Trespass on the Court

Police officers who are not licensed attorneys should not be allowed to engage in the practice of law.

John R. Grasso, Esq.

Every day in Rhode Island, the state allows police officers to engage in the unlawful practice of law. The Supreme Court of the United States held in Herring v. New York that “the very premise of our adversary system of criminal justice is that partisan advocacy on both sides of a case will best promote the ultimate objective that the guilty will be convicted and innocent go free.” In other words, our system of criminal justice “functions best and most fairly only when all parties are represented by competent counsel.” “That premise is not fully realized when the government is not represented by a licensed attorney because the public is entitled to be properly represented in a criminal case.”

This article was published in abbreviated form as: John R. Grasso & Andrew Horwitz, Police Prosecution in Rhode Island: The Unauthorized Practice of Law, R.I. Bar J., May – Jun. 2006, at 5 – 9, 29 – 35.

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Trespass on the Court