A prosecutor attorney serves as a chief legal representative of the government by conducting court proceedings. This signifies that a prosecutor attorney works for the government on various levels like federal, state or local. The primary task of a prosecuting attorney is to represent the interests of public safety while also working in conjunction with the law enforcement agencies in ensuring accused persons are brought to justice.
As with the case of other attorneys, a prosecuting attorney must obtain a bachelors degree in law or pre-law, complete law school and also pass the bar exam. In most instances, majority of pre-law students earn degrees in philosophy, English or political science. After completion of the undergraduate degree, a prospective prosecutor is required to attend a law school for three years in order to earn a Juris Doctor (J.D) degree (Reynolds). There is a lot of competition in joining law school and is based on Law School Admission Test scores (LSAT).
The test is used in measuring crucial qualities for law school on the basis of analytical together with logical-reasoning skills and comprehension as defined by the Law School Admission Council (Reynolds). During the first one and a half years in law school, students are equipped with core knowledge regarding the essential components of law that comprise of torts, civil procedure and contracts.
During the other half, students study on topics based on their specializations like corporate law or tax. It is also possible for prospective prosecuting attorneys to study criminal law in preparation for the career. Other than the high levels of education described, a prosecuting attorney as with the case of other practicing attorneys must have a license. A license is issued upon passing the written bar exam that a person is subjected to after completing law school. In the U.S, administration of the exam happens in every state.
Majority of states require prospecting attorneys to pass the Multistate Bar Examination with some states further requiring the attorneys to pass ethic exams together with other state-specific tests (Davis 94). It is equally important noting that a prosecuting attorney must portray and possess high levels of confidence in courtrooms. It is for this reason that trial experience proves beneficial. One must equally possess a deep understanding of the societys needs as well as the motivations that drive the law breakers.
Since successful prosecution has the possibility of leading a suspects loss of rights, a prosecuting attorney at all times is required to use discretion and seek justice. The career further calls on an individual to possess a sense of civic duty as well as fairness while at the same time portray and demonstrate strong analytical skills. Although there are specific roles of prosecuting attorneys, it is important noting that the jobs and duties may differ depending on the size of the municipality that one serves.
For instance, in large offices, it is possible for a prosecuting attorney to be assigned some specific areas of the law like juvenile offenses or something like traffic violations. On the other hand, in a smaller office, a prosecuting office may take responsibility of all criminal prosecution aspects. Upon acquiring a job as a prosecuting attorney, it is imperative to realize that seniority is critical. As such, it is an indication that a new prosecutor attorney may encounter tough cases at the initial stages. Such challenges may be experienced while working in case that the government has no expectations of winning or in cases that are not allocated adequate resources.
It is however such challenges that are critical in lifting the profile of a prosecutor attorney if one push through the tough cases. According to Criminal Justice Programs, this helps in building confidence necessary in taking on more high-profile cases in future. Preparation and effective planning is critical in the career of a prosecutor as one must allocate adequate time for preparing cases and also for presenting the cases in court.
Based on the amount of resources allocated to different cases, a prosecuting attorney may spend several days or months in preparation of a case before it is taken for hearing before a jury. Charging suspects serves as one of the many roles of a prosecuting attorney and is achieved through collection of evidence and making a decision of filing or not to file charges against the suspect (Davis 117). Upon making the determination, the prosecutor files formal paperwork for charging the suspect with a certain crime or crimes.
These specific charges for filing are determined entirely by the prosecuting attorney. For example, in a situation where there is death of a person, upon collecting evidence, the prosecutor makes a decision of whether to file charges for first degree murder, second degree murder or manslaughter. For every charge, specific evidence must be gathered as it helps in guiding the determination of the respective penalties that differ significantly thus making it necessary for the prosecutor to select the correct charge for each crime. The next role of the prosecuting attorney refers to research and preparation that happens as the charges are filed (Davis 119). This happens because the prosecutor is tasked with a responsibility of convincing a judge or a jury that a suspect is guilt and it only happens through presentation of adequate evidence and testimony.
In this process, a prosecutor interviews various persons that comprise of witnesses, law enforcement officers as well as experts. A review of police files and any other source that may possess evidence like videos taken from the crime scene is examined in the state of research and preparation. A study of past cases and reviewing applicable statutes equally takes place in ensuring that proceedings are done in adherence with the law. Presentation of plea bargain to the suspect and his/her lawyer serves as another important role of the prosecuting attorney. Various reasons influence the decision to offer a plea bargain like in instances where the prosecutor may lack confident that the jury will vote in support of conviction with the plea ensuring that the suspect faces some punishment as opposed to nothing. Also, in instances where there are extenuating circumstances like in instances where the suspect is a minor and a first time offender, or where the suspect has a large number of current cases, a prosecutor may decide to offer a plea of bargain to the suspect so as to focus on cases that have more serious charges. The other role of a prosecuting attorney is working in court as the U.S constitution requires that conviction of a suspect of a crime only happens where the prosecutor proves guilt beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law) (Reynolds. Such proving is arrived at in the courtroom where the prosecutor questions prosecution witness and also cross examines the witnesses of the defendants.
The prosecutor further presents all available evidence to the jury that may comprise of photos, audio recordings, physical evidence and videos. A prosecutor may equally bring experts to court to testify so as to help the jury in understanding some of the evidence especially where it involves technical things. For example, in a situation where shooting took place, a prosecutor may request an expert to testify how he arrived at the finding that a bullet was shot from a specific direction. Lastly, once a criminal is convicted, it is the responsibility of the prosecutor to present a sentencing recommendation to the jury. In some instances, a prosecutor may present the victim or family members of the victim to speak to the jury so as to explain the impact of the crime.
Conclusively, a prosecutor attorney career is a demanding profession that requires potential candidates to attain high education standard in order to effectively execute their duties of protecting the interests of public safety and also work in conjunction with the law enforcement agencies to ensure that accused individuals are brought to justice. As a representative of the government, it is the role of a prosecuting officer to make sure that persons engaging in crime are brought to book by availing sufficient evidence in court. Deep research is thus required by a prosecuting attorney not only regarding the suspected individuals, but also on the general society as a whole.
Criminal Justice Programs. “Becoming a Prosecutor | School Search.”В Criminal Justice Programs | Find Criminal Justice Degrees,В 2017, www.criminaljusticeprograms.com/specialty/prosecutor/. Accessed 17В Sept.В 2017.
Davis, AngelaВ J. “Federal Prosecutors and the Power of the Attorney General.”В Arbitrary JusticeThe Power of the American Prosecutor,В 2009, pp.В 93-122.
Reynolds, Julie. “Cover Story: How to Become a Prosecutor.”В District of Columbia Bar,В Jan.В 2007, www.dcbar.org/bar-resources/publications/washington-lawyer/articles/january-2007-prosecutor.cfm. Accessed 17В Sept.В 2017.