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About the Roundtable

On Friday, November 19, 2010 The University of Texas School of Law, in cooperation with the American Bar Association's Criminal Justice Section, will host a one-day roundtable addressing the Criminal Justice Sectionís current project of revising its Standards concerning the Prosecution and Defense Functions. Invited participants, consisting of respected prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges from across the State of Texas, and academics in the fields of criminal justice and professional responsibility, will engage in a series of moderated discussions on whether the proposed revisions provide adequate and appropriate guidance to prosecutors and defense lawyers, focusing on ethical issues surrounding case loads, conflicts of interest, and prosecutor discretion in initiating and maintaining criminal charges. The dayís proceedings will be reported and circulated to the Standards Revision Task Force to provide concrete guidance from criminal justice stakeholders in the Standards revision process.

The Prosecution and Defense Functions Standards are just two of the Criminal Justice Sectionís Standards documents, which set forth aspirational goals for a variety of arenas of the criminal justice system, including Criminal Appeals, Discovery, DNA Evidence, the Legal Status of Prisoners, Mental Health, and Speedy Trial. The Standards in general, and the Prosecution and Defense Functions Standards in particular, have been widely influential since their initial promulgation in 1974, when Chief Justice Warren Burger hailed the Standards project as "the single most comprehensive and probably the most monumental undertaking in the field of criminal justice ever attempted by the American legal profession in our national history." Hundreds of Supreme Court and lower court opinions have cited the Standards as persuasive authority, legislatures have looked to the Standards in enacting state codes of criminal procedure and other criminal justice reforms, courts have adopted the Standards in their local rules, and prosecutor and defense offices have incorporated the Standards into local office policies.

The current revision process will culminate in the publication of the third edition of the Prosecution and Defense Functions Standards, which were last revised in 1992 and 1991, respectively. The University of Texas School of Law is honored to play a small part in that important endeavor by hosting this series of conversations among the leading players in Texas criminal justice.

For further information about the ABA Criminal Justice Sectionís Standards and the current project of revising the Prosecution and Defense Functions Standards, see: