Do prosecutors give priority to prosecuting recent crimes? For example, let's say John broke Adam's nose three years ago.

Asked about 1 year ago - Charlotte, NC

Do prosecutors give priority to prosecuting recent crimes? For example, let's say John broke Adam's nose three years ago. But Evan punched Mark in the face a week ago. Would the prosecution exercise discretion to prosecute John or Evan if court is over-filled?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Christopher James Welch

    Pro

    Contributor Level 16

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I don't know that age is a major determining factor in the order of prosecutions, but to the extent that it matters I think the DAs try to deal with the oldest cases first, not the newest.

    No answer to these questions is intended to, nor does it, create an attorney-client relationship. There is no... more
  2. Stephen F Wallace

    Contributor Level 19

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . No, a crime is a crime. Sometimes it depends on the amount of damage to the victim.

  3. Raymond George Wigell

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The Prosecution(Federal and/or state) has discretion to investigate and charge based on multiple factors. These factors include the date of the event as you suggest in your question. Other factors are the nature of the injury, if the victim was disabled or a senior citizen, the context of the event(public vs. private), the relationship of the accused and the alleged victim to list a few.
    The number of cases pending in a particular court system may be a factor but this consideration would not be made known to the public.
    One of the many frustrating aspects of the Criminal Justice System is discretionary and subjective prosecution. Another part of this is the various specific charges and the number of charges(counts) that the prosecution has discretion to initiate by way of Grand Jury investigations, which are not public.
    If this inquiry is hypothetical I hope this brief and cursory response is of help. If it is based on actual events then seek the advice f an experienced criminal defense lawyer ASAP.

    Of course, every answer or response is based on the information provided in the question asked and requires a much... more
  4. David Patrick Vaughn

    Contributor Level 8

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . As far as I know, there is no policy in the U.S. Department of Justice for giving priority to crimes that have been committed more recently than other crimes that it is considering bringing. It is fairly commonplace for complex, white collar crimes to take years to investigate. In many white collar cases, the incriminating evidence consists of documents or other records that will not be adversely affected by the passage of time. However, as a practical matter, in cases where the government's evidence is largely dependent on eye witness or similar testimony, the government typically will move more quickly so that the witnesses' memories will be as fresh as possible at the time of trial, thereby attempting to minimize the effect of a defense cross-examination that focuses on the passage of time that has occurred between the events surrounding the crime and the day of the testimony in court.

    David Vaughn is one of the very few attorneys who have been both an Assistant U.S. Attorney (federal prosecutor)... more

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