The Riddle of Prosecutorial Discretion
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Decisions whether to proceed with criminal prosecutions invariably attract controversy. Prosecutors' power is greatest in exercising their discretion in determining which allegations of crime will proceed through the court process; in a process governed by the rule of law few would argue that there should not be accountability for such power. Yet in common law systems, there has been no consensus as to what form prosecutorial accountability should take and how it is to be structured. What is the decision that is being scrutinized? Like Emerson's Sphinx, prosecutorial discretion is often seen as mysterious and impenetrable.