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58 Alb. L. Rev. 175 (1994-1995)
Model of Discretion: New York's Interests of Justice Dismissal Statute

handle is hein.journals/albany58 and id is 185 raw text is: LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS
A MODEL OF DISCRETION: NEW YORK'S
INTERESTS OF JUSTICE DISMISSAL STATUTE
John F. Wirenius*
INTRODUCTION
Let justice be done though the heavens fall,' cried out William
Watson in 1602, and the echoes of that cry can be heard to this day.
The ancient cry for justice contains two separate thoughts: first that
justice is worth achieving whatever the cost, and second, that the
price may very well be high. The quest for justice has been a center
of philosophical debate from Plato, who defined justice as the per-
formance by each individual of that individual's proper function in
society,2 to John Rawls, whose definition is considerably more com-
plex.3 Authors as diverse as Robertson Davies and John Mortimer
have described the passion for justice as heroic, prompting the latter
to describe courage as something you can't do without, not if you
concern yourself with justice.4
The purpose of the criminal justice system is, obviously, to do jus-
tice in criminal cases. This truism underlies all of the statutory
* Associate, Solovay & Edlin, P.C., New York, New York. B.A., Fordham University, 1987;
J.D., Columbia University School of Law, 1990. The author would like to thank Denise
Fonalledas, Harold Ferguson, Joel B. Atlas, and Michael Fois for their comments and helpful
suggestions regarding this Article, and would also like to thank Karen M. Wirenius, to whom
this Article is dedicated.
1 THE OXFORD DICTIONARY OF QUOrATIONS 722 (Angela Partington ed., 4th ed. 1992) (in
point of fact, Watson wrote in Latin Fiat justitia et ruant coeli). The remarkably similar
saying Fiat justitia et pereat mundus (let justice be done though the world perish) is
attributed to Emperor Ferdinand I by Johannes Manilius. Id. at 281. In fact, the motto of the
Legal Aid Society of New York City is fiat justitia.'
2 1 PLATO, THE REPUBLIC 367-77 (G.P. Goold ed.'& Paul Shorey trans., 1982).
3 JOHN RAwLS, A THEORY OF JUSTICE 11 (1971) ([Plrinciples ofjustice ... are the principles
that free and rational persons concerned to further their own interests would accept in an
initial position of equality as defining the fundamental terms of their association.). As the
remainder of Rawls's long work sets out the meaning and ramifications of the quoted sentence,
the complexity of Rawls's definition becomes evident.
.4 JOHN MORTIMER, RumPoLE AND THE AGE OF MIRACLES 148 (1988); see also ROBERTSON
DAVIES, THE MANTICORE 250-51 (1972) (describing the struggle to lend just representation to
every accused person as heroic). Davies's fictional protagonist, an attorney, presents his own
definition ofjustice: the constant and perpetual wish to render to everyone his due. Id. at 62.

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