What is a Prosecutor?

In New York, a prosecutor is a attorney, such as a district attorney, who starts legal proceedings to enforce criminal laws against an accused individual or organization in criminal or supreme court with the goal of securing a conviction, restitution, and/or other criminal penalties.

A prosecutor is or can bethought of as...

  • An attorney, licensed in New York
  • A plaintiff
  • A District Attorney (title of an official elected to prosecute)
  • An Assistant District Attorney
  • On the side of "justice"

A prosecutor is not

  • The judge
  • A defense lawyer / defense attorney / legal aid, etc
  • Primarily concerned with protecting the person who got arrested
  • Privately hired by the person or corporation who complained to the police

Under New York Criminal Procedure Law § 1.20: "Prosecutor" means a district attorney or any other public servant who represents the people in a criminal action. "District attorney" means a district attorney, an assistant district attorney, or a special district attorney, and, where appropriate, the attorney general, an assistant attorney general, a deputy attorney general or a special deputy attorney general.

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