Cases and Resources
13: Criminal Justice Process: Proceedings Before Trial
and Initial Appearance
Bail and Pretrial Release
Felony Arraignment and Pleas
Pretrial Motions: The Exclusionary
and Initial Appearance
Department of Justice: Initial Hearing
The initial proceedings before a trial begins are mostly administrative,
meaning that many of the questions and events are meant to
gather information about the defendant, but are not meant
to help the defense or the prosecution in the case or investigation.
Read about the initial hearing and what happens once the defendant
comes before the magistrate judge.
York City Booking and Initial Appearance Process
Learn about what happens to a person after arrest in New York
City. This legal aid organization breaks the process down
step-by-step to help people understand what the accused must
go through immediately after arrest.
Rules of Criminal Procedure
Explore the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to understand
what happens at an initial appearance and how a hearing is
conducted differently for a misdemeanor and a felony. These
rules apply only in federal court—state courts have
different sets of rules for criminal procedures, which may
vary from state to state.
and Pretrial Release
Examine the transcript of a real bail hearing in which militia
members are denied bail. The introduction to this transcript
reminds the reader that bail hearings are meant to determine
only if the accused meets the conditions necessary for release
on bail, not to discuss whether the accused is guilty or innocent.
Bail Reform Act
The Bail Reform Act, mentioned in your text, allows
a court to deny bail to specific suspects. Take a closer look
at this act and learn which offenses can prevent a suspect
from being freed on bail.
of Bail and Bond
Read an explanation of bail and bond from Nolo. Bail is meant to ensure that the accused will return to trial to reclaim the money paid for release. What other factors will a court consider in determining whether to release a suspect?
Examine the account of a defendant released on personal recognizance
who is sent back to jail after violating the terms of his
release. If a suspect does not alert the court before leaving
the court’s jurisdiction or violates the terms of his
release, the suspect may be sent back to jail to prevent him
Department of Justice Pretrial Statistics
Review the statistics of suspects who are released prior to
their trials. Are there any statistics that surprise you?
District Courts: Information Hearing
Browse this overview of the proceedings before trial in the
Iowa district courts, including a hearing for information
on the charge. Under what circumstances is this hearing held?
Department of Juvenile Justice: Pretrial Proceeding
As juveniles move through the juvenile justice system, information
hearings may be used to file formal charges against the suspect.
Read an explanation of this system.
This site offers the full text of the rules of information
in Pennsylvania state courts. What must be proved at these
hearings? What type of information is revealed?
Review a definition of the preliminary hearing and what happens
during this procedure. What must the prosecution prove to
a judge at this hearing in order for the case to move forward?
Kevorkian Preliminary Hearing
This news story describes the confidence of the prosecutor
before the preliminary hearing prior to the trial against
Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Dr. Kevorkian continued on to trial for
assisted suicide of terminally ill persons.
Hearing Witnesses (Murder Case)
This article describes the witnesses and information presented
by the prosecution in the Danielle van Dam murder case. How
did the prosecution prove that it had the evidence necessary
to support its case?
Jury in Police Assault Case
This news article discusses the grand jury process in the
case against San Francisco police officers for assault. What
questions will the grand jury answer?
Explore this site to learn more about federal and state grand
juries. Read the answers to frequently asked questions about
grand juries as well as questions about the independent prosecutor
Ken Starr and his grand jury. Do you have a question?—you
can post your question on this site for the author to answer.
Browse frequently asked questions and answers on the basics
of the grand jury system. This article describes the grand
jury in the United States, explains why grand juries are secret
and only convene on certain occasions, and identifies how
they vary across jurisdictions.
of the Grand Jury
The grand jury system is meant to give further protections
to individuals from excessive governmental harassment in their
lives. Explore the history of the grand jury and its evolution
in the United States.
Arraignment and Pleas
Courtney Love Drug Arraignment
Read this news article about rock-star
Courtney Love and her arraignment hearing for drug use. What
is her lawyer hoping the outcome will be? What will the prosecution
do at the hearing?
Arraignment: Sacramento, CA
Review the process of criminal charges in Sacramento County.
Misdemeanors are not prosecuted the same way as felonies.
Scroll down to felonies to learn about the arraignment hearings
performed for these charges.
Motions: The Exclusionary Rule
and Pretrial Motions
Pretrial motions are concerned with preparations for an upcoming
trial or efforts to have a case dismissed before the trial
happens. Browse this list of the pretrial motions available
for both prosecution and defendants.
The exclusionary rule is meant to protect citizens from unreasonable
searches and seizures. Read this thorough explanation of the
exclusionary rule to understand when and how the rule works.
Jersey v. T.L.O.
Read the full text of a case involving the suppression of
evidence. Was this an unreasonable search and seizure? Read
of the case or listen to the oral arguments made before the
Learn about the landmark case that made the exclusionary rule
applicable in state and federal courts. Read the text of the
decision and consider how this case changed criminal prosecutions
States v. Leon
The United States Supreme Court adopted a “good faith”
exception to the exclusionary rule. Read about this exception
in a summary of this case, link to the full text of the decision,
or listen to the oral arguments made before the Supreme Court.
Today: Judicial Integrity and the Exclusionary Rule
USA Today published an article on the need for the
exclusionary rule and how this rule contributes to the balance
of power in our government. Read this support for the exclusionary
rule and how it counters arguments that the exclusionary rule
allows some criminals to go free.
Learn the basics of plea bargains and your rights when entering
into a plea bargain. Who might choose to enter a plea bargain
instead of proceeding with a trial? Do innocent people ever
enter into a plea bargain?
Bargain in FBI Case
A spy was able to enter into a plea bargain with the FBI concerning
espionage committed against the United States. Read what the
FBI hoped to gain from this bargain and the problems and advantages
that come along with such a bargain.