US Attorneys Mission Statement
US Attorneys serve as the nation’s leading litigators under the direction of the United States Attorney General. There are 93 United States Attorneys stationed throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. US Attorneys are appointed by and act at the discretion of the President of the United States, with the advice and consent of the United States Senate.
There is a United States Attorney assigned to each judicial district, with the exception of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, where there is only one United States Attorney for both districts. Each US Attorney is the chief federal law enforcement officer in their specific jurisdiction. Federal Prosecutors do most of the work in legal proceedings in which the United States is a party. United States Attorneys have three legal responsibilities under Title 28, Section 547 of the United States Code:
- be a prosecuting party in criminal cases brought by the federal government;
- the prosecution and defense of civil cases in which the United States is a party; and
- the collection of administratively bad debts with the federal government.
While the number of assigned cases varies by district, each has all categories of cases and handles a mix of simple and complex litigation. Each United States Attorney exercises broad judgment in the use of its resources to advance the priorities of local jurisdictions and meet the needs of their communities. What Is The Difference Between US Attorney And Attorney General?
Prosecutors in Spain and the US: similarities and differences in their profiles
The Ministry of Justice has announced the end of the work of the inter-institutional group, created in October 2021, for the finalization of the new reform of the Criminal Procedure Law (LECrim)
If this bill goes ahead, the LECrim would assign the Prosecutor’s Office a new role: control of the investigation
This figure, however, resembles and differs in some aspects from that of criminal proceedings in the United States.
US prosecutors have a federal scope (in all States) and have the obligation to initiate criminal proceedings against those subjects who, presumably, have committed misdemeanors or crimes. They also assist in criminal investigations and can agree with the parties to reduce the sentences of the convicted person.
The official name of this figure varies depending on the state. In Maryland they are called “State Attorneys”; in Kentucky and Virginia, “Commonwealth Attorneys”; in Georgia or in New York, “District Attorneys”. In other States, they directly call it “Prosecutors”.
Prosecutors may contact law enforcement officers, witnesses, and victims. They can order surveillance of suspects, and request search warrants for properties. Prosecutors do not represent the interests of either party and may, based on their consideration in any given case, present the case to the Grand Jury, made up of a group of 16 to 23 randomly selected citizens. that determines whether there are charges against a particular suspect.
In summary, the US Ministry of Justice cites the functions of the Prosecutor’s Office:
- Start or reject a case.
- Select the charges.
- Celebrate agreements for the completion of the procedures, or cooperation in them.
- Oppose the declarations of no contender (an act that allows the plaintiff to neither accept nor reject responsibility for the facts for which they are sued or charged, submitting to a judicial sentence as guilty).
- Processing of second instance appeals.
- Participate in the sentence.
With respect to this last task, the prosecutor, to a certain extent, influences the court at the moment in which the sentence is handed down since its decision must be circumscribed within the parameters set out in the brief initially presented by the prosecutor.
On the other hand, the prosecutor is relevant to the judge, since in the event of a crime involving several sentences, the first one recommends to the court which is the most appropriate.
Prosecutors also respond to petitions for habeas corpus by the plaintiff.
The Spanish Prosecutor
Prosecutors in Spain act under the principles of legality and impartiality and article 3 of Law 50/1981 of the Organic Statute of the Public Prosecutor assigns this figure 16 different functions, among which we highlight:
- Ensure that the jurisdictional function is exercised effectively.
- Exercising criminal and civil actions arising from crimes.
- Request the adoption of precautionary measures and procedures aimed at clarifying the facts.
- Ensure the procedural protection of victims and the protection of witnesses and experts.
- Intervene in civil proceedings determined by law.
The Spanish prosecutor differs, mainly, from the American prosecutor in that his indications in a procedure do not inexorably set the parameters in which the court must direct its sentence.
Both figures agree that they do not represent any of the parties and have the responsibility of strictly complying with the law and constitutional mandates. Like the prosecutor, the Spanish prosecutor can receive complaints, send them to the competent judicial authority, or archive them.
North American prosecutors have to meet strict ethical requirements, in accordance with the guidelines of the American Bar Association, so they cannot continue acting in a proceeding if it is certified that they have previously worked with one of the parties.
Another relevant difference is that, in the United States, where Anglo-Saxon law governs, the prosecution usually corresponds to individuals, while in Spain an official prosecution procedure is in force with the mandatory action of the Public Prosecutor, who assumes the exercise of the private accusation. The origin of this difference has a historical origin, according to the columnist for La Opinión de Málaga Antonio Alcalá:
“In the European continental system, to which Spain belongs, the exercise of the power to punish corresponded to the monarch in the absolutist State, and the constitutionalist movements from the end of the 18th century democratized it, attributing its control to the judicial power, therefore It’s a top-down process.”
While in the US system, “the phenomenon is produced directly from the people and is deeply influenced by the ideas that inspired the nascent republic, the thought of Benjamin Franklin, and the radical religious principles of Lutheran thought”, according to Alcala.