The prosecutors and police have the common interest cut down crime, arrest criminals and offer fast, sure and particular punishment. Therefore, prosecutors and police are expected to have open communication to facilitate their functions. The two organizations have different responsibilities, but exhibit conflicting views over certain case dispositions. However, their conflicts are considered as evidence for the effective functioning of checks and balances mechanism of the criminal justice system. Therefore, the police should accommodate such checks from prosecutors while prosecutors are expected to provide supervisory functions together with vivid and reasonable explanations. The police are held responsible for their own investigations while prosecutors are not responsible for their actions. Thus, the two organizations are expected to have elaborated relationship via shared common values and effective communication. This will promote good working relationships and mutual understanding between prosecutors and police. In order to protect the public successfully, the two organizations are expected to have a good relationship.
The scope of the investigation of the case is the factor that establishes whether the prosecutor will accept or reject the case presented by the police. This is so because in some countries such as Germany, Japan and Brazil, prosecutors are given authorities, which include the authority to implement investigations on their own, supervise and carry police investigations. In certain event where the arrest of a suspect who was later acquitted may make the prosecutor reject the case and decide to provide significant supervision in the process of investigation.
The prosecutor may accept or reject the case presented by police on the ground of lack of evidence. The case presented must have evidence that the prosecutor will use to secure a conviction and have community norms relating to the type of acts that should be prosecuted. Therefore, the prosecutor will reject the case when evidence provided is less satisfactory. Another factor that makes the prosecutor accept or reject a case presented by police is the constitutional and statutory time limit, which prevents him or her from building an excessive caseload (Cole and Gertz, 2011). Finally, the prosecutor may reject or accept the case that influences his or her public exposure in the courtroom. For instance, the prosecutor may reject the case that places him or her in an embarrassing situation.
Prosecutorial discretion is the most significant aspects of the criminal justice system. It offers DA office an incredible deal of power. The prosecutors have the power to choose not to prosecute a crime where the defendant is arrested. Similarly, he or she can decide to pursue less severe charges and provide plea bargains such as deferred sentences. Therefore, I think every case should go to trial because prosecutorial discretion prohibits retaliation against a criminal defendant for the exercise of a legal right (Satyajit, 2013). It gives a prosecutor power to exercise deliberate punishment during the trial, hence undermining the defendant the right to trial. The prosecutorial discretion is the main cause of inefficiency in other agencies due to interferences from prosecutors. As a result, other agencies are given extremely little discretion in the course of their investigation and trial, which cause lack of flexibility in trials. As a result, Prosecutorial discretion is the doctrine meant to undermine the professional competence of other enforcement agencies such as police during the trial and compromise justice because of over dependence on prosecutors.
In the past years, legal scholars have focused on two major issues seen in the criminal justice system. These include the intentional prosecutorial misconduct and awful underfunding of indigent defense, and requires proper reform. However, they have failed to realize how prosecutors are mainly overburdened by load of cases, which causes severe harm to criminal defendants, victims, and the public at large. For instance, some prosecutors have several felonies, murder, robbery and assault cases set for trial on any given day. This makes prosecutors commit malpractice daily because they are left to handle excess cases than any lawyer could manage proficiently.
The ramifications of excessive prosecutorial caseloads are experienced in the criminal justice system, which causes harm to criminal defendant criminals, victims, and the public at large. This is so because excessive caseloads result in the accumulation of cases in the court settings such as trials and bottom-line plea bargain offers. As a result, the defendants who are unable to post bail remain incarcerated for unnecessary time because the overburdened prosecutors lack the time to focus on their cases. Likewise, jails are overcrowded causing significant expense to taxpayers as well as appalling conditions of imprisonment for defendants who are awaiting trial (Cole and Gertz, 2011).
Meanwhile, excessive prosecutorial caseloads cause trial delays for months or years, which make defendants who would have exercised their trial rights to plead guilty and accept a sentence of time served. This means the innocent defendants plead guilty to crimes they did not commit in order to get out of jail. This also causes lack of time and resources to assess the defendants who deserve punishment which make overburdened prosecutors commit injustice. This is so because he or she is unable to separate the innocent from guilty, which is a great danger to the public at a large. Likewise the overburdened prosecutors are unable to differentiate the most responsible defendants from those who committed the crimes, but do not deserve cruel punishment. For instance, when a defendant is charged with murder, prosecutors with sufficient time will establish that even if the defendant was at the crime scene, he or she was a minor player among dangerous criminals. Therefore, the prosecutor who is not overburdened by cases may be willing to plea bargain accordingly. This will be vital for the indigent defendant who was represented by overburdened lawyer who brought insufficient information due to lack of time and investigation.
Similarly, excessive prosecutorial harm victims. The prosecutors have less time to meet victims, which make them lack factual evidence that would assist in convicting the guilty. Since overburdened prosecutors have no opportunity to contact victims, they may seem heartless. Therefore, the victims may end up denied the therapeutic justice, which they seek from the criminal justice process (Gershowitz and Killinger, 2011).
In a recall, excessive caseloads also cause harm to public. This result when the prosecutors face challenges to prove the defendant guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Although these challenges are vital to protect the innocent and control governmental power, the criminal justice assumes most criminal defendants are guilty. The overburdened prosecutors who have no time and resources to investigate the cases thoroughly end up setting free the guilty, which is a threat to public. Therefore, excessive prosecutorial caseloads pose a great threat to criminal defendants, victims, and the public at large.
Cole, G. F., & Gertz, M. G. (2011). The criminal justice system: Politics and policies. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth.
Gershowitz, A. M., & Killinger, L. R. (2011). The State (Never) Rests: How Excessive Prosecutor Caseloads Harm Criminal Defendants. Northwestern University Law Review, 105(1), 261-301.
Satyajit, B. (2013). Prosecutorial discretion and its challenges. Commonwealth Law Bulletin,39(1), 5-15.