Professional Responsibility

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Could Harsher Penalties Deter Prosecutors from Tampering with Exculpatory Evidence?


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Could Harsher Penalties Deter Prosecutors from Tampering with Exculpatory Evidence?

Richard Byrne III*

Any practicing attorney, law student, or layperson knows that tampering with evidence is one of the worst misdeeds an attorney can commit. Not only does the tampering of evidence often result in otherwise incorrect rulings, it completely undermines the judicial system’s primary function of dispensing justice. This rings especially true in criminal cases where the ultimate result of evidence tampering may cost defendants precious years of their lives, if not life itself. Despite such injustice, overzealous prosecutors seeking an easy trial or a high conviction rate might feel inclined to conceal, tamper with, or even destroy evidence that could quite possibly exonerate a defendant.

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