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Criminal Justice Process: Proceedings Before Trial

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1 Criminal Justice Process: Proceedings Before Trial
Chapter 13 Street Law Text pp

2 Booking and Initial Appearance
Before a criminal case is scheduled for trial, several pretrial actions must take place, that are usually standard in every case Booking and Initial Appearance Booking- Formal process of making a police record of the arrest– In Processing– Name, address, birthday, employment, previous arrests, fingerprinting, mug shots Possibly DNA [from fingernails or hair], urine or blood tests for drugs/alcohol Usually there is an initial hearing before a judicial officer where the defendant is given information on their rights and the charges against them Arraignment- usually in a felony case where the defendant enters a plea [guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere]

3 Bail and Pretrial Release
Bail- Amount of money posted by a defendant to be released from jail prior to their trial The purpose of bail is to assure the court that the defendant will return for trial Bail is usually set by the crime committed, the likely hood of fleeing, and the safety of society in general. Usually a bond of 10% [of total bail] is required to be released from jail If the defendant cannot come up with that amount they usually go to a bail bondsman who posts the 10% for a fee or may have to pay the entire amount of bail If a defendant skips out on the bail the bondsman will send a bounty hunter after the defendant to offset his losses! Personal Recognizance-Personal bond, a person must promise to return for court. Usually this person must be of low risk of fleeing, and not a threat to society at all Conditional Release- is when a defendant is released prior to trial with one or more conditions [Drug/Alcohol treatment, House arrest, Work release, etc] Pretrial Detention- No release at all prior to trial


5 You Be the Judge p. 159

6 Felony Arraignment and Pleas
Information Information- Formal accusation of the defendant, detailing the nature and circumstances of the charge Used when there is enough evidence to show the court the defendant should be tried [in place of indictment, or a preliminary hearing] Preliminary Hearing Preliminary Hearing- Screening process in felony case to determine if there is enough evidence to try a defendant During the hearing the defendant may have an attorney, present evidence, and cross examine witnesses.. If the judge dismisses the case the prosecution may request a grand jury Grand Jury Grand Jury- Group of that review evidence to see if there is enough to charge a person with a crime Indictment- Formal charge brought by a grand jury Felony Arraignment and Pleas After an indictment, information, or preliminary hearing the defendant is required to appear in court and enter a plea– Guilty, Not Guilty, or Nolo Contendere- No Contest- The defendant does not admit guilt but does not challenge the charges [treated like a guilty plea, no trial]

7 Pretrial Motions Pretrial Motion- Formal request prior to a trial that the court must rule on or take some action on Motion for discovery of Evidence Request to examine evidence gathered by prosecutor Motion for a Continuance Request to have more time to prepare for trial Motion for Change of Venue Request to move the trial to another jurisdiction, usually because an impartial jury can not be found Motion to Suppress Evidence Request that certain evidence not be allowed during the trial Motion to Dismiss Request to have the case dismissed by the Judge, prior to trial, because of lack of evidence [as seen by the defense]

8 The Exclusionary Rule The 4th Amendment protects citizens against “unreasonable searches and seizures”. The Supreme Court has put “teeth” in this by creating and enforcing the: Exclusionary Rule-Evidence that is illegally seized cannot be used at trial to convict a person The rule does not stop a person from being arrested or tried but may cause difficulty in proving guilt Judicial Integrity-Courts should not be a party to lawbreaking by police or prosecutors Deterrence-Measures taken to discourage criminal actions usually by punishment of some sort…… In the case of the Exclusionary Rule it attempts to deter police from violating the 4th Amendment


10 Plea Bargaining Only about 10% of all criminal cases go to trial
Most people plead Guilty or Nolo Contendere The most common of these are those that sign a traffic citation and send their fine to the court, this is usually a separate class of crime [traffic violations] but can be a misdemeanor Plea Bargaining-Accused agreeing to plead guilty or Nolo Contendere in exchange for a lesser charge Plea Bargaining is obviously very common, it saves tax payers money, and ensures that there is a conviction, even if it is for a lesser charge


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