In his latest piece published on the Huffington Post, Prof. Bennett Gershman asks: “Will New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance allow the [sexual assault case against former IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn] to proceed to trial and allow a jury to render a verdict? Or will he play God and decide the case himself?” The decision will be made tomorrow.
Gershman writes that the case illustrates a classical ethical dilemma for a prosecutor. “If a prosecutor believes that the victim is telling the truth, but also believes that there are reasons for a jury to reject her testimony, should the prosecutor allow a jury to hear the victim’s story, or should the prosecutor drop the case? To be sure, there would be no legal or ethical dilemma if the prosecutor did not believe the victim, even though the prosecutor believed that a jury might convict. That was the issue confronting North Carolina prosecutor Michael Nifong in the Duke Lacrosse case, and he chose to proceed with the case even though it was obvious that the alleged victim was lying. Should a prosecutor keep a case from a jury when the evidence is weak, even though the prosecutor believes the defendant is guilty?”
Read the full article here.