Missouri Legal Update
2020 Lesson 6: Police-Prosecutor Relations
This lesson is an online interpersonal perspective course on police-prosecutor relations. Section one describes how police and prosecutors can develop positive working relationships that provide a foundation for an effective criminal justice system. It explains essential components for a good relationship: alignment, credibility, a communication system, accountability, cooperative assurance, and respect and giving credit.
Section two describes how the following “executive landmines” can undermine the relationship between police and prosecutors: egos, differences in background, resentment of the county attorney as the chief law enforcement officer, and varying political influences. It provides guidance on how to address these executive landmines.
Section three addresses common criticisms officers may have of prosecutors. It provides perspective that can help address these concerns and improve the police-prosecutor relationship.
Section four addresses how an officer’s report can influence the police prosecutor relationship.
Section five explains the term “alignment” and describes how police and prosecutors can achieve alignment. It describes how alignment facilitates convictions and examines the role of joint activities.
Sections six addresses the issues faced by prosecutors when police are accused of misconduct. It further examines public perceptions of police/prosecutor conflict-of-interests when police are suspected of criminal behavior. Finally, it explores the role of the FBI and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) in addressing alleged police misconduct.
Section seven examines the “Brady” rule and its importance to the police-prosecutor relationship. It provides an overview of Brady-Giglio evidence and explains the importance of police providing that evidence to prosecutors.