Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



prosecutorial misconduct, sentence reduction, remedial deterrence, harmless error, Batson, speedy trial, criminal procedure remedies, prosecutorial incentives, expressive remedies, deterrent remedies, corrective justice


Working Paper


Current remedies for prosecutorial misconduct, such as reversal of conviction or dismissal of charges, are rarely granted by courts and thus do not deter prosecutors effectively. Further, such all-or-nothing remedial schemes are often problematic from corrective and expressive perspectives, especially when misconduct has not affected the trial verdict. When granted, such remedies produce windfalls to guilty defendants and provoke public re-sentment, undermining their expressive value in condemning misconduct. To avoid such windfalls, courts must refuse to grant any remedy at all, either re-fusing to recognize violations or deeming them harmless. This often leaves significant non-conviction-related harms unremedied and egregious prosecu-torial misconduct uncondemned.

This Article accordingly proposes adding sentence reduction to current all-or-nothing remedial schemes, arguing that this would provide courts with an intermediate remedy that they would be more willing to grant. It argues that several prosecutorial incentives combine to make sentence reduction an effective deterrent. Moreover, because sentence reduction could be tailored to the magnitude of the violation, it could resolve the windfall dilemma and serve as an effective corrective and expressive remedy.


Criminal Law

Included in

Criminal Law Commons