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Abstract

This article discusses how prosecutors should conduct themselves in light of the principle that has traditionally ben thought to define the prosecutor's professional ethos: "the duty to seek justice." Part I sketches the outlines of this concept, both historically and in its contemporary incarnation. Part II offers two reasons for asking why prosecutors should seek justice. Part III examines alternative justifications for the duty--first, that the duty derives from prosecutors' extraordinary power, and second, that the duty derives from their role on behalf of a sovereign whose own interest is in achieving justice--and explains why the second provides the more complete justification. Finally, Part IV suggests how this understanding of the defining principle of prosecutorial ethics has implications in cases where prosecutors have convicted innocent individuals, even if inadvertently.

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