District attorney

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A district attorney is the public prosecuting officer within a defined district in the legal system of the United States.

In some states, such a person is called county or state’s attorney or county solicitor. The office of district attorney is of great importance in the administration of the criminal law, including the investigation of charges of crime, the gathering of evidence against alleged criminals, the submission of criminal charges to the grand jury, and the drawing of indictments, as well as the supervision of the several stages of the criminal prosecution through the actual trial.

Jurisdiction over crimes is divided in the U.S. between federal and state courts; thus, the federal government has one set of district attorneys, and each state has an entirely different set. The former, appointed by the president, are deputies of the attorney general of the U.S., to whom they are required to make report of their official acts. They are appointed for the several judicial districts into which the U.S. is divided and are charged with prosecuting offenses against the federal government, as well as with conducting government civil actions.

In most states, a district attorney is elected in each county. District attorneys discharge their most important duties in prosecuting criminals in the state courts, but they also serve as the prosecuting officers in the county court of the county in which they were elected.[1]


  1. http://www.history.com/encyclopedia.do?articleId=207674