The State Attorney (also called State's Attorney or District Attorney or D.A.) is an appointed or elected official who is often the chief law enforcement officer of his or her respective county circuit or district. His principal duties are usually mandated by law and include signing informations (which are documents charging people with criminal offenses), convening the grand jury (which produces documents called indictments that charge people with criimnal offenses), and then prosecuting those "indicted" or "informed" people for the offenses they have been alleged to have committed in the name of the city, county or state in a court of law. State Attorneys have jurisdiction to prosecute criminal offenses (violations of state law or county or city ordinances) which occur within a geographical area. That geographical area can be delineated by the county's boundary, court circuits or districts. This area will usually be the the entire jurisdiction of a state court or part of that jurisdiction. It will usually not be more than one jurisdiction, however. Concurrently, the State Attorney may act a chief counsel for city police, county police, state police and all state law enforcement agencies within the State Attorney's Jurisdiction. Originally, in continental Europe, a county was the land under the jurisdiction of a count. ...
The State Attorney usually divides his or her services into several departments that handle different spheres of law. Each department is staffed by several duly appointed and sworn Assistant State Attorneys. The departments of a large State Attorney's Office may include but are not limited to: felony, misdemeanor, domestic violence, traffic, juvenile, charging (or case filing), drug prosecution, forfeitures, civil, child advocacy, victim assistance, appeals, career criminal prosecution, homicide, investigations, organized crime/gang, administration.
Depending on state law, appeals are moved to appeals courts. During the appeals process State Attorneys, in many cases, hands all relative prosecutorial materials to an appellate prosecutor who in turn will represent the State in appellate court with the advice and consent of the State Attorney.
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