3Of the many duties and responsibilities of the prosecutor, the charging power is the most important and is the essence of her control over the entire system. Prosecutors decide whether to charge an individual with a criminal offense, and what the charge should be.
The most important factor in deciding whether to prosecute is: if there is sufficient evidence for conviction.
After charges are filed, prosecutors and sometimes courts may dismiss such charges for some of the same reasons that charges are dropped before being filed. Evidence may be poor, witnesses may be unavailable or illegal tactics may have been used to gather evidence or make arrests.
Beyond a reasonable doubt is the legal burden of proof required to affirm a conviction in a criminal case. In a criminal case, the prosecution bears the burden of proving that the defendant is guilty beyond all reasonable doubt.
First and foremost, the most important job of your criminal defense attorney is to fight for you and defend you in the court of law. According to the American Bar Association, the primary responsibility of a criminal defense attorney is to advocate for their clients and defend their rights.
Political ambition. Political ambition may also influence prosecutors. Most prosecutors are elected officials, and many of them view their position as a stepping stone to higher office. Public opinion and important support groups often affect their decisions on charges.
There are several ways for criminal defendants to convince a prosecutor to drop their charges. They can present exculpatory evidence, complete a pretrial diversion program, agree to testify against another defendant, take a plea deal, or show that their rights were violated by the police.
What Does the Term “Exculpatory Evidence” Mean in a California Criminal Defense Case? Exculpatory evidence includes any evidence that may prove a defendant’s innocence. Examples of exculpatory evidence include an alibi, such as witness testimony that a defendant was somewhere else when the crime occurred.
One reason that a prosecutor may decide not to file charges against a defendant is a lack of evidence. … Prosecutorial discretion also allows prosecutors not to file charges, to drop charges or to offer a plea deal when the circumstances surrounding the “crime” warrant it.
Understanding Reasonable Doubt
Under U.S. law, a defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty. If the judge or jury has a reasonable doubt about the defendant’s guilt, the defendant cannot be convicted. Simply put, reasonable doubt is the highest standard of proof used in any court of law.
Proof beyond a reasonable doubt refers to the standard of proof in criminal prosecutions. The prosecutor has the duty to convince the jury by proof beyond a reasonable doubt of each and every element of the crime before a jury should convict a defendant.
For example, in criminal cases, the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt is on the prosecution, and they must establish that fact beyond a reasonable doubt. In civil cases, the plaintiff has the burden of proving his case by a preponderance of the evidence.
What are the three elements that must be shown to establish improper, discriminatory prosecution? The three elements are: 1) other people similarly situated were not prosecuted; 2) the prosecutor intentionally singled out the defendant; 3) the selection was based upon an arbitrary classification.
A prosecutor may choose not to pursue a criminal case for several reasons. Political pressure. … Because the role of top prosecutor is an elected position in many jurisdictions, prosecutors may face political pressure to prosecute or refrain from prosecuting a person suspected of committing a crime. Limited resources.
A judge determines the amount of bail based on factors like the severity of the alleged offense, the likelihood that the defendant will commit additional crimes after being released, and the chances that the defendant will flee the jurisdiction before trial.
Abstract. Prosecutors are the most powerful officials in the American criminal justice system. The decisions they make, particularly the charging and plea-bargaining decisions, control the operation of the system and often predetermine the outcome of criminal cases.
Results of the study reflect that prosecutors used the strength of evidence as the primary factor in their decision making process balanced by other factors such as the seriousness of the crime, the defendant’s prior criminal history, fairness to the victim and defendant as well as contextual factors such as office …
The most common reason why criminal charges may be dropped is a lack of proof. The prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. … This does not mean you are free for good; a prosecutor may drop with the intent of filing again later, after they have collected more evidence.
To be convicted of any crime, the prosecution must prove each and every element of the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt. Our law presumes that a criminal defendant is innocent of a crime.
Dropped and dismissed criminal charges are similar in that the case does not go to trial and the defendant does not face penalties for the alleged offense. However, a charge being dropped is very different from a case being dismissed. … Both the prosecutor and the court can choose to dismiss your case.
Giglio v. … Maryland that due process is violated when the prosecution “withholds evidence on demand of an accused which, if made available, would tend to exculpate him or reduce the penalty.” In Giglio, the Court went further and held that all impeachment evidence falls under the Brady holding.
Presumptive evidence refers to evidence which shows the existence of one fact by proof of the existence of others from which the first may be inferred. … Such evidence is not conclusive but subject to rebuttal or explanation. It is also called indirect or circumstantial evidence.
The Brady Rule, named after Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), requires prosecutors to disclose materially exculpatory evidence in the government’s possession to the defense. … Bagley, 473 U.S. 667 (1985). The defendant bears the burden to prove that the undisclosed evidence was both material and favorable.
Based on information in the reports and the information from witnesses, the prosecutor determines the facts of the case. … Further, the prosecutor is required to provide the defense with evidence that may hurt his case, called exculpatory evidence. This evidence could show the defendant’s innocence.
It allows prosecutors to choose justice even where it may conflict with the letter of the law. General policies favoring alternatives to prosecution extend the benefits of this discretion universally in those cases where the consequences of a conviction are counterproductive to the aims of justice.
Jurisdiction is important because it limits the power of a court to hear certain cases. If courts did not exercise appropriate jurisdiction, every court could conceivably hear every case brought to them, which would lead to confusing and contradictory results.
To better understand beyond a reasonable doubt, it helps to look at two other standards that courts may apply: a preponderance of the evidence, and clear and convincing evidence.
The burden of proof in criminal matters is significantly higher than in civil matters because of the potential for a finding of guilty to result in complete deprivation on one’s freedom in the form of a sentence of imprisonment.
These three burdens of proof are: the reasonable doubt standard, probable cause and reasonable suspicion. This post describes each burden and identifies when they are required during the criminal justice process.
Whereas, in a civil trial, a party may prevail with as little as 51 percent probability (a preponderance), those legal authorities who venture to assign a numerical value to “beyond a reasonable doubt” place it in the certainty range of 98 or 99 percent.