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In 1935, Supreme Court Justice George Sutherland defined the role of United States Attorney in Berger v. United States, 295 U.S. 88 (1935):   

"The United States Attorney is the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereign whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interests, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice be done.  As such he is in a peculiar and very definite sense the servant of the law, the two-fold aim of which is that guilt shall not escape or innocence suffer.  He may prosecute with earnestness and vigor – indeed he should do so, but, while he may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones.  It is as much his duty to refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one."


The mission of the Department of Justice is to uphold the rule of law, to keep our country safe, and to protect civil rights.

Updated October 19, 2023