prosecutor

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A government lawyer who initiates prosecution of criminal offenses, and presents the case for prosecution in a criminal proceeding. The official name for the position of state prosecutors is district attorney. For example, California Government Code § 26500 provides that “[t]he district attorney is the public prosecutor, except as otherwise provided by law [and] [t]he public prosecutor shall attend the courts, and within his or her discretion shall initiate and conduct on behalf of the people all prosecutions for public offenses.” At the federal level, the office of U.S. Attorney may serve as the prosecutor for federal crimes. The Office of the U.S. Attorneys describes U.S. Attorneys as the “chief federal law enforcement officers in their district.”

[Last updated in November of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]