The “selective prosecution” defense refers to a prosecutor who has a personal agenda against a defendant, and chooses to bring charges against that person individually although many others are perpetuating an identical crime.
This method of defense has worked in the past, but it is rarely successful these days because of the difficulties of proving the prosecutor’s motives and the ever-present permissible motive he has in performing his job well.
In order for the selective prosecution defense to be successful, a defense attorney must show two things:
- He must show that others who are committing similar crimes situated have not been prosecuted.
- The prosecution was based his actions on an impermissible motive, such as revenge or personal vendetta.
As we mentioned, proving the existence of such an impermissible motive is hard enough; proving that the prosecution was based on this motive is even tougher.