OREGON DISTRICT ATTORNEYS
The Pursuit of Truth and Justice
Oregon District Attorneys
Each county in the state of Oregon has an elected district attorney who is charged with seeking the truth and pursing justice under the law on criminal matters that occur in his or her jurisdiction.
Prosecutors, by law, wear many hats. They are administrators of justice, seekers of truth, advocates for the people, officers of the court and protectors of the rights of all people under Oregon law, the Oregon Constitution and the United States Constitution.
The primary goal of a prosecutor is to seek the truth and pursue justice for victims, the state of Oregon, suspects and for defendants. Prosecutors work with law enforcement agencies to investigate and hold people accountable for violating Oregon law. The job of a prosecutor is not to simply to charge and convict. There are many laws, ethical rules and guidelines through which prosecutors are held accountable to the people.
Police are the first touch points when determining if someone has violated Oregon law. They have the power to investigate, gather evidence and arrest people. Police then bring the evidence to prosecutors to be reviewed to determine if there is appropriate evidence to charge someone for violating the law.
Prosecutors provide an important level of checks and balances in the criminal justice system, as they are required to ensure that a person’s constitutional rights are not violated and to also ensure there is appropriate evidence collected prior to charging someone.
Prosecutors are also leaders in improving the criminal justice system. If they
see an injustice, a violation of procedural law, or a violation of someone’s
rights, they must do what’s right to rectify the situation. That can mean
dropping a case, not charging a case or reducing the charges in a case.
They also work to make suggestions and offer solutions so that the criminal
justice system is a reflection of the values of the people of their community.
In Oregon, prosecutors have been leaders in reforming the system
throughout the years (see attached).