A citizen of the USA has a number of individuals, cities, counties, states and the federal government after them for a wide variety of crimes with a wide variety of themes over a period of several years and with a wide variety in severity.

What are the considerations when deciding the particulars of trial-order and sentence-order, and how are they weighed? I'm guessing timing of charges being filed probably has a lot of weight, the location of defendant residence might be a factor in trial order/priority, and age/infirmity is probably a consideration for some defendants in even bringing some charges to trial, but what else?


2 Answers 2


The timing of charges being laid is a factor to take in to account, as is whether a charge is appropriate after taking in to account the suspect's circumstances described in the OP, but setting those aside - more often than not it's a negotiation between the various prosecuting agencies and the investigation teams' supervisors resulting with the more serious offences taking precedence.

The lesser offences are either dealt with at a later trial or left to "lie on file", meaning

there is enough evidence for a case to be made, but that it is not in the public interest for prosecution to proceed, usually because the defendant has acknowledged other, often more serious, charges. No admission to the charge is made by the defendant, and no verdict is recorded against them. Wikipedia

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    Answered in line with: we expect and encourage answers dealing with other jurisdictions ... please tag your answer using the tag markdown: [tag: some-tag]". From the Help centre
    – user35069
    Commented Sep 9, 2022 at 16:54

In the US I understand this is generally a matter of negciation among the various authorities wishing to prosecute the accused. Particularly serious crimes often go first, but the jurisdiction that has the asccused in custody can insist on going first, I think. Sometimes there is a tactical aspect: if one charge is thought particularly easy to get a conviction on, that case may be taken first so that the accused enters on other trials already a convict. If a key witness in one case is seriously ill and likely to die soon, that case might go first.

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