State v. T.J.M.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey filed an amicus brief arguing that prior prosecutorial error should be considered in future cases. The brief points out that prosecutorial error is not tracked by the court nor made public in a meaningful way. Though there are only a few prosecutors who routinely contravene the dictates of the court, in the small number of cases where prior misconduct is relevant to the case being tried, a trial judge should have the opportunity to consider those misdeeds. The particular prosecutor in State v. T.J.M. was cited for exceeding the bounds of advocacy by orchestrating a demonstration after the time for presenting evidence had already concluded and had been cited for a similar error in the past. Evidence rules regarding past conduct intended to prevent prejudice against the defendant should not be available to shield prosecutors when prosecutorial error is at issue because the judge should be permitted to consider prior evidence as long as the value of the evidence outweighs the prejudicial impact of admitting evidence of prior prosecutorial misconduct.

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