Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Among the world's criminal procedure systems, the main legal actors are judges (professional and lay), who adjudicate legal disputes; jurors (lay persons), who render a verdict and find facts; defense attorneys (professional and lay) who defend the accused, and prosecutors, who participate in bringing the state's case against the accused. Either public or private prosecutors conduct criminal prosecutions, with public salaried government employees the most common. Public prosecutors enter state employment either as civil service or direct appointees or through popular election. They typically are responsible for initiating prosecution against the accused. In private prosecution systems, the victim or victim's relatives often initiate prosecution. This process may run parallel to the public prosecution system, as in Austria, Germany, Sweden, and Finland. The role of the prosecutor varies according to a system's legal tradition, which involves a distinct set of beliefs, attitudes, and practices about the nature of law, the role ...