Missouri has 115 elected prosecutors, representing each of the 114 counties and the City of St. Louis. Each prosecutor is a locally elected county official and entrusted with complete discretion to charge and prosecute cases involving violations of state statutes that occur within their jurisdiction. The elected prosecutor and the concept of prosecutorial discretion is a uniquely American tradition. As the conscience of the community, the prosecutor is entrusted by the voters of the county every four years to make decisions that protect the public. Today’s prosecutor serves as the leader in the local criminal justice system. It is not enough anymore to react to crime. Instead, modern professional prosecution involves working toward proactive ways to prevent crime.
Missouri’s prosecutors are responsible for prosecuting misdemeanor and felony offenses that occur within their county. This includes representing the State at trial, probation violation hearings, and post-conviction hearings. Additionally, the prosecuting attorney represents the State in misdemeanor cases on appeal.
In 1969, the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys was established to provide uniformity in the discharge of duties to Missouri’s 115 elected prosecuting and circuit attorneys. In 1981, MAPA collaborated with the State of Missouri through the Missouri Attorney General and formed the Missouri Office of Prosecution Services to assist prosecuting attorneys in their efforts against criminal activity within the state. The Office is an autonomous entity governed by the Prosecutors Coordinators Training Council under Section 56.760, RSMo. The Office is staffed by a team of career prosecutors and dedicated professionals who proudly stand with Missouri’s prosecutors in protecting our communities.
The Office provides centralized and coordinated technical assistance and services for Missouri's prosecuting attorneys. Generally, these responsibilities include providing research and trial assistance to prosecutors; reference and educational publications; developing and maintaining an automated case management and criminal history reporting system; providing direct services for crime victims and coordination of prosecutor-based victim advocates; acting as a liaison to agencies, offices and associations on behalf of prosecutors; and providing other necessary assistance. The Office serves as the principal source of continuing legal education for prosecuting attorneys and training for support staff, providing specialized training in traffic safety, domestic and sexual violence, trial skills, case management and criminal history reporting. Additional special statutory responsibilities are also placed upon the Office.
Witness Protection Program: Under Section 491.640, prosecuting attorneys may apply to the Office for reimbursement of expenses to protect witnesses who are in danger.
Sexually Violent Predator Review Panel: Under Section 632.483, RSMo, the Council appoints a prosecutors' review panel to review referrals of sexually violent predators for further legal action.
Ethics Investigations: Under Section 105.961, the Council submits a recommendation panel of five attorneys to serve as special prosecutor for the court to select regarding investigations into violations of Missouri’s ethics laws.
Victims’ Services: Under Section 595.212, the Office is charged with assisting prosecuting attorneys in their mandate to provide victims’ services programs.
Commissions and Task Forces: By statute the executive director, or his or her designee, serves on the Criminal Justice Records Information Advisory Committee, the Criminal Non-Support Courts Coordinating Commission, and the Sentencing and Corrections Oversight Commission