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Duties of State Attorneys

Duties of State Attorneys, by Joe Bodiford

Prosecutors are supposed to be “ministers of justice”. The State Attorney is an elected official. His or her assistants are attorneys who handle the cases. Duties of state attorneys include investigating cases, and resolving cases with plea or trials.  Their duties include working with law enforcement, witnesses, and crime victims. Their duties DO NOT include making someone’s life miserable just “because they can” – they should act reasonably, and timely, and professionally.  Joe Bodiford worked as an assistant state attorney for several years at the beginning of his practice. Joe understands the duties of state attorneys – and their limits. He uses global-based negotiation tactics to try to resolve cases. If that doesn’t work, then he does his best to ethically and professionally beat the prosecutors at trial.

Below is the Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure pertaining to the duties of state attorneys in the beginning of a criminal case. The rule governing their conduct is

The prosecutor in a criminal case shall:
(a) refrain from prosecuting a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause;
(b) not seek to obtain from an unrepresented accused a waiver of important pre-trial rights such as a right to a preliminary hearing;
(c) make timely disclosure to the defense of all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or mitigates the offense, and, in connection with sentencing, disclose to the defense and to the tribunal all unprivileged mitigating information known to the prosecutor,

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Rule 3.115. Duties of State Attorney; Criminal Intake

The state attorney shall provide the personnel or procedure for criminal intake in the judicial system. All sworn complaints charging the commission of a criminal offense shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the circuit court and delivered to the state attorney for further proceedings.