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Arbitrary JusticeThe Power of the American Prosecutor$
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Angela J. Davis

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195384734

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195384734.001.0001

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Prosecutorial Discretion: Power and Privilege

Prosecutorial Discretion: Power and Privilege

(p.3) One Prosecutorial Discretion: Power and Privilege
Arbitrary Justice

Angela J. Davis

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents three cases that demonstrate the wide-ranging power and discretion of the American prosecutor. In each case, the prosecutor's actions deeply influenced the lives of the accused. The first case (Delma Banks) was almost executed by the state of Texas before the Supreme Court reversed the conviction. The second case show that when Dwayne Washington told prosecutors he couldn't prevent his actions, they followed through on their threat to charge him as an adult and as a result he faced charges that carried a life sentence in adult prison. Lastly, the favorable treatment afforded Andrew Klepper meant that he could avoid prison after committing a violent sex offense—a rare outcome in these types of cases. Moreover, a brief history of the American prosecutor, and the importance and dilemma of prosecutorial discretion, are provided. Furthermore, an overview of the chapters included in this book is given.

Keywords:   prosecutorial discretion, prosecutorial power, American prosecutor, Supreme Court, Delma Banks, Dwayne Washington, Andrew Klepper

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