#21: The Power of the Prosecutor


In our state legal systems, elected county prosecutors decide who gets tried and on what charges.  With this great power, are there any limits? With controversy surrounding the investigation of police misconduct in so many cities, should local prosecutors be the ones deciding whether to charge police officers?

Stephen Zappala now serves as the elected district attorney of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania which includes the city of Pittsburgh and over one hundred other municipalities.  He has served as District Attorney since 1998, and was elected to his fifth four-year term in 2015.  Mr. Zappala has created prosecution units focusing on such crimes as child abuse, domestic violence, insurance fraud, and most recently, elder abuse. He’s also been on the forefront of efforts to begin innovation and change in criminal justice in Pennsylvania, working with the statewide prosecutors association and police groups.