prosecuting attorney – an elected or appointed attorney at law, who serves as a public officer, to conduct criminal prosecutions on behalf of his jurisdiction

     This page is continued from Getting Started >>>> Representing Yourself “Pro Se” and Assisting Others as a Non-Lawyer >>>> Lawyer? Attorney? Counselor? What’s the Difference? >>>> Attorney >>>> Attorney at Law:


prosecuting attorney:


1. A public officer elected or appointed, as provided by constitution or statute, to conduct suits, generally criminal, on behalf of the state in his jurisdiction. 42 Am j1st pros Atty § 2.

Broadly, any attorney at law who represents the state or political body under which a criminal prosecution is waged.  The officer attending on grand jurors, with matters on which they are to pass, aiding in the examination of witnesses, and giving such general instructions as they may require, but under duty to retire while the jury is deliberating on the evidence or voting on a matter under investigation. 24 Am J1st Grand J § 43. [2]

1. A public official, elected or appointed, who conducts criminal prosecutions on behalf of his jurisdiction. [3]

n. (16c)

1. A private person who institutes and carries on a legal action, especially a criminal action. — aka private prosecutor. — prosecutorial, adj.

2. A legal officer who represents the state or federal government in criminal proceedings.  See DISTRICT ATTORNEY; UNITED STATES ATTORNEY; ATTORNEY GENERAL. — aka public prosecutor; state’s attorney; public commissioner. [1]

1. A prosecuting attorney; a prosecuting officer; a prosecuting witness.
     The plaintiff or petitioner for a writ of certiorari is called a prosecutor in some jurisdiction. State, Cape May etc., Railway Co v Cape May, 59 NJL 396, 36 A 696. [2]

1. A public official, elected or appointed, who conducts criminal prosecutions on behalf of her jurisdiction.  EXAMPLES: the district attorney of a county; the attorney general of a state; a United States Attorney.

2. A person who commences or maintains a civil action. [3]

private prosecutor:

1. One appointed to assist the state in a particular criminal case or requested to appear by the regular prosecutor. 24 Am J1st Grand J § 43.
     See relator. [2]

1. An attorney who is not herself a public officer who is appointed to assist the government in the prosecution fo a particular criminal case. [3]

public prosecutor:

1. See PROSECUTOR (1).


special prosecutor (1859) A lawyer appointed to investigate and, if justified, seek indictments in a particular case.  See independent counsel under COUNSEL. [1]

1. Special counsel employed to assist the prosecuting attorney in the conduct of a criminal prosecution.

2. Independent counsel appointed to investigate and, if warranted, to prosecute high government officials. [3]


1. A person beneficially interested on whose behalf an action is maintained by the state or sovereign power, the action being, as it is said, as ex rel action, brought on the relation of  a person having a beneficial interest. 35 Am J1st Mand § 319; 44 Am J1st Quo W § 73

The informer in a qui tam action. 36 Am J2d Forf & P § 79. [2]

relatrix – Feminine of relator. [2]


Disclaimer: All material throughout this website is compiled in accordance with Fair Use.

[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6.

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[3]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.


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