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Abstract

This Essay considers the rhetoric some judges have used to characterize the respective duties of prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys. The Essay suggests that, although this rhetoric often expresses admirable aspirations and ideals, it improperly blurs the lines between the roles different lawyers play within the adversarial system. Specifically, these judges have used language that would seem to place additional limitations on both the methods prosecutors employ in seeking to obtain just convictions and the tactics criminal defense attorneys employ in zealous advocacy of their clients’ interests. This Essay concludes that judges should avoid such rhetoric, which has the potential to undermine basic principles of the American legal system.

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