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The Prosecutor in Transnational Perspective$
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Erik Luna and Marianne Wade

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199844807

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199844807.001.0001

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Procedural Justice, Collateral Consequences, and the Adjudication of Misdemeanors in the United States

Procedural Justice, Collateral Consequences, and the Adjudication of Misdemeanors in the United States

Chapter:
(p.20) Procedural Justice, Collateral Consequences, and the Adjudication of Misdemeanors in the United States
Source:
The Prosecutor in Transnational Perspective
Author(s):

John D. King

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199844807.003.0003

This chapter addresses some of the issues surrounding the prosecution and adjudication of low-level offenses in the United States, looking specifically at the changed context within which such prosecutions take place today. The chapter is organized as follows. Part II explores the tension between the formal procedural safeguards and adversarial zeal that is supposed to characterize the American criminal justice system, and the practice of the processing of misdemeanor cases as it actually occurs in courtrooms across the country. Part III examines the recent explosion of the scope and number of collateral consequences that attend a criminal conviction, including many misdemeanor convictions. Part IV addresses wrongful convictions, an issue that has received great focus recently in the context of serious cases but much less so with regard to the low-level prosecutions that dominate the criminal justice system. Finally, Part V argues that the dramatic increase in misdemeanor prosecutions as well as the sharp rise in the seriousness and scope of the resulting collateral consequences requires a change in how such cases are adjudicated. Specifically, the procedural safeguards and due process protections that accompany a criminal prosecution in theory must be applied to those offenses considered petty just as they are to more serious offenses.

Keywords:   prosecution, adjudication, procedural safeguards, misdemeanor prosecutions, wrongful convictions, due process, criminal prosecution

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