Following completion of the arrest process for a fingerprintable offense, the district attorney prosecutes all criminal cases arising in the county. This office directs the progress of the case following arraignment in local criminal court through disposition at that level or continuation of the case in superior court.
Article 700 of the County Law of New York State describes the powers and duties of the district attorney. District attorneys are elected and serve a four year term in office. Assistant district attorneys are appointed by the district attorney. The district attorney's office is the one agency in the criminal justice process that has contact with almost every criminal case. The Criminal Procedure Law (CPL 30.30, 210, and 330) sets time limits for each step in the prosecution of a case, starting with the filing of an accusatory instrument with a criminal court (commencement of a criminal action). In addition to prosecuting adults, juvenile offenders are also prosecuted by district attorneys in criminal courts.
In some localities, particularly the New York City counties, the prosecutor is involved with the arresting agency in determining the charges to lodge against the individual. In other localities, the prosecutor is not involved until after the case is arraigned in court. There is also the possibility that the prosecutor will commence a case with a sealed indictment and by-pass the initial arrest process entirely.
From this point on, the prosecutor possesses the most complete overview of the progress of cases through the system. Often, only the prosecutor knows where each court case is and what agreements are being made regarding these cases. Only the prosecutor may be aware of what is occurring with regards to individual charges during the progression from arrest to arraignment and final disposition.
Thus, the prosecutor maintains a pivotal role in ensuring that communication occurs between all agencies involved in the criminal case. If this communication breaks down between the prosecutor and the other agencies and DCJS, the completeness of court information and the closure of all arrest charges presented on the DCJS Criminal History Report (rapsheet) becomes problematic.
Criminal Case Documentation
Providing Complete Case Documentation
Processing, Reporting, and Sharing Info
Criminal Case Processing
Closure of Case or Charges
Charges held for Grand Jury or Direct
Previously Dismissed Allegations to Gr. Jury
Monitoring Pending Charges or Cases
Timing of Fingerprint Submissions
JD, JO Fingerprinting
DCJS Criminal History Report (rapsheet)
Dissemination of Arrest Rapsheet
Rapheet Use, Dissemination and Destruction
Prosecution Follow-up with DCJS
Monitoring Completeness and Accuracy
Requesting Re-Arrest Notices