Wisconsin Law Review
Publication Title (Abbreviation)
Wis. L. Rev.
With the emergence of the increasingly vocal victims' rights movement and a more general punitive emphasis in criminal justice, the issue of prosecutorial discretion in the decision of whether to charge a suspect with a crime has assumed paramount importance. In two recent cases the Wisconsin Supreme Court addressed the fundamental question of whether it is the responsibility of the local prosecutor or the court to charge a suspect with a crime. This Comment examines these two cases, Unnamed Petitioners v. Connors, decided in 1987, and State v. Unnamed Defendant, decided in 1989. The Comment concludes that the charging mechanism upheld by the court comports neither with the modern practical necessity of having the charging decision reside with prosecutors nor with traditional Wisconsin separation of powers doctrine. The author suggests a new charging means, one that ensures greater prosecutorial accountability for charging decisions and involves the judiciary in the review of instances of prosecutorial inaction. This method, the author argues, is consistent with separation of powers doctrine and the practical realities of modem prosecution, and provides crime victims a critically important avenue of redress in the event a prosecutor unjustifiably refuses to charge.
© 1990 Wayne A. Logan
Wayne A. Logan,
A Proposed Check on the Charging Discretion of Wisconsin Prosecutors, 1990
Wis. L. Rev.
Available at: http://ir.law.fsu.edu/articles/206