How Criminal Cases Get Started

The police report contains the officer's version of what happened, along with any witness statements and, sometimes, statements by the suspect. The report may also contain the results of investigations or lab results. But not all police reports result in filed charges -- charges that the prosecutor gives to the clerk in the courthouse, to formally lodge with the court. To understand the factors that mitigate for and against proceeding to file, including political pressures, read the articles below.

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