Designing the institutional and legal structure of prosecutorial power in the transition to democracy

Elizabeth M. Iglesias

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines the problem of designing prosecutorial structures from an institutional perspective. It argues that any prosecutorial structure will be fundamentally inadequate if it fails to include institutional arrangements that secure the accountability of prosecutorial discretion to the community of actual and potential victims. In making the case for prosecutorial charging discretion, some commentators have categorically rejected the appropriateness of any judicial review of prosecutorial decisions. The doctrine of selective prosecution operates in a similar manner; however, this doctrine derives from and is intended to enforce the requirements of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which prohibits discriminatory enforcement of the criminal laws. A state's power to investigate, prosecute, and convict criminals plays an important role in strengthening the rule of law to the extent it ensures that no individual, regardless of his or her economic, political, or social status has the power to violate the law with impunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTransition to Democracy in Latin America
Subtitle of host publicationThe Role of the Judiciary
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781000003048
ISBN (Print)0813384567, 9780367212087
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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