“State DA Witnesses” refers to individuals who provide information to a State District Attorney’s Office (a “DA”). In some States, criminal prosecutors offices like District Attorneys’ Offices are part of the State Attorney General’s Office. Sometimes people refer to the District Attorneys’ Offices as the AG. Most often, though, “AG” is used to refer to criminal investigations or prosecutions brought specifically by the statewide Attorney General’s Office (or the statewide prosecutor’s office if it goes by a different name), as opposed to those brought by a local District Attorney’s Office. In some States, the local prosecutor’s office may be called “People’s Attorney” or some other name, instead of “District Attorney”.
Each State has its own laws and rules concerning investigations by its District Attorney’s Offices. Those rules may be quite different from one State to another.Sometimes people reach out to a State District Attorney’s Office on their own because they have information about a crime that they think the DA should know about. Other times, the DA may ask someone to talk to it over the telephone or to come in to the DA’s offices to talk about something. Depending on which State the DA’s Office is in, this request may be made by a lawyer who works for the DA, often called an Assistant District Attorney, or it may be made by a police officer or an agent of some other State investigatory agency that is working with the Assistant District Attorney.
In the State DA context, a “State DA witness” usually means someone who may have information about a crime under that State’s laws. But that is not always the case. Sometimes the DA thinks a person might have some information, but it is not certain. For example, this sometimes happens when the DA’s Office is investigating something and wants to talk to everyone who worked in a company, office, or department to find out who, if anyone, may know something about what the DA thinks happened.
A State DA Witness may be a person who did nothing wrong but who came across some information that one or more other people may have commited a crime. A State DA witness may also be someone who may have committed or helped others to commit a crime; such people are sometimes referred to as “subjects” or “targets” of an investigation. A “subject” of an investigation usually means someone who the DA thinks may or may not have committed a crime, but it cannot be certain without more information. “Target” is usually used to refer to someone who the DA thinks actually did commit a crime, based on information that it has at the time. Someone who admits that they did something wrong and agrees to help the DA in its investigation of the crime may be referred to as a “cooperating witness”. All of these people are technically State DA Witnesses or potential witnesses.
Over the course of a DA’s investigation, someone who the DA initially believes may be just a witness may come to be viewed as a “subject” or a “target”. Likewise, someone who the DA initially believes may be a potential “subject” or “target” may come to be viewed as just an innocent witness.
Depending on the State, when someone talks to the DA the conversation may be done informally over the telephone or in the DA’s offices, and one or more Assistant District Attorneys, police officers, or agents of some other State investigatory agency may take handwritten notes of what is said. Also depending on the State, the witness may or may not be sworn in under oath to tell the truth, and the meeting may or may not be recorded word-for-word in an official transcript. In some States it may be a separate crime or misdemeanor in-and-of-itself to knowingly make a false statement to an Asssistant District Attorney or other State agent during that conversation.
If you would like information about The Pickholz Law Offices’ experience representing State DA Witnesses or those who may become a State DA Witness, please feel free to click on the “Sample Matters” link and the other links on the right side of this page.
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State DA Witnesses | State DA Witness