34

A lawsuit would be unsuccessful. Prosecutors have discretion to prioritize whichever offenses they think are most important, and they are generally immune from civil liability. This is a political grievance, and it comes with a political remedy; voters can recall the DA or vote for a new one when his term ends.


22

united-states Bob could do any number of things to try to convince someone to prosecute Alice: call the prosecutor's boss, or the district attorney (or their equivalents in DOJ if it's a federal crime), or his elected representatives; he could also go to the media, or post on social networks... But if none of that works, the article is right: Prosecutors can'...


19

In some jurisdictions, California probably being the most well-known in the US, there are Anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) statutes, which allow a defendant to file an anti-SLAPP claim (for sake of clarity I'm going to keep calling that person the "defendant") when the plaintiff's suit appears to have been filed for the purpose of ...


15

Not all illegal things are crimes. Lack of evidence. They are asked to testify, and they say "what I said in my book was a lie". There is no general law against lying, except when under oath. Statute of limitations. Saying "10 years ago I did smoke drugs" means that any offence is no longer prosecutable. Lack of details. Which jurisdiction were they in? When ...


10

I have encountered this problem in Pennsylvania. The PA Code requires a District Attorney to approve all private criminal complaints. If the DA declines to prosecute, then an affiant can petition the Court of Common Pleas to review the decision. However the affiant bears the burden of convincing the court that the DA abused his descretion in declining to ...


10

The other answers are all generally correct. I'll add just a few additional points. But suppose Alice is a billionaire and she bribes the local prosecutor to not prosecute. What happens next? Presumably, if Bob can show the prosecutor was bribed he can make a new accusation against the prosecutor, but what if the bribe was clandestine? Presumably the ...


10

Almost every crime has a civil counterpart for the victim to sue for a judgement, and certainly any private property or personal violence related crime does. Victims of crimes can sue the perpetrator on their own if they have the resources to do so. As a practical reality, suing a homeless person to get back damages is a waste of money since the defendant ...


9

Not only is it legal for the DA to decide which cases his office will prosecute, that is his primary function. The job of a DA is to decide if, when, and how cases will be prosecuted.


8

TL;DNR: YES! A "motion to dismiss" a suit asks the Court do exactly what you say. It asks the Court to dismiss the suit as legally invalid, even if the facts alleged in the suit are correct. A motion to dismiss is usually filed in response to the initial complaint. A defendant can ask for dismissal on a variety of grounds. These range from, "this court ...


7

As @feetwet points out, there are a few jurisdictions (New Hampshire and Pennsylvania are the only two I'm aware of) where a private citizen may initiate a criminal prosecution. However, these are limited and rarely used procedures, and are not available in most jurisdictions. If someone has committed a crime, and in so doing has caused you a legally ...


7

Police have discretion whether to arrest and prosecute or not. In exercising this discretion they may take into account whether victim is identified and what he/she says, but there are no legally enforceable rules around it. Discretion is discretionary after all. Other factors that may influence the police's decision whether to arrest notwithstanding whether ...


7

Prosecutorial discretion is a thing, however, Bob still has some recourses. In the U.S. the Prosectors are typically elected at the state and local level, and where they are not, they are appointed by elected officials. So if Bob is civic minded, he might spend some time campaigning for political rivals (either primary challengers OR general election ...


6

In many countries, an individual has the right to raise a private prosecution if the public prosecutor decides not to pursue a case. This is generally expensive, as with all things legal. The reason for public prosecutors after all is to prevent justice being limited to the rich and denied to the poor. So there's a pretty high barrier to this - and since the ...


5

Mr. Comey answered this in his testimony. LANKFORD: Okay. Fair enough. If the president wanted to stop an investigation, how would he do that? Knowing it is an ongoing criminal investigation or counterintelligence investigation, would that be a matter of going to you, you perceive, and say, you make it stop because he doesn't have the authority to stop it? ...


5

In the United States, jeopardy attaches to a criminal trial when a jury is empanelled, the first witness is sworn in or guilty plea is accepted. Before that point the prosecution can dismiss the case without prejudice, allowing for charges to be brought again. After that point the prosecution can only dismiss the case with prejudice, effectively resulting ...


5

The short answer is "yes". There is U.S. Supreme Court authority that supports this position, In particular, United States v. Laub, 385 U.S. 475 (1967), Cox v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 599 (1965), and Raley v. Ohio, 360 U.S. 423 (1959), stand for the proposition that a defendant may not be punished for actions taken in good faith reliance upon ...


5

The question reads: I gather from the answer to the linked question that what happens in principle is that the police would investigate, and the local prosecutor would file charges against Alice. This is not correct even in principle. At least in the united-states, the local prosecutor might or might not file charges. Reasons why a case might not be ...


5

In united-states this varies significantly by state, but I am at least familiar with provisions in pennsylvania law for judicial review of refusals to file criminal charges. Pennsylvania Rule 506 allows anyone to file a private criminal complaint, and requires a state attorney to timely either approve it for prosecution or to explain the reason for not ...


4

On the contrary, it is unethical for a prosecutor to bring a case where there is no reasonable prospect of conviction. The prosecutor is an officer of the court and as a representative of the state, their primary concern is the guilty are convicted and the not guilty are not.


4

Once a case has been commenced, you can definitely lose, or you can probably lose. If you decline to proceed, you definitely lose. If you proceed, the jury (or judge as the case might be), might find some witnesses more believable than others and might find that the forensic evidence is not as convincing as it seems. Empirical evidence suggests that ...


4

There is no requirement to interview the victim and/or the suspect prior to filing charges. Often statements are taken from the parties involved/witnesses by police and presented to the District Attorney's office as evidence. However charges can be filed without either party being interviewed, especially by the DA. This can often be the case in things like ...


4

Are there any legal constraints on the number of times that a defendant can be retried following mistrials due to hung juries? No. A fairly recent case in Louisiana, for example, involved someone who had been tried perhaps half a dozen times resulting in a mix of hung juries and reversals of convictions on appeal. Or is the only practical constraint the ...


4

Overcharging does confer an advantage on the prosecution, specifically, it enhances the prosecutor's position in plea bargaining, allowing the prosecutor to "compromise" while still getting the actual conviction sought. There is also a more tangible issue. If a prosecutor brings a charge that carries the death penalty as a potential sentence, the ...


3

Based on the comments, it appears you are interested in a mechanism for preemptively declaring that your conduct is not wrongful without waiting for someone to bring charges or a lawsuit against you. In most common-law jurisdictions, a litigant who learned that a prosecutor was preparing charges against him, or that someone else was preparing a lawsuit ...


3

Garrison claimed that the assassination was the result of a conspiracy, involving various meetings and other overt acts that allegedly took place in New Orleans. If that were true, then the conspirators who did those things would have been guilty of criminal conspiracy under Louisiana law, and the New Orleans District Attorney would be able to prosecute ...


3

The prosecutor always has an advocate The prosecutor in a criminal matter is the State. Since the State is an artificial entity it has to act through agent(s) who advocate for it. In Commonwealth countries the State is synonymous with the Crown - I suppose HRH Queen Elizabeth II could prosecute every case personally but she’s a very old lady with a lot of ...


3

Your premise that "the law did not exist previously" is, from the perspective of how courts work, mistaken. The law always existed, it's just that some people (maybe even judges) mistakenly thought the law didn't exist (actually, "meant something else"). Many people have wrong ideas about what the law says, but ignorance of ...


3

The law gives limited power for private action That is to say, Bob can make himself his own Attorney General, however, the force of Bob's swing is limited. This is called a civil action aka a lawsuit. The classic example is OJ Simpson. Murder charges were filed, but prosecution was unable to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. However, the families ...


3

Although you tagged the question with "united states", from the way you formulated it you seem interested in other jurisdictions as well. I am not a lawyer but I know that in the Netherlands the victim or anyone with an interest in the case can start a so-called article 12 procedure where a judge will decide whether or not the prosecutor is ...


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