunez

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Bar Association (ABA) this week announced the creation of the Task Force for Prosecutorial Independence, designed to inform the American public about the “prosecutor’s critical role in maintaining the integrity of the criminal justice system.”

At its core, “The Task Force on Prosecutorial Independence was created to reinforce, promote and educate the public about the importance of prosecutorial independence,” said the ABA.

The task force began to form after adoption of the Criminal Justice Section Resolution 501 by the ABA House of Delegates at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Louisville, according to a statement issued by the ABA.

Resolution 501, according to the American Bar Association, urges state, local, territorial, and tribal officials to abide by the ABA Criminal Justice Standards for the Prosecution Function.

Concurrently, the resolution ensures efforts to address alleged prosecutorial misconduct are written in standards that provide reasonable and specific information to the conduct. Adhering to these conditions will allow due process for a fair and impartial tribunal.

The American Bar Association, noting it is “the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world,” said it 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.”

The statement reported the ABA’s “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.”

Members include John Choi, an 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 ABA said the task force will include national leaders like 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 said Choi, the co-chair of this task force, in outlining the goal of the Task Force for Prosecutorial Independence, said, “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.”

About The Author

Jonathan is a fourth year UC Davis student pursuing a major in English and a minor in Professional Writing and African American Studies. By working alongside the Vanguard Court Watch, Jonathan not only hopes to deepen his passion for criminal justice, but he also wishes to deepen the connection he has with his community through his writing. In his free time, Jonathan enjoys hanging out with his friends and making short stories about the world around him.

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1 Comment

  1. Walter Shwe

    This ABA task force would not be necessary save for anti-Democratic right wing attacks on progressive prosecutors conducting their sworn duties to uphold the law. 

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