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Lecture 25-Pretrial Activities

Lecture 25-Pretrial Activities - Pretrial Activities...

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Unformatted text preview: Pretrial Activities Examining Processes Before Trial Pretrial Activities Many of the steps discussed here occur in courts of limited jurisdiction. First appearance (Initial hearing) Grand jury or Preliminary hearing The arraignment stage, although a pretrial stage, is ordinarily found at the level of courts of general jurisdiction Process discussed here…for felons Pretrial Activities First Appearance Also known as the initial appearance The defendant is brought before a judge… Formal notice of charges Advised of rights Retain attorney or have one appointed Bail/Pretrial Release? Pretrial Activities From the time arrest, it is generally accepted that procedural rules require that no more than 48 hours pass until the initial appearance Pretrial Activities First Appearance may also involve a probable cause hearing… Sometimes the probable cause hearing is held as a separate hearing and, in many jurisdictions, the probable cause hearing is combined with the preliminary hearing Pretrial Activities A probable cause hearing is necessary when arrests are made without a warrant … At the probable cause hearing (whether it is a separate hearing or at the initial appearance, for example), a judicial officer reviews police documents and reports to determine if probable cause supports the arrest… Pretrial Activities The review of the arrest is informal and seeks to ascertain whether the officer, at the time of arrest…believed: A crime was committed or being committed and The accused is the person who committed the crime or was committing it Pretrial Activities The initial pretrial release/detention decision, usually made by a judicial official is concerned with two types of risk: Flight/nonappearance Public safety Pretrial Activities In assessing release, the following are considered: Seriousness of current charge Prior criminal record Information about ties to the community, prior releases, drug abuse history Available release options given above information Pretrial Activities Bail is the most common mechanism for release Bail serves two purposes: Help ensure reappearance Prevents unconvicted persons from suffering incarceration Pretrial Activities Bail involves the posting of a bond…as a pledge (or promise to the court) to return for future hearings Bail bonds usually involve cash deposits, but may be also based on posting property or other valuables, and a fully secured bond requires the accused to post the entire amount of the bail amount specified by the court. Pretrial Activities There are a number of alternatives to bail Bail: a mechanism by which people may be released into the community Bail bond: a document guaranteeing return… (insurance) Release on recognizance – no $; promise Third-Party Custody – a third part promises return of accused…an attorney, for example Unsecured bonds – no $, so long as s/he returns…court-based program Pretrial Activities Grand Jury: The Federal Gov’t and about half of states use GJ to determine probable cause Was a crime committed Does it appear that the person arrest is related to the crime Was the crime committed within the jurisdiction of the court Pretrial Activities Grand Jury Private citizens comprise the GJ They do not determine guilt…just probable cause…should the case move forward to trial? If so, the GJ votes in support of the indictment…the formal charging instrument in the GJ system…the support is referred to as “true bill”…no support to move forward is a “no bill” Pretrial Activities Grand Jury The GJ, usually 23 citizens, votes on whether the indictment should be supported…that the prosecutor move ahead. Pretrial Activities Grand Jury GJs actually have two functions… Our focus is primarily on the accusatory function GJs MAY have an investigatory function Pretrial Activities Preliminary Hearing The “information” is the formal charging instrument of the preliminary hearing system. The judge decides on whether there is probable cause to move ahead… Pretrial Activities Most jurisdictions: If evidence supports information or indictment…the accused is bound over for arraignment… Arraignment In court of general jurisdiction Purposes: Inform defendant of charges Enter plea Pretrial Activities Arraignment Plea…guilty, not guilty, nolo contendere (no contest…guilty) Guilty…most states, PSIR…and Disposition date Not Guilty…trial date…jury/bench trial…admission of evidence Bail is considered throughout the process…have things changed??? ...
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