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What is the Job of a United States Attorney?

US Attorneys represent the federal government in each state and all US territories. Each of these Attorneys is nominated by the President and confirmed by Congress, they report directly to the Attorney General. The President and his cabinet set high level priorities for the USAs to pursue but each of them decides how to implement these priorities in their own jurisdiction. https://youtube.com/watch?v=TwhInLDmez0


The United States Department of Justice possesses exclusive authority for prosecuting federal crime. Today, there is no other agency in the United States government that possesses criminal jurisdiction over federal crimes. Largely, this authority is exercised through the 93 United States attorney's offices located across the United States and its territories. Each of the 93 US attorney's offices is headed by a person called the United States Attorney, who is herself or himself nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. That person has authority to exercise power in his or her district over everything from the prosecutorial priorities of his or her office to the types of cases that are taken in that district to the criteria for intaking a case in that district. And those priorities, those principles, those guidelines can vary significantly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. So, for example, in a city like New York, which is the epicenter of financial power in the United States, a US attorney might choose to prioritize the prosecution of white collar crime. In this situation, the US attorney might also establish high guidelines for the dollar amount of loss required to bring a case, the number of victims involved, and the number of potential agencies involved in a case. And, although there are component agencies to the United States Department of Justice, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, also known as the FBI; the Drug Enforcement Agency, also known as the DEA; and the Bureau of Alcohol and Tobacco and Firearms, also known as ATF, among many others, ultimately it is the United States attorney who has the authority to decide which cases are brought in his or her district. The United States attorney in every district reports directly to the Attorney General of the United States. Of course, the Attorney General of the United States is a member of the president's cabinet and is responsible for enforcing the prosecutorial priorities of the particular president whom she or he serves. So for example, a president could choose to prioritize the prosecution of human trafficking or child pornography and issue a mandate to the Department of Justice to increase the intake of those types of cases as well. The United States Department of Justice is uniquely situated because of the sophistication of its attorneys, because of its access to resources and because of the knowledge and experience of the federal agents in the relevant agencies with which it works to bring complex crime.

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