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Prosecutors are typically lawyers who possess a law degree, and are recognized as legal professionals by the court in which they intend to represent the state (that is, they have been admitted to the bar).
They usually only become involved in a criminal case once a suspect has been identified and charges need to be filed. They are typically employed by an office of the government, with safeguards in place to ensure such an office can successfully pursue the prosecution of government officials. Often, multiple offices exist in a single country, especially those countries with federal governments where sovereignty has been bifurcated or devolved in some way.
In France, the Office of the Prosecutor includes a Chief Prosecutor, or Procureur de la République (or procureur général in an appellate court or in the Supreme Court) assisted by deputy prosecutors (avocats généraux) and assistant prosecutors (substituts). The Chief Prosecutor generally initiates preliminary investigations and, if necessary, asks an examining judge, or juge d'instruction, be assigned to lead a formal judicial investigation. When an investigation is led by a judge, the prosecutor plays a supervisory role, defining the scope of the crimes being examined by the judge and law enforcement forces. Like defense counsel, the chief prosecutor may petition or motion for further investigation. During criminal proceedings, prosecutors are responsible for presenting the case at trial to either the Bench or jury. They generally suggest advisory sentencing guidelines, but it remains at the Court's discretion to decide its own sentence, increased or reduced as it sees fit. In addition, prosecutors have several administrative duties.
In Germany, the Staatsanwalt (literally 'state attorney') doesn't just have the "professional responsibility" (as mentioned above) not to withhold exculpatory information, but is also required by law to actively determine such circumstances and to make them available to the defendant or his/hers defense attorney. In case he is not convinced of the defendants guilt, the state attorney is required to plead in favour of the defendant (RiStBV, No. 138/139).
In the United States, the director of any such offices may be known by any of several names depending on the legal jurisdiction.
The terms County Attorney, Prosecuting Attorney (in Michigan, Indiana, and West Virginia), County Prosecutor, State Attorney, State's Attorney, State Prosecutor, Commonwealth's Attorney (in Virginia and Kentucky), District Attorney (in some states), District Attorney General (in Tennessee), Prosecuting Attorney (in Missouri counties), Attorneys General (in Rhode Island and Delaware), and City Attorney (in Missouri cities that have city prosecutors) are all titles of prosecutors in various state courts. State prosecutor may be either appointed or elected. United States Attorneys represent the federal government in federal court, in both civil and criminal cases.
These offices shouldn't be confused with Corporation Counsel, who typically handles only civil matters involving monetary damages, and does not handle criminal prosecutions.
In Canada, public prosecutors in most provinces are called Crown Attorney or Crown Counsel. They are generally appointed by the provincial Attorney-General; unlike their United States counterparts, they are not elected.
Though Scots law is a mixed system, its civil law jurisdiction indicates its civil law heritage. Here, all prosecutions are carried out by Procurators Fiscal and Advocates Depute on behalf of the Lord Advocate, and, in theory, they can direct investigations by the police. In very serious cases, a Procurator Fiscal, Advocate Depute or even the Lord Advocate, may take charge of a police investigation. It's at the discretion of the Procurator Fiscal, Advocate Depute or Lord Advocate to take a prosecution to court, and to decide on whether or not to prosecute it under solemn procedure or summary procedure. Other remedies are open to a prosecutor in Scotland, including fiscal fines and non-court based interventions, such as rehabilitation and social work. All prosecutions are handled within the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. Procurators fiscal will usually refer cases involving minors to Children's Hearings, which are not courts of law, but a panel of lay members empowered to act in the interests of the child.
a prosecution attorney: is a public officer in a country or district or other jurisdiction charged with carrying on the prosecution in criminal proceedings