Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Criminal Justice

Content Description

1 online resource (viii, 164 pages) : color illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Cynthia J Najdowski

Committee Members

James R Acker, Alissa Pollitz Worden, Evelien Hoeben


Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct, Legislation, Legislative Process, Legislative Theory, Miscarriages of Justice, Prosecutorial Misconduct, Prosecutorial misconduct, Public prosecutors, Criminal procedure

Subject Categories

Criminology | Law


Prosecutors wield the power of the criminal justice system (Medwed, 2014) and the ability to deprive a person of their constitutional rights (Imbler v. Pachtman, 1976). With such power, it is unsurprising that a leading cause of miscarriages of justice is prosecutorial misconduct (e.g., Joy, 2006; Ridolfi & Possley, 2010). New York State became the first state in the country to respond to this issue with a specialized Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct (CPC). The goal of the CPC is to serve as an official mechanism for holding District Attorneys and Assistant District Attorneys accountable by challenging convictions and handing down penalties (State Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct, N.Y. JUD Art. 15-A § 499-a, 2019). The bill creating the CPC was signed into law in 2019, but the idea for such a commission was first introduced in the legislature six years prior in 2013. What factors influenced the failure and success of this bill during these six years? How did these factors change over time through the legislative process and from its inception to its eventual passage? These are questions that have not yet been empirically studied. Nor is there currently an adequate theory on the legislative process with which to answer them. As such, the current work builds a more complete theory of the legislative process—specifically as related to criminal justice issues—and tests it with a longitudinal, qualitative case study of the Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct. The results have implications for not only this Commission and New York State, but for the rest of the country as it looks toward New York as a pioneer of criminal justice reform.