In an example of the broad powers of prosecutorial discredition, Chicago prosecutors dropped all 16 felony charges against Jussie Smollett. The actor had been previously accused of staging a fake hate crime against himself and then lying to police about it. Without reversing on the allegations from Chicago PD, the DA’s office dropped the charges after Smollett agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bond and perform community service.
According to DA Kim Foxx, the crimes may not have been serious enough to merit pursuing further, given that Smollett wasn't likely to face jail time. Kim Foxx said, “This is a Class 4 felony — We recognize that the likelihood that someone would get a prison sentence for a Class 4 felony is slim.” (Quote, as reported by NPR).
A prosecutor's duty is not necessarily to bring charges whenever a crime is committed, but rather more broadly to pursue justice. DAs may choose not to pursue prosecution when they believe it may not be worth public resources or that further punishment is not required.
For a discussion on the broad prosecutorial powers with former federal and state prosecutors, click here.
For the official statement from the Cook County State's Attorney dismissing Smollett's charges, click here.