Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct

Published on January 15th, 2019

Memorandum of Support

Re: A.781 Perry / S.1190 Bailey
In relation to the State Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct

The above-referenced legislation has been introduced to amend the judiciary law, by making chapter amendments to Chapter 202 of the Laws of 2018, enacting the Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct.

This legislation makes a number of changes to the newly-created Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct, including: clarifying that the Commission, like similar state commissions, exists in the Executive Department; realigns the 11 member Commission by increasing the governor’s appointees from two to four; and decreasing the appointments by the legislative majorities by one member; clarifies who approves the appointment of the commission’s administration; modifies the commission’s subpoena powers so as not to interrupt active investigations or prosecutions; stipulates any admonishment or censure of a prosecutor will be done by the Appellate Division and not the Court of Appeals; and changes the effective date from May 1, 2019, to April 1, 2019.

The Catholic Conference supports these legislative amendments and strongly supports the reconstituted Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct.

The Catholic Conference has long advocated for reforms of the criminal justice system that protect the rights of the accused and the interest of those who have been victimized. This legislation is consistent with those efforts. It is in no one’s interest for individuals to be wrongly convicted or for guilty parties to not be held accountable as a result of inappropriate conduct on the part of prosecutors. Prosecutors have a duty to pursue justice and establishing standards in support of that goal benefits the legal system and society as a whole.