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Why Prelim. Hearing AND Grand Jury?

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  • Why Prelim. Hearing AND Grand Jury?

    This kills me...Why must my state have both...the Preliminary hearing doesn't really matter anyway because if it gets thrown out, it is usually still presented to the Grand Jury.

    What benefit is there to having both? Why not just a Prelim. or just a Grand Jury hearing?

    signed: RookieCop
    Last edited by TJx2; 03-03-2011, 09:33 PM.

  • #2
    ??? Something I really like about California is streamlined procedures. Felonies either get a prelim or go to the grand jury for an indictment. Indictments are extremely rare around here, though. Also, peace officers are allowed to give hearsay testimony at prelims to keep the victims and witnesses from having to make multiple court appearances. No hearsay at trial, though.
    Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

    I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

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    • #3
      No hearsay here. We go straight to Grand Jury for indictment in sensitive cases where the victim will have to testify. (such as Rape, Child Abuse, etc...) The arrest off the indictment rather then getting an arrest warrant and having to fool with the victim having to testify twice!

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      • #4
        I have often wondered this. I have literally seen the same judge who signed a warrant throw it out at a prelim. I have also seen cases not get bound over for trial at a preliminary and the prosecutor takes it to the grand jury anyway and indicts it there, so why waste the time?
        Be dangerous, and unpredictable... and make a lot of noise. - John Bush, Anthrax

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        • #5
          The only thing judges are allowed to decide in a prelim here is 1)did a crime occurre and 2) is it probable that the defendant is the one who committed the crime.

          Officers can testify to what victims and wittnesses told him. Attorneys may not go outside the scope of direct questioning. In other words if the prosecutor didn't bring it up, the defense attorney can't ask about it.

          A typical dope prelim can go by real fast. The DA will never ask why you contacted somebody or why you searched them. This prevents the defense attorney from digging for it during prelim. If he wants those answers he has to go for the suppression hearing.

          It's very rare to get a prelim tossed out.
          Today's Quote:

          "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
          Albert Einstein

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          • #6
            Been asking myself this for years. Only answer I can come up with is the PH is simply another safety net to ensure the defendants' due process rights. PH's also serve to show the defense the level of evidence prosecutors have in the case.

            Hell, we've had hundreds of cases where the defendant comes to court for a charge(s) already in the process via arrest warrant and they get hit with a grand jury indictment/capias charging with the same thing they're in court for that day! Never understood that one but it's been going on forever.

            I get paid the same regardless
            sigpic
            Our houses are protected by the good Lord and a gun.
            And you might meet 'em both if you show up here not welcome son.

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            • #7
              Grand Juries are almost NEVER used in Iowa..............For the most part they are only used in politically significant cases.

              99.9% of the time Prelims are waived also................The DA files written charges with notes of expected testimony...............& both sides stipulate to that.
              Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

              My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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              • #8
                Originally posted by mdrdep View Post
                The only thing judges are allowed to decide in a prelim here is 1)did a crime occur and 2) is it probable that the defendant is the one who committed the crime.
                Actually it provides the defense with an (early) opportunity to challenge the legality of the stop/arrest and seizure of evidence. If the court rules in their favor, the case could (and should) end right there. Motions to suppress are routinely made and dealt with during preliminary hearings. If the court rules for the prosecution on those issues, the case might go to trial, but it's far more likely to result in a negotiated plea. Because trials are so expensive and consume so many (limited) resources, preliminary hearings offer a lot of advantages when you're dealing with cases that don't need to go to trial.
                Last edited by pulicords; 03-04-2011, 01:10 PM.
                "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."

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                • #9
                  Weird. Grand Juries in my state are used to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed with FELONY charges against a defendant.

                  GJ's here will indict a ham sammich... it's just a hoop to step through for the prosecution.

                  Any type of hearing comes after the fact.
                  All Gave Some - Some Gave All

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                  • #10
                    It comes down to rights of the accused. If you have a felony (misdemeanors are different in most places) habeas corpus requires you to see the nice judge when in custody within a certain amount of time (preliminary hearing). If you're facing a felony you have the additional right to be to have your charges established by grand jury, thus requiring a nice visit to the grand jury. However, since most places don't necessarily have grand juries just ready in a back room (we have usually have them meet once a week in my neck of the woods) it requires at least two hearings.

                    Additionally, when you go to grand jury you have to have enough evidence ready at the time of grand jury to establish full PC. Since most felonies are more in depth investigations this often requires some scrambling to get ready in time. Having grand jury a couple days later helps this some (but still ticks of the DA...at least in my experience).

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                    • #11
                      In California, the judicial review within 48 hours of arrest is via a probable cause form completed by the officer upon arrest. The forms are delivered to the on-call judge or the duty judge on regular work days. Arraignment is within two judicial work days of arrest. Felonies will have a preliminary hearing set within 10 judicial days of arraignment. As was posted above, the prelim is the review to determine if there is a strong suspicion that a felony occurred and that the defendant committed it. If the defendant is held to answer, the case is set for trial. There is no right to a grand jury review. The only right to a jury is for a trial, as that is where guilt is determined.
                      Last edited by ateamer; 03-05-2011, 11:57 PM.
                      Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                      I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Weird...here misdemeanors and felonies are treated the same with respect to PH and Grand Jury. Both have arraignment set with 2 days and PH within 10 days if they wish.

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                        • #13
                          Here the PH must be done with in 48 or 72 hrs in the jurisdiction of the arrest. A PH simply is to decide if there is enough to go forward. Local town court judges can't do Felony trials, but they can do the PH. All Felony trials are done in city court or county court. If we cant find a felony suspect most times we send it to the Grand Jury for a warrant. Grand Jury testimony is the easiest thing in the world cause there is no defense attorney. Besides I get OT every time I go to court so the more hearings the better!!!!!!!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by pulicords View Post
                            Actually it provides the defense with an (early) opportunity to challenge the legality of the stop/arrest and seizure of evidence. If the court rules in their favor, the case could (and should) end right there. Motions to suppress are routinely made and dealt with during preliminary hearings. If the court rules for the prosecution on those issues, the case might go to trial, but it's far more likely to result in a negotiated plea. Because trials are so expensive and consume so many (limited) resources, preliminary hearings offer a lot of advantages when you're dealing with cases that don't need to go to trial.
                            The defense can challenge search and seizure in the felony trial court pursuant to Penal Code § 995 if there is an indictment.
                            Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
                            Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

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                            • #15
                              In Wisconsin we have Grand Juries for Federal Cases. On the State level Preliminary hearings are held within ten days of issuing Felony charges unless the time limit is waived. The preliminary hearing is to determine if probable cause exists that a felony was committed by the defendant. In most counties these hearings are in front of a judge but in Milwaukee County most prelims are held in front of a Court Commissioner. Most preliminary hearings I testified in turned out to be mini trials that a public defender used to show the defendant how screwed they were. After the prelims the guilty pleas roll in.

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