When should a District Attorney bow out of a prosecution? Answer: When There is an Appearance of Impropriety. Okay, What the Hell is That?

In People v Adams, (2013), the NY Court of Appeals admonished that “an appearance of impropriety may arise when the record provides an objective basis to question whether the prosecutor is exercising pretrial prosecutorial discretion in an evenhanded manner.” In that case, no actual impropriety occurred; but there was an unacceptably great appearance of impropriety where the District Attorney’s office refused to accept a reduced charge because the complainant was a sitting judge who demanded that the matter go to trial, rather than because a trial was, in its own disinterested judgment, appropriate. The other day, in People v Malone, a case out of Queens County, the complainant was the uncle of an ADA, and the court determined that there was no appearance of impropriety. The full decision can be found at the following link: http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2014/2014_24374.htm#4FN

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