Hypothetically, a resident of a large city in state X is accused of committing a crime of small to moderate severity. The local district attorney decides, for whatever reason, to not prosecute, and the accused person is released.

Does the state government have the ability to prosecute such a case? Who would be in charge of making such a decision? If state government has this power, is it frequently used in modern day America?

(I understand that the local DA may have good reasons for not prosecuting any particular case, and that a state level office may have better targets to go after. However, could they?)


In the U.S., municipalities are extensions of the state government. As such, with very, very few exceptions, if someone has committed a crime subject to the authority of the local District Attorney, they have also committed a crime under state law.

As a consequence, that state's attorney general and their department may elect to bring charges under those state laws. The arrest would be made by state police.

If the crime in question is also a federal crime, and the state's AG doesn't want to prosecute either, the state government may request the Federal Department of Justice to intervene and charge the offender.

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