There are a lot of prosecutions that never see so much as jury selection. The defendant may plead to a lesser crime, or the prosecutor decides that there is not enough evidence for a conviction, or the law isn’t on the side of the state for some reason.

The assistant district attorney or district attorney sometimes make that decision, no matter who is asking for the prosecution — the police, the government, the victim’s family.

In some cases, the top prosecutor in the state makes the call.

That would be the Attorney General, Janet Mills.

When Janet Mills makes decisions about whether a particular crime is to be prosecuted, or whether a lawsuit that the governor wants to bring is allowed, she is relying on her legal background that includes a degree from the University of Massachusetts and a J.D. from the University of Maine School of Law, a stint as Assistant D.A., an election to District Attorney for Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford Counties, a long stretch of working in a law firm with her brother, former Republican State Senator Peter Mills, a few terms in the Legislature, serving on the Criminal Justice and Judiciary Committees, a couple of years’ teaching criminal law at the University of Maine at Augusta, and of course her experience as Attorney General from 2008-2010 and 2012 until now.

In short, she’s not making the decisions lightly, and in view of lawsuits she has allowed to go forward, she is not making them politically, either.

Yes, Mills and Governor Paul LePage belong to two different parties. But Mills has allowed hundreds of LePage’s regulatory changes to go through without a hitch, holding up just a handful that don’t seem to pass legal muster. Recently, she gave approval to a new law allowing welfare officials to drug test recipients who had been convicted of drug felonies in the last 20 years. Her reasoning was that the final bill would pass the U.S. and Maine constitutions, while the earlier versions would not have done.

Not content with his victories, LePage has taken punitive action against the AG’s office, and has informed state agencies that, contrary to Maine law, they do not have to submit changes to Mills’ office for legal review.

The grudge match continues, even though Mills easily won a new term in a divided Legislature.

Gov. LePage has no legal background. Although he wants a lot of things — removing young adults from MaineCare, for instance — he has to rely on Mills’ expertise to decide whether its worth throwing tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars at his wish list. She has to make the decision about whether the case is strong enough legally to move forward.

But rather than accepting her verdict, LePage decided to go around her and hire lawyers to push his ill-fated cases against the federal Health and Human Services department. He spent $50,000, and still did not get the answers he wanted.

That is not Janet Mills’ fault. She informed the governor that the cases were legally weak; he chose to ignore her legal advice.

But Maine law requires that the attorney general approve plans to bring in private attorneys. Mills has done that twice after declining to represent the administration. LePage now wishes the High Court to look at the law and determine whether it is in fact legal for him to have to ask. The court will hear arguments late next month. He is also planning to propose legislation that would make the AG an elected office. While the argument for an independent AG has merit, the Legislature would have to approve it, and they won’t.

The Legislature sees the Attorney General as an important part of the checks and balances system in Maine’s state government.

Better that the governor try to make amends with his AG, so that the two of them can be pulling together for Maine’s people. But it will always be the top lawyer’s job to decide whether a case is worth prosecuting, or a lawsuit is worth filing. LePage will have to come to terms with that reality.