An often-quoted excerpt from Berger v. United States sums up the role of a prosecutor in the criminal legal system. The context is the federal system, but it applies across the board. It begins by explaining the duty of a prosecutor: to represent the sovereign, “whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done.”2 Then, it turns to the real-world application of that role, instructing that prosecutors should present their cases with “earnestness and vigor” and, at times, “strike hard blows”—not “foul ones”—because, in the end, “It is as much his duty to refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one.” ...
With that in mind, this Article addresses the current state of the Georgia criminal legal system as it pertains to conviction integrity reforms and wrongful convictions. It does not tell the whole story, and it does not pretend to have any magical answers or solutions to deeprooted issues. Instead, this Article is meant to be part of the patchwork of literature on Georgia criminal law that continues the conversation about where we are now and where we hope to be, contemplating ways to achieve a better system. First, it addresses the problem of wrongful convictions. Second, it examines the role of prosecutors in correcting wrongful convictions and the landscape of prosecutorial attitudes in Georgia. Finally, it considers the viability of different reform efforts. Although it is too early to tell where current trends will lead, we are optimistic about the potential for progress in Georgia’s criminal legal system.
Gantt, E. Addison and Hurley, Meagan R.
"Fostering Equity and Accountability in Georgia’s Criminal Legal System Through Conviction Integrity Reforms,"
Mercer Law Review: Vol. 73:
3, Article 7.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.mercer.edu/jour_mlr/vol73/iss3/7