Prosecutors Wrongfully Convicted Three Men Who Spent 24 Years Behind Bars. Will They Be Disbarred?

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Professor Bruce Green shared his expert opinion on disbarring prosecutors for wrongdoings that convict innocent people with Gothamist.

“A law license is a privilege,” said Cynthia Godsoe, a professor at Brooklyn Law School and member of Accountability NY. “We can’t have prosecutors who commit egregious and often repeated misconduct. It’s too dangerous for clients and it also undermines lawyers as a whole, and the rule of law.”
On Monday, Godsoe and four other law professors with Accountability NY sent the 21 complaints to New York’s court-appointed grievance committees, which are tasked with investigating attorney wrongdoing.
“It’s fair to say that historically the disciplinary authorities have not disbarred or suspended very many prosecutors in New York or elsewhere,” said Bruce Green, a professor at Fordham Law, who has studied prosecutorial disciplinary processes extensively.
In the past, Green noted, grievance committees tended to prioritize cracking down on attorneys for other forms of misconduct, such as theft of clients’ funds or off-the-job felonies.
But this outlook could change, he explained, due to changing political attitudes and an increasing awareness of the central role that prosecutors have played in wrongful convictions nationwide.
“There’s a greater recognition that when prosecutors commit certain wrongdoing, innocent people get convicted,” Green said. “And that’s a terrible wrong, probably worse than when a lawyer takes clients money.”

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