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Deciding Whether A Case Should Be Prosecuted Or Not

1254 words - 6 pages

When a prosecutor is deciding whether a case should be prosecuted in the courts and charges should be filed against someone, prosecutors consider two important questions: Is it in the best interest of the public to proceed? And, is there a strong reasonable likelihood that there will be a conviction? If the answer to both are yes, then there is the task of deciding whether there is enough evidence to prosecute the case and whether the evidence is reliable and can it be used in court. This means carefully assessing the quality of the evidence from all related witnesses before reaching a final decision.
Grand jury indictments will be presented by the prosecutors only when and if a criminal case has not been diverted, downgraded, or dismissed. In order to compose a Grand jury citizens are selected from tax lists drivers license and voters registrations. In order to formally charge a person accused of a crime a prosecutor’s evidence is evaluated by a Grand jury to determine if that evidence is enough to support the prosecutor’s decision. Many states utilize grand jury’s to proceed with criminal and federal investigations, these investigations play an important role in the criminal process working hand in hand with prosecutors to decide on whether the evidence that has been presented is enough to charge or indict a person. “Grand juries are typically made up of 16 to 23 people and every felony case must be indicted by a grand jury unless waived by the accused. The purpose of the grand jury is not to determine guilt or innocence, but to decide whether there is probable cause to prosecute someone for a felony crime. The grand jury operates in secrecy and the normal rules of evidence do not apply. The prosecutor runs the proceedings and no judge is present. A prosecutor will present the evidence in a felony case, and if the grand jury finds probable cause, an indictment is returned. But, if there is a lack of probable cause, the case is dismissed” (www.uscourts.gov).
Defense attorneys or defendants have the right to appear before the grand jury, when a Grand jury convenes to review a case the defense attorney does not have the option to present evidence or be present during the proceeding, however he or she is allowed to speak with witnesses outside the courtroom. Grand jury personnel, prosecutors, and witness transcripts cannot be obtained or revealed. For many years, it was thought to be “smart” that most lawyers avoided grand jury appearances because it increased the chance of unnecessary legal risks, including the possibility of the use of grand jury testimony to discredit the defendant's account of events at trial. Contrary to this practice, the state of New York has made an exception. “Current practice in the state of New York is that defense lawyers are allowing many suspects ranging from police officers to the most hardened of street criminals to testify before grand juries, resulting in much notable success”...

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