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Chapter 13: Criminal Justice Process: Proceedings Before Trial

Booking and Initial Appearance
Bail and Pretrial Release
Information
Preliminary Hearing
Grand Jury
Felony Arraignment and Pleas
Pretrial Motions: The Exclusionary Rule
Plea Bargaining

Booking and Initial Appearance
U.S. 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.

New 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.

Federal 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.

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Bail and Pretrial Release
Bail Hearing
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.

The 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.

Definition 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?

Personal Recognizance Revoked
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 from fleeing.

U.S. Department of Justice Pretrial Statistics
Review the statistics of suspects who are released prior to their trials. Are there any statistics that surprise you?

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Information
Iowa 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?

Florida 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.

Pennsylvania: Information
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?

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Preliminary Hearing
Preliminary Hearing Defined
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?

Jack 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.

Preliminary 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?

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Grand Jury
Grand 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?

Federal Grand Jury
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.

American Bar Association
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.

History 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.

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Felony Arraignment and Pleas
VH1: 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?

Felony 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.

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Pretrial Motions: The Exclusionary Rule
Pleadings 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
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.

New 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 a summary of the case or listen to the oral arguments made before the Supreme Court.

Mapp v. Ohio
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 and investigations.

United 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.

USA 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.

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Plea Bargaining
FindLaw: Plea Bargains
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?

Plea 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.

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