The Judiciary Act of 1789 created the federal court system and directed the President to appoint in each federal judicial district an attorney for the United States who is responsible for the prosecution of violations of federal laws and the litigation of civil matters involving the United States. There are 93 United States Attorneys throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
United States Attorneys conduct most of the trial work in which the United States is a party, including;
- the prosecution of criminal cases brought by the federal government;
- the prosecution and defense of civil cases in which the United States is a party; and
- the collection of debts owed the federal government which are administratively uncollectible.
The Western District of Wisconsin consists of the western two-thirds of Wisconsin, an area encompassing 44 counties. The United States Attorney's Office is located in Madison and has a permanent staff of 48 people. Functionally, the office is divided into two litigation divisions, a Criminal Division and a Civil Division, which are supported by the Administrative Division.
The United States Attorney is the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done.
As such, he is in a peculiar and very definite sense the servant of the law, the twofold 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.
Quote of Justice Sutherland, Berger v. United States,
295 U.S. 88 (1935)