The Lawyers.com Law Forums will be shutting down on June 30, 2017. We encourage you to resolve any outstanding discussions prior to that time. If you have any questions about this change, please email info@martindale.com.

Can police officers file for charges in court?

Previous | Next
 rated by 0 users
Latest post Wed, Dec 10 2014 10:49 AM by criminal-defense-network. 25 replies.
  • Fri, Nov 28 2014 11:42 PM In reply to


    Re: Can police officers file for charges in court?

    adjuster jack:
    Even where individuals may file criminal complaints in court the judge would still have to find merit in the complaint before having anybody arrested and prosecuted. The arrest and prosecution would involve the filing of charges. The criminal complaint, by itself, would not.

    In CA, people can file a report with police but they cannot file a criminal complaint with the court. ONLY a prosecutor can do that.  Without getting into the details and exceptions, the filing of a criminal complaint initiates the court process.  For juveniles, it's begun with the filing of a petition.  Civilians CANNOT initiate criminal prosecutions in CA, period.

  • Sat, Nov 29 2014 2:19 PM In reply to

    • Mont46
      Consumer
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Thu, Nov 27 2014
    • CA
    • Posts 8

    Re: Can police officers file for charges in court?

    Oh, I was under the impression that criminal complaints were basically filing of charges.

     

    So, does this mean that when a prosecuter/probation officer files a complaints, the court would have to approve first?

  • Sat, Nov 29 2014 2:57 PM In reply to


    Re: Can police officers file for charges in court?

    Whether or not charges are filed is solely within the discretion of the prosecutor's office.  In juvenile matters, the process starts with the probation department who prepares the petition for the DA but it only gets filed if the DA files it.  The court has no say in the matter until AFTER the complaint or petition is before it.

  • Sat, Nov 29 2014 3:01 PM In reply to

    • Mont46
      Consumer
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Thu, Nov 27 2014
    • CA
    • Posts 8

    Re: Can police officers file for charges in court?

    Ok Got it-

     

    Appreciate it.

  • Wed, Dec 10 2014 10:22 AM In reply to

    Re: Can police officers file for charges in court?

    I would recommend researching the methods by which a "charge" is filed to begin with, as that would help lend some perspective to your question. Don't be too caught up in who is actually "filing" a charge. Criminal charges are brought on a person through either an "indictment" or an "information." An indictment requires a grand jury to make a determination if there is sufficient probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and that the person charged was responsible. An information, while not requiring a grand jury, also requires the same determination of probable cause. It is true that anyone who has knowledge of a crime may make a criminal complaint against another party. However, in addition to a bare allegation of criminal conduct, there must be an affidavit that contains sufficient information to make a determination of probable cause. Police officers use "statements of probable cause," where they make detailed accounts of their investigations into the crime in question and the accused party, and based on that written statement a judge issues an Order Finding Probable Cause if the officer's written statement is sufficient. The officer's written statement may include hearsay statements from witnesses, such as those claiming to be victims of crimes. The Prosecutor, however, files the "information" of the charge in question, which consists of nothing more than a plainly worded statement of the crime being charged and the person accused.

    So, in reality it isn't just one individual "filing" criminal charges, as there may be several written statements filed, in addition to the information and the order from the court. It's not who does the filing that matters, but the substance of what is filed...they key is that there must be a showing of probable cause in order for the charges to move forward and be prosecuted.

  • Wed, Dec 10 2014 10:27 AM In reply to

    Re: Can police officers file for charges in court?

    ...50 states, a federal government, and the DC district, yet clearly you don't even know how any of the criminal law operates in any of these courts. All of the require a showing of probable cause regardless of who makes the complaint...any reason why you wouldn't mention that?

  • Wed, Dec 10 2014 10:33 AM In reply to

    Re: Can police officers file for charges in court?

    A civilian can "file," a criminal complaint, which may or may not allege an actual "charge" against another party, but I. Think we're too caught up in the whole "filing" thing. It's not who "files" something that matters...it's what is filed, and whether or not there is sufficient evidence for the court to make a finding of probable cause. The vast majority of the time this requires a police officer, prosecutor, and a judge, all of whom "file" documents to be on record with the court...the affidavit of probable cause by the policeman, the Order finding probable cause by the judge, and the criminal information by the prosecutor which formally states what the crime alleged is and who is being accused. 

  • Wed, Dec 10 2014 10:35 AM In reply to

    Re: Can police officers file for charges in court?

    That is just not true. There aren't separate charges for juveniles and separate charges for adults. The difference is only what court has jurisdiction over the alleged offense. 

  • Wed, Dec 10 2014 10:43 AM In reply to

    Re: Can police officers file for charges in court?

    Individuals can not file criminal information in California, but they can make criminal complaints...and even though we have 50 states, there is commonality among them, and that commonality is that a prosecutor must file the criminal information with the court...that's why prosecutors exist...and police officers are the ones that take statements from citizens regarding alleged criminal conduct...so people aren't just running right up to the prosecutor and handing them things to file without an investigation taking place.

    what's your professor's name, and what college is this at? I'm only wondering because these are very odd questions to be asking in a criminal law or procedure course...

  • Wed, Dec 10 2014 10:46 AM In reply to

    Re: Can police officers file for charges in court?

    Is there any reason that "probable cause" is simply being ignored in this discussion? I mean you got close hear with stating that the judge must find "merit..." Close but still not correct. What the court determines is if probable cause exists. The judge issues an Order...the prosecutor "files" a criminal information, which normally contains statements or reports from police officers regarding some sort of investigation.

  • Wed, Dec 10 2014 10:49 AM In reply to

    Re: Can police officers file for charges in court?

    Read the rules of criminal procedure for California and it will make sense. They are available online. You are straying too far off on other things and that's just confusing you more and more. 

Page 2 of 2 (26 items) < Previous 1 2 | RSS

My Community

Community Membership Search Community