AJ 4 Lecture Notes - Lecture 17: Grand Jury, Nolle Prosequi, District Attorney

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Jeff Koo
AJ 4
Criminal Law
Fall 2018
4 Units
The Prosecutor
Prosecutor: an appointed or elected member of the practicing bar who is responsible for bringing
the state’s case against the accused. Share goal and burden of protecting the civil rights of the
criminal defendant while being fair and even-handed. Seeks justice and conviction of guilty
people. Prosecutor determines and ultimately shapes the manner in which justice Is exercised in
society.
Types of prosecutors
United states attorney: the nations principal litigators, appointed by the president. Assistant U.S.
attorneys are tasked with, among other duties, prosecuting criminal defendants in federal court.
Attorney general: the chief legal officer and prosecutor of each state and the U.S.
District attorney: the county prosecutor who is charged with bringing offenders to justice and
enforcing the criminal laws of the state.
The Prosecutor Within Society
Routinely criticized for bargaining justice away, for using their positions as a stepping-
stone to higher political office, and for failing to investigate. As a result prosecutors have
become extremely aggressive in particular crimes. Federal prosecutors have made
extraordinary progress in the war against insider trading and fraud.
Prosecutor often relies on law enforcement officers to provide and initiate the formal
complaint. The police investigation report is one of the most important documents in the
prosecutors file. Providing legal advice to officers and training police personnel in
securing warrants and making legal arrests.
Community prosecution: a prosecutorial philosophy that emphasized community support and
cooperation with other agencies in preventing crime, as well as a less centralized and more
proactive role for local prosecutors.
Prosecutorial Discretion
Prosecutorial discretion: the prosecutor’s authority to decide whether to bring a case to trial or to
dismiss it outright.
Nolle Prosequi: the decision by a prosecutor to drop a case after a complaint has been made
because of insufficient evidence, witness reluctance to testify, police error, or office policy.
Grand jury: a group of citizens chosen to hear charges against person accused of crime and to
determine whether there is sufficient evidence to bring those persons to trial.
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