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Pre-Trial Procedure.

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Presentation on theme: "Pre-Trial Procedure."— Presentation transcript:

1 Pre-Trial Procedure

2 Pretrial Stages The screening process of pretrial stages eliminates from the judicial process about half of all the persons arrested.

3 Bail and Other Methods of Pretrial Release
A bail bond or bail allows suspects or defendants to remain free while awaiting the next stage in the adjudication process. It is not a fine, but an incentive to appear.

4 bail bond or bail Usually a monetary guarantee deposited with the court that is supposed to ensure that the suspect or defendant will appear at a later stage in the criminal justice process.

5 Bail and Other Methods of Pretrial Release
The amount of bail generally depends on: The likelihood that the suspect or defendant will appear in court as required The seriousness of the crime The suspect’s prior criminal record Jail conditions and overcrowding

6 Bail and Other Methods of Pretrial Release
If a judge believes that a suspect or defendant would pose a threat to the community, the judge can refuse to set bail. This is called preventive detention.

7 Bail and Other Methods of Pretrial Release
For people who cannot afford to post bail, professional bonds people are available to post it for them for a nonrefundable fee, typically 10% of the required amount. Suspects who post their own bail get it all back after they appear.

8 Bail and Other Methods of Pretrial Release
When the crime is minor and suspects or defendants have ties to the community, they are generally released on their own recognizance.

9 Information If the decision is made to prosecute a defendant, in states that do not use grand juries, the prosecutor drafts a document called an information. The information outlines: The charge or charges The law or laws violated The evidence to support the charge or charges

10 Grand Jury The alternative to filing an information is a grand jury.

11 grand jury Generally a group of 12 to 23 citizens who meet in closed sessions to investigate charges coming from preliminary hearings or to engage in other responsibilities. A primary purpose of the grand jury is to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that the accused committed the crime or crimes.

12 Grand Jury Before appearing before a grand jury, the prosecutor drafts an indictment. indictment A document that outlines the charge or charges against a defendant.

13 Grand Jury Because the grand jury has to determine only probable cause: Only the prosecution’s evidence and witnesses are heard In most jurisdictions, the defendant does not have a right to be present Prosecutors are allowed to present hearsay or illegally obtained evidence

14 Grand Jury In addition, prosecutors have the authority to subpoena witnesses.

15 Grand Jury Court may summon 200 persons for grand jury service
Purging the grand jury Eliminating persons who have compelling reason not to serve (family, business, health reasons) Actual grand jury is selected at random from those not initially excused.

16 Grand Jury Proceedings
After swearing in the grand jury, the judges charges the grand jury No formal charge A speech to members about history of grand jury and duties Warning of grand jury secrecy After the charge, the judge turns it over to the prosecutor

17 Grand Jury Secrecy Only persons present are the grand jury members, court reporter, prosecutor and witnesses Defendant not present Defense counsel not present Witness may bring lawyer for consultation

18 Grand Jury Procedures Grand jurors may ask questions of witnesses
After introducing evidence and witnesses, the prosecutor draws up an indictment for grand jury to consider. Pros summarizes evidence and why supports charge. Prosecutor leaves the grand jury for them to deliberate. If indictment approved, foreperson signs the true-bill and indictment. Grand jury and prosecutors then hands up the indictment. Judge reviews Indictment is filed as a public record

19 Arraignment If judge finds probable cause at preliminary hearing or grand jury indicts, the next step is arraignment. Defendant appears in court and hears the charge and enters a plea.

20 Arraignment Not guilty Not guilty by reason of insanity
Possible pleas Not guilty Not guilty by reason of insanity Nolo contendere (no right to plead nolo-judge must approve) Guilty

21 Pre-Trial Motions Request by either side for judge to decide an issue before trial begins Motion may be oral or in writing Opposing side has opportunity to object

22 Pre-Trial Motions Double jeopardy Speedy trial Change of venue
Common pre-trial motions address the following: Double jeopardy Speedy trial Change of venue Change of judge (recusal) Suppression of evidence

23 Plea Bargaining Justice in the U.S. is dispensed mostly through plea bargaining. There are three basic types of plea bargains: The defendant may be allowed to plead guilty to a lesser offense. A defendant who pleads guilty may receive a lighter sentence. A defendant may plead guilty to one charge in exchange for the prosecutor’s promise to drop another charge.

24 Plea Bargaining The bargain a prosecutor will strike generally depends on three factors: The seriousness of the offense The defendant’s criminal record The strength of the prosecutor’s case

25 Plea Bargaining There is neither a constitutional basis nor a statutory basis for plea bargaining. Plea bargaining developed out of custom, but has been upheld by the Supreme Court.

26 Plea Bargaining Plea bargaining is widely used because of several factors: It reduces uncertainty in the criminal justice process. It serves the interest of the participants Prosecutors get high conviction rates. Judges reduce their caseload. continued…

27 Plea Bargaining Defense attorneys spend less time on each case and avoid expensive trials. Defendants get lighter sentences than they might have gotten from juries, and can avoid conviction on stigmatizing crimes such as child abuse.

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