The United States is a country that has been cited a lot in the recent controversy over the abolition of the prosecution's investigative authority.
In the United States, the right to prosecute and the right to investigate are separated.
Correspondent Kim Jong-won interviewed the former chief of the New York Southern District Prosecutors' Office, which is called the Central Prosecutor's Office of the United States, to see which claim is correct.
Behind me is the District Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.
Since the Southern District of New York has jurisdiction over Wall Street and Manhattan, it is responsible for investigating white-collar crimes such as stock price manipulation, as well as power-type crimes of political giants such as former President Trump and former New York Governor Cuomo.
From 2017 to 2018, I met with attorney Kim Jun-hyun, who served as the acting chief of the New York Southern District Prosecutor's Office and rose to the highest position among Korean-American lawyers in the United States.
Attorney Kim received a lot of attention as the head of the sex crime investigation of former New York Governor Cuomo.
Attorney Kim said that in the United States, prosecutors are not excluded from investigations.
[Attorney Jun-hyun Kim / Former Acting Chief Prosecutor of the Southern District of New York: In the United States, there is a state prosecutor and a federal prosecutor, and in both institutions, prosecutors (directly) investigate.
In some cases, investigations are conducted directly, and it is common to supervise and direct investigations by the police or the FBI.]
Prosecutors often initiate investigations on their own, he said, but in this case it is common to work with the FBI or the police, which have more investigative personnel and infrastructure.
[Attorney Kim Jun-hyun / Former Acting Chief Prosecutor of the Southern District of New York: In the case of the Trump case (currently under investigation), the prosecution started the investigation first.
Such cases are rarely investigated separately without the involvement of prosecutors.
When the prosecution started the investigation, 'this is going to get bigger', 'I think we need more investigators', then we can go to other investigative agencies such as the FBI.]
I asked how the prosecution works with other investigative agencies .
[Attorney Kim Jun-hyun / Former Acting Chief Prosecutor of the Southern District of New York: I lead (police) and this is not the case.
Then, if there is a conflict of opinion, then I will follow the prosecutor's instructions.
Because, once a case occurs, the court prosecutes the case, goes to trial, and the person who will do the job is the prosecutor.]
If the police investigation is insufficient, the prosecutor Kim explains that the prosecution conducts a complementary investigation together.
[Attorney Kim Jun-hyun / Former Acting Chief Prosecutor of the Southern District of New York: If the prosecutor thinks this is insufficient evidence, he says, 'You must not have this', 'Let's investigate more together'.
From the prosecutor's point of view, we can't prosecute until it is decided that this is enough.]
Attorney Kim said that we should be careful in separating the prosecution's investigative and prosecuting powers.
[Attorney Kim Jun-hyun / Former Acting Chief Prosecutor of the Southern District of New York: (Separation of investigation and indictment of the prosecution) is not the standard of the United States.
It's not an American standard.
Separating the prosecution from the investigation doesn't seem to be efficient (for case processing).] In
the United States, there has always been controversy over the political neutrality of the prosecution.
[Ted Cruz / Republican Senator (at the time of the Attorney
General Candidate Hearing in 2021): Looking back on the eight years of the Obama administration, I think the biggest problem is that the Justice Department was politicized and weaponized at that time.]
The reason why there is no argument that the system needs to be improved is because of institutional differences between Korea and the United States, such as the fact that it is impossible to conclude which one is more neutral between the police and the prosecution, and that they employ a jury system to keep prosecutors in check. I did.
(Video coverage: Lee Sang-wook, video editing: Won-yang)Keywords: