The prosecutor is a key consumer of criminal history information. The criminal history may be used during the case evaluation and charge determination process and is critical to the determination of appropriate case outcomes and sentencing recommendations. Accurate and complete criminal histories rely on the effective and successful reporting of disposition information. The prosecutor plays an important role in ensuring that case dispositions are included in the offender's criminal history record by establishing the link between arrests and incidents. Although the prosecutor is often "in the middle" of the disposition reporting work and information flow, they play a key role in linking law enforcement and court data.Warrants
The prosecutor may play two roles in the warrants process. In some instances, the prosecutor may take on the role of law enforcement and have a need to have a warrant issued. The prosecutor may also take on the role of warrant reviewer. In this role, the prosecutor reviews the contents of the warrant request prior to submission to the warrant issuer, which is typically a judicial body.
As an information consumer, prosecutors need access to warrant information as part of the bail determination, case evaluation, and charge determination processes. Bail is frequently set at the initial advisement or first appearance of a defendant. Outstanding warrant information is key to determining the eligibility of a defendant for bail (e.g., an outstanding warrant may indicate a flight risk, thus justifying a higher or no bail). During the case evaluation and charge determination process, awareness of the defendant’s complete criminal history, including warrant history and outstanding warrants, may come to bear on a determination to file or defer a case. During case adjudication, this information is similarly important in the plea negotiation and sentencing processes.Dispositions
Prosecutors play a key role in the case disposition reporting process in two ways. First, prosecutors are the workflow and organizational link between a defendant's arrest and ultimate charge (at least for felonies in most jurisdictions). Making this link is critical to the accurate reporting of court case dispositions to the criminal history repository. Second, prosecutors are also the source of dispositions that need to be reported to the criminal history repository. Prosecutors may decline to prosecute or may provide an alternative sanction such as a deferred prosecution. In all instances where charges are not filed in court, the prosecutor should report all case evaluation outcomes to the criminal history repository so it accurately contains all criminal history activity.
Both of these functions directly affect the quality of information contained in the criminal history repository, particularly when prosecutors fail to accurately link the arrest to the case. Accurate disposition reporting begins at arrest and the initiation of a criminal investigation or incident. The information flow associated with these two events follow separate but parallel paths, and the prosecutor has one of the first opportunities to join this information together. Once joined, arrest and offense information can flow through the rest of the criminal justice system allowing disposition data to be accurately reported to the criminal history repository.