What do prosecutors do
a public prosecutor
Public prosecutors represent the indictment in court. Before that, they lead the criminal investigation and are supported by the police. Anyone wishing to become a public prosecutor must have passed both state law exams with flying colors.
The function: Public prosecutors lead criminal investigations. Once the investigation is over, the public prosecutor will bring charges and represent them in court.
The task:If there is a suspicion of a criminal offense, public prosecutors initiate the investigation. In this you have the following tasks:
- Taking of evidence: The police take over the main focus of this activity, especially in the case of lighter and moderate crime.
- In more serious cases, for example in the area of organized crime, the public prosecutor takes an active part in the gathering of evidence.
- Public prosecutors have the right to request information from authorities that is important for the investigation. For some measures, they obtain judicial decisions, for example for house searches, eavesdropping on telephone calls or to issue an arrest warrant.
- The public prosecutor's office takes no sides. On the contrary: it is obliged to consider both incriminating and exculpatory evidence that speaks for or against the accused in the proceedings.
- The public prosecutor's office decides whether a preliminary investigation has been completed and public charges will be brought, or whether proceedings will be closed. It may also decide that further investigation is necessary.
- If the public prosecutor's office considers the results of the investigation to be sufficient to bring an action, it will bring charges.
The court initiates the main proceedings with the opening decision. The public prosecutor's office has the following tasks:
- She reads out the indictment.
- During the taking of evidence, she is entitled to put questions to witnesses and to present evidence.
- She holds the closing speech and makes a motion for judgment. Since public prosecutors work objectively, they can also demand that the accused be acquitted.
At the end of the hearing, the judges issue the verdict. This does not end the case for the public prosecutor:
- If they do not agree with the judgment, public prosecutors can use further legal remedies and appeal. Then the case is negotiated before the next instance.
- The public prosecutor's office is responsible for overseeing the execution of sentences, which means, for example, that they check whether the convicted begin their detention. The public prosecutors are supported by legal clerks.
Training: Whoever wants to become a public prosecutor must have studied law and completed a two-year preparatory service. As a rule, only those who have passed the two state law exams with an above-average chance of being hired. First of all, as a so-called probationary judge, you go through the same career path as judges. After three to five years, you can be appointed public prosecutor for life. Public prosecutors are - unlike judges - civil servants.
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