Role, Functions, And Duties Of The Prosecutor & How To Succeed

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Office of the District AttorneyStone Mountain Judicial DistrictRole, Functions, and Dutiesof the Prosecutor &How to Succeed2021 Fundamentals of ProsecutionGeorgia Public Safety Training CenterForsyth, GeorgiaPresented by:The Honorable Sherry BostonDistrict Attorney

OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY Elected in November 2016;Assumed Office in January 2017;Former DeKalb County Solicitor-General;Staff of 215 employees, including attorneys,investigators, advocates, and support staff;Prosecutes Felony Offenses;Fourteen (14) Specialized Units;Superior and Juvenile Courts of DeKalb County;Ten (10) Divisions of Superior Court;Five (5) Divisions of Juvenile Court.

SPECIALIZED UNITS Appellate/Complex LitigationAnti-Corruption (ACU)Child SupportRecovery/UIFSACrime Strategies &Community Partnerships(CS/CPU)Diversion & CommunityAlternatives Programs(DCAP)Domestic Violence/SexualAssault (DV/SA)Elder Abuse & ExploitationGrand Jury High Intensity DrugTrafficking Area(HIDTA)Juvenile DivisionMagistrate CourtMajor CrimesAgainst Children(SECAC)Trial Division

Mission and Vision

THE PROSECUTORIn this class, we will discuss What is your role as the prosecutor? What special responsibilities, if any,come with being a prosecutor? Why is the role of the prosecutormore than just a job? Top 10 Rules for Success


THE PROSECUTOR“It behoves him - Neither to indict, noron trial to speak for conviction exceptupon credible evidence of guilt; nor to doeven a little wrong for the sake ofexpediency, or to pique any person orplease any power; not to be either gullibleor suspicious, intolerant or over-pliant:in the firm and abiding mind to do rightto all manner of people, to seek justicewith care, understanding and goodcountenance.”22(perR R Kidston QC, former Senior Crown Prosecutor of New South Wales, in "The Office of CrownProsecutor (More Particularly in New South Wales)" (1958) 32 ALJ 148.)

The Function of the ProsecutorIn August 2017, the ABA adoptedthe Criminal Justice Standardsfor the Prosecution Function.

ABA Standard 3-1.2The Function of the Prosecutor (a) The prosecutor is an administrator of justice, azealous advocate, and an officer of the court. Theprosecutor’s office should exercise sound discretion andindependent judgment in the performance of theprosecution function.(b) The primary duty of the prosecutor is to seekjustice within the bounds of the law, not merely to convict.The prosecutor serves the public interest and shouldact with integrity and balanced judgment to increasepublic safety both by pursuing appropriate criminal chargesof appropriate severity, and by exercising discretion tonot pursue criminal charges in appropriatecircumstances. The prosecutor should seek to protect theinnocent and convict the guilty, consider the interests ofvictims and witnesses, and respect the constitutionaland legal rights of all persons, including suspects anddefendants.

ABA Standard 3-1.2The Function of the Prosecutor (e) The prosecutor should be knowledgeable about,consider, and where appropriate develop or assist indeveloping alternatives to prosecution or conviction thatmay be applicable in individual cases or classes of cases.The prosecutor’s office should be available to assistcommunity efforts addressing problems that lead to, orresult from, criminal activity or perceived flaws in thecriminal justice system.(f) The prosecutor is not merely a case-processor but also aproblem-solver responsible for considering broad goals ofthe criminal justice system. The prosecutor should seek toreform and improve the administration of criminal justice, andwhen inadequacies or injustices in the substantive orprocedural law come to the prosecutor's attention, theprosecutor should stimulate and support efforts forremedial action. The prosecutor should provide service tothe community, including involvement in public service and Baractivities, public education, community service activities, and Barleadership positions. A prosecutorial office should support suchactivities, and the office’s budget should include funding and paidrelease time for such activities.

ABA Standard 3-1.6Improper Bias ProhibitedThe Function of the Prosecutor (a) The prosecutor should not manifest or exercise, by words orconduct, bias or prejudice based upon race, sex, religion, nationalorigin, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, orsocioeconomic status. A prosecutor should not use other improperconsiderations, such as partisan or political or personalconsiderations, in exercising prosecutorial discretion. A prosecutorshould strive to eliminate implicit biases, and act to mitigate anyimproper bias or prejudice when credibly informed that it existswithin the scope of the prosecutor’s authority.(b) A prosecutor’s office should be proactive in efforts todetect, investigate, and eliminate improper biases, withparticular attention to historically persistent biases likerace, in all of its work. A prosecutor’s office shouldregularly assess the potential for biased or unfairlydisparate impacts of its policies on communities within theprosecutor’s jurisdiction, and eliminate those impacts thatcannot be properly justified.

ABA Standard 3-8.1Duty to Defend Conviction Not AbsoluteThe Function of the Prosecutor The prosecutor has a duty to defend convictionsobtained after a fair process. This duty is notabsolute, however, and the prosecutor shouldtemper the duty to defend with independentprofessional judgement and discretion.Theprosecutor should not defend a conviction if theprosecutor believes the defendant is innocent orwas wrongfully convicted, or that a miscarriageof justice associated with the conviction hasoccurred.

THE PROSECUTORIn the 1967 United States Supreme Court caseUnited States v. Wade, 388 U.S. 218, JusticeWhite defined the role of the prosecutor:“Law enforcement officers have the obligationto convict the guilty and to make sure they donot convict the innocent.They must bededicated to making the criminal trials aprocedure for the ascertainment of the truefacts surrounding the commission of the crime.To this extent, our so-called adversary systemis not adversary at all; nor should it be. TheState has the obligation to present theevidence.”

THE PROSECUTORA prosecutor has the responsibility of aminister of justice and not simply that ofan advocate.

THE PROSECUTORMINISTER OF JUSTICEA minister is an officer of justice;and justice is a concept of moralrightnessbasedonethics,rationality, law, natural law, orequity. It is also the act of beingjust and/or fair.

THE PROSECUTORThe prosecutor's role: Is to assist the court to arrive atthe truth; Is to do justice between thecommunity and the accused; Is to act according to the law andthe dictates of fairness; and Excludes any notion of winningor losing.

THE PROSEUCTOR Represents the community andnot any individual or sectionalinterest;Acts independently, but in thegeneral interest of the public;Must exercise sound discretionin the performance of his or herfunctions.

THE PROSECUTORIs NOT to: Secure guilty verdicts; Convict and send as many people aspossible to prison; or Decide the innocence or guilt of theaccused.

THE PROSECUTORMust present credible evidence tothe jury. Evidence that the Stateconsiders to be relevant as it relatesthe crime alleged; Has a duty to present all availableevidence; Must be fair; and Mustensure that the accusedreceives a fair and impartial trial.


THE PROSECUTORThe chief justice and presiding justice of the SupremeCourt of Georgia Thursday called on the state attorneygeneral to consider dropping a fight against a murderconvict seeking a new trial based on new DNA evidence.The case of Devonia Tyrone Inman “is the one thatcauses me the most concern that an innocent personremains convicted and sentenced to serve the rest of hislife in prison,” wrote Presiding Justice David Nahmias,referring to more than 1,500 murder cases he hasreviewed in 10 years on the court.

THE PROSECUTORHe was concurring with the court’s decision toallow Inman’s habeas corpus challenge to moveforward.“The Attorney General should decide whether itis really in the interest of justice for the State ofGeorgia to continue fighting to block discoveryregarding Inman’s claims and assertingprocedural defenses to prevent a hearing on themerits of those claims,” Nahmias added.“Let justice be done,” Nahmias concluded.

THE PROSECUTORBoth Melton and Nahmias highlighted thelimits of the court’s role, with Nahmias writingthat judges “are often obligated to enforceprocedural rules” while prosecutors “mayalways exercise their discretion to seek justice—to do the right thing.”

SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITIESOF THE PROSECUTORState Bar Rule 3.8a)b)c)refrain from prosecuting a charge that theprosecutor knows is not supported byprobable cause;refrain from making any effort to preventthe accused from exercising a reasonableeffort to obtain counsel;Reserved.

SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITIESOF THE PROSECUTORd)e)make timely disclosure to the defense ofall evidence or information known to theprosecutor that tends to negate the guilt ofthe accused or that mitigates the offense.exercise reasonable care to preventpersons who are under the directsupervision of the prosecutor from makingan extrajudicial statement that theprosecutor would be prohibited frommaking under subsection (g) of this rule;

SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITIESOF THE PROSECUTORf)not subpoena a lawyer in a grand jury or other criminalproceeding to present evidence about a past or present clientunless the prosecutor reasonably believes:1.2.3.g)the information sought is not protected from disclosure byany applicable privilege;the evidence sought is essential to the successful completionof an ongoing investigation or prosecution; andthere is no other feasible alternative to obtain theinformation; andexcept for statements that are necessary to inform the public ofthe nature and extent of the prosecutor's action and that serve alegitimate law enforcement purpose, refrain from makingextrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood ofheightening public condemnation of the accused.


THE PROSECUTORPROSECUTOR’S ROLETraditional Role Reactive toCrime Isolated fromCommunity Very LittleCommunication Mistrust ofCriminal JusticeSystem Smart and JustProsecutionProactivelyAddress CrimeCommunityPartnerOpenCommunicationInstill Trust inthe CriminalJustice System

THE PROSECUTORGives a voice to the voiceless; Is a leader in the community; Advocates for justice; Promotes fairness; Stands as the moral compass ofsociety; and Always seeks the truth.

THE PROSECUTORThere are special obligations thatattach to the calling and theresponsibility of a prosecutor; It is a specialized and demanding role; It is a role that is not easilyassimilated by all legal practitionersschooled in an adversarialenvironment; and It is essential that it be carried outwith the confidence of the communityin whose name it is performed.

TOP Ten Rules for Success1.Be ethical6.Find balance2.Be prepared7.Become a resource3.Know your case8.Practice what you preach4.Dress professionally9.Do the right thing5.Build relationships10. Enjoythe ride!

THE PROSECUTORBIBLIOGRAPHY R. R. Kidston QC, former Senior Crown Prosecutor of NewSouth Wales, in "The Office of Crown Prosecutor (MoreParticularly in New South Wales)" (1958) 32 ALJ 148).Copyright 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T.Hill."” STANDS4 LLC, 2012. Web.The Criminal Justice Standards for the ProsecutionFunction, 4th ed., 2018 American Bar Association.

CONTACT INFORMATIONOffice of the DeKalb County District AttorneyStone Mountain Judicial District556 N. McDonough StreetSuite 700Decatur, GA 30030Phone - 404.371.2561Email - dekalbda@dekalbcountyga.govWebsite – www.dekalda.orgFollow Us at:Sherry Boston DeKalb County District Attorney@SherryBostonDASherryBostonDA

prosecutor's office should exercise sound discretion and independent judgment in the performance of the prosecution function. (b) The primary duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice within the bounds of the law, not merely to convict. The prosecutor serves the public interest and should act with integrity and balanced judgment to increase

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