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Abstract

This Article examines two traps that are particularly likely to undermine prosecutorial decision-making--the confirming-evidence trap and the anchoring trap. During the World Trade Center bombing trial, at which the author served as defense counsel, prosecutors stumbled into both of these traps. Part I of this Article examines the confirming-evidence trap in the context of the prosecution's failure to accept contradictory evidence regarding the material used in the bomb. Part II similarly examines the anchoring trap in light of the debacle that occurred during testimony by the prosecution's main witness. In addition to examining these episodes, the Article concludes that prosecutors need substantial trial experience to learn to avoid these tricks of the mind, and plea-bargaining negotiations do not suffice in providing such experience.

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