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The New International Encyclopædia/District Attorney

DISTRICT ATTORNEY. In the United States, the public prosecuting officer within a defined district. The Federal Government has one set of district attorneys, and each State has an entirely different set for the same territory. The former are appointed by the President, and are in reality deputies of the Attorney-General of the United States, to whom they are required to make report of their official acts, and to whose direction and control they are subject. They are appointed for the several districts into which the United States are divided for district courts (see article on Court, subdivision United States Courts), and are charged with prosecuting offenses against the Federal Government, as well as with conducting civil actions on behalf of the Government, and in some cases on behalf of Government officers. As a rule their compensation comes from fees, and is not in the form of a stated salary.

In most of the States a State district attorney is elected in each county, although his most important duties, as a rule, are discharged in prosecuting criminals before the State courts. He is also the prosecuting officer before the county court of the county in which he is elected. He is subject at times to the control of the Attorney-General of the State, and in New York is removable by the Governor. In certain contingencies he may call upon the State Attorney-General for assistance in important criminal prosecutions. His duties and powers are regulated under the provisions of the statutes in accordance with which he is appointed or elected. For these consult the Federal and State statutes.