Do we have any recourse if we had jewelry stolen from our house and pressed charges on the person that took it but the DA is settling for a lesser punishment than we agree with?

Asked on February 11, 2013 under Criminal Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you have no control over what the prosecutor does: in a criminal action, the victim is actually just a witness, and the state,  in the form of the prosecutor, is the party bringing the action. Therefore, the prosecutor has full control (called "prosecutorial discretion") over what to charge a defendant with, what to settle for, etc. You can try to go over his/her head to a more senior prosecutor, if there is one, and make the case that the settlement is inappropriate, but it's actually unlikely that will do anything--a more senior prosecutor is unlikely to undercut his/her department and staff.

You can sue the robber in civil court, to recover the value of any un-recovered items and any damage he/she did in stealing them (e.g. if a door or window was broken), but that will only help if there person has assets (money) to recover.

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