Joy Co-Authors Ethics Book for Prosecutors, Defenders

Peter Joy, professor of law, is the co-author of the new book, Do No Wrong: Ethics for Prosecutors and Defenders, published in 2009 by the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section.

Book Cover - Do No Wrong

The book is adapted from a series of articles on ethics topics that Joy originally co-wrote with Case Western Reserve University law professor Kevin McMunigal for the ABA’s quarterly magazine, Criminal Justice. Their updated book is divided into nine parts spanning the prosecution’s role, defense counsel’s role, criminal practice and the media, client autonomy, conflicts of interest, investigation and discovery, plea negotiations, preparation for trial, and litigation ethics.

Subtopics include ethical rules specific to prosecutors, including rationales for treating prosecutors differently; rules of scientific and exculpatory evidence; constitutional standards for defense counsel; causes of wrongful convictions; allocation of authority between attorney and client; campaign pledges to prosecute; the role of secret recordings; confidentiality issues; the anti-contact rule in criminal prosecutions; destroyed documents; disclosing exculpatory material and corporate privilege in plea negotiations; witness preparation; inconsistent prosecutions; and the use of religion in closing arguments.

In their introduction, the authors note: “Criminal law practice is a minefield of legal ethics issues for both the prosecution and the defense … Answering … ethical questions requires not only an understanding of the relevant ethics rules, but also applicable constitutional and statutory law, as well as rules of criminal procedure and evidence. This book aims to put … ethical questions on the ‘radar screens’ of criminal practitioners and to provide both prosecution and defense with the analysis and authorities necessary to understand the issues and underlying policies.”

In his review, Fordham University legal ethics scholar Bruce A. Green calls the book “a series of highly readable, thought-provoking essays, grounded in relevant authorities,” as it “presents dilemmas that invite lawyers to consider the fundamental nature of prosecuting and defending and how these differ.”

Director of Washington University Law’s Criminal Justice Clinic, Joy is well known for his teaching and scholarship in legal ethics, clinical legal education, and trial practice. Before becoming a law professor, he litigated both criminal and civil cases in private practice.

[View ABA Web site for the book]