prosecutor | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee


Course: Introduction

A prosecutor is an attorney who conducts cases against criminal defendants in the name of the state.

A prosecutor is a legal professional who represents the interests of the state in criminal cases. They are responsible for investigating crimes, gathering evidence, and presenting that evidence in court in order to secure a conviction against the defendant. Prosecutors work on behalf of the government to enforce criminal laws and hold offenders accountable for their actions.

The role of a prosecutor is to serve justice and ensure that the guilty are punished for their crimes. This involves working closely with law enforcement agencies to gather evidence, interview witnesses, and build a strong case against the defendant. They also have the responsibility of protecting the rights of the accused and ensuring that they receive a fair trial.

One of the key duties of a prosecutor is to decide whether or not to file charges against a defendant. This decision is based on the evidence gathered during the investigation and an assessment of whether there is sufficient evidence to support a conviction. The prosecutor must also consider the severity of the crime, the defendant’s criminal history, and any mitigating factors that may affect the case.

Once charges have been filed, the prosecutor is responsible for presenting the case in court. This involves questioning witnesses, presenting evidence, and arguing the state’s case before a judge and jury. The prosecutor must also be prepared to respond to any objections or challenges made by the defense.

In addition to their work in the courtroom, prosecutors are also involved in plea bargaining and sentencing negotiations. In many cases, a plea bargain may be reached between the prosecutor and the defense, which involves the defendant agreeing to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a reduced sentence. Prosecutors also work with judges to determine an appropriate sentence for convicted defendants.

It is important to note that prosecutors are not solely concerned with securing convictions at any cost. They are also responsible for ensuring that justice is served, which may involve dismissing charges if there is insufficient evidence or if the defendant’s rights have been violated. Prosecutors are also required to disclose any exculpatory evidence that may be favorable to the defense, even if it undermines their own case.

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Last Modified: 06/24/2021


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