Can a police officer advocate for the state or argue underlying law in a civil infraction with no prosecutor?

I recently came across this statement by an attorney and was wondering its origins in case law rules or proceedings. here it is in full context and is it true?

Can a Judge act as a judge and prosecutor for the same case? Does anyone know if Florida has judicial notice on laser/lidar?

I ask because in the state of Florida traffic tickets are treated as civil infractions. I have been told there will not be a prosecutor at my hearing. Does this mean the judge or hearing officer will be acting as judge and prosecutor? If it does is this against my 14th amendment right to due process. Would this also mean if the hearing officer is acting as judge and police officer is a witness, then no-one can enter evidence against me? If so is this cause for a dismissal? Just asking because these are things I have read and wonder about the validity of the statements.

James B Countess Posted on Aug 2, 2011

This question is well beyond a general discussion of applied law -- if you are thinking on this level you are going to love law school.

Most traffic tickets are civil infractions, but it can be a criminal infraction in some circumstances.

In civil infractions, the police officer is more akin to a plaintiff than a prosecutor. The officer files the complaint via the citation and has the responsibility to establish a factual basis via testimony or evidence that you committed the infraction. The officer should not be advocating for the state, or arguing the underlying law, but merely providing the relevant facts for the trier of fact (Hearing Officer) to weigh and determine if the allegation has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

2 Answers 2


The distraction is the idea that a judge acts as a prosecutor, which is a wrong view of the matter. A judge may serve as the determiner of fact and the arbiter of law. A prosecutor does neither: he presents certain evidence that may persuade the fact-determiner of something, and he has a limited opportunity to argue what the evidence shows. In lieu of a prosecutor, a police officer can do some of this – he can say what he has observed, or the prosecutor can ask questions that generate the same information. But the police officer does not set a crack at opening or closing arguments. The judges role in this context is impartial, whereas the prosecutor's rule is in favor of a particular conclusion.


After reading rules of procedure and lots research it seem that the prosecutor the police officer in this case can only argue based off facts and evidence not argue law or advocate.

see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6nokdU0-2g&feature=youtu.be&t=2239

see: In United States v. Fearns, 501 F.2d 486, 489 (7th Cir. 1974), this court stated that "the fundamental rule, known to every lawyer," is that "argument is limited to the facts in evidence."

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