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Preliminary Examination in Felony Cases Essay

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Updated: Nov 28th, 2019

Introduction

A preliminary examination refers to the very first substantive hearing in the presence of a judge in felony cases. A grand jury is a body that is elected to find out if the prosecutor has gathered appropriate evidence to warrant a trial in a particular case. The grand jury’s function is to serve as a channel for the cases of the highest degree to pass to the traditional trial system.

They also evaluate the evidence gathered by district or/and state if there is a fair base for an indictment. This role of the jury can be divided into various categories. Many of the juries analyze the facts presented by the prosecutor to find out if the charges are worth being filled. Other juries in a special category are given the mandate to investigate the case on their own. They also summon witnesses and access the private documents. They have the mandate to examine corruption cases in the government.

State grand jury plays the role in finding out whether there is enough evidence or reason for indicting the accused person or group. Unlike the state grand jury, the function of the trial juries is to decide whether the accused individual or group is guilty or not guilty of a crime that he is accused of.

There is a relationship between a preliminary examination and the grand juries because the grand juries are the ones to decide whether the accused should be charged or not after listening to the witnesses.

Preliminary examination is an individual right within the criminal justice system because it gives the defendant the freedom to speak and be heard by the judge and the court before any judgment is passed. The defendant confirms before the court whether he/she is guilty or he/she pleads not guilty. If he/she says that he/she is not guilty of the crime being accused of, then the court has to investigate the crime.

Pretrial detention

This refers to putting someone under custody immediately after his/her arrest before the court hearing. The individual is not guilty at this point. It also refers to detaining a person who is accused of committing a crime.

A person on pretrial detention is restricted on some activities due to security reasons. One can be in a pretrial detention because he/she cannot afford to bail him/herself out. This happens when the bail is set too high for the accused to be able to pay for it. The accused can also remain in pretrial detention when he/she has been denied bail by the court.

Criteria for bail

Denial of bail occurs if the accused has already been sentenced or if the court feels that the person mighty flight and not come back for the hearing. In some cases, the bailed money can be refunded to the accused after trial bearing in mind that all the proceedings in court have been done in the presence of the defendant.

In some countries, capital crimes are not bailed, leading to the accused remaining in pretrial detention until his hearing in court. The accused has the right to bail if the time to be in custody has expired unless there is a good reason to deny it (Bail Act 1976). In the Czech Republic, a bail is not put in consideration if the defendant can escape or if he is in a position to influence the witnesses.

Those who have committed serious crimes are also not bailed out. In England, the accused can be denied bail if the court believes that he is capable of committing other crimes while on bail or abscond. If the defendant is known to have a previous record of sexual offences, then he/she should rebut assumption against bail (Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994)

Jury

This is a group of people who are sworn to issue penalty or give judgment that is fair to all the sides involved. The mandate is given to them by the court. Their main role is to find the facts. They are to detect the truth or false in the cases assigned to them so as to determine whether the accused is guilty or not.

Though the judge is the one to lead the case and instruct the juries, his/her judgment will be based on what the juries conclude because they are the ones to get facts on a particular case and determine whether the accused is guilty or not guilty and to give the penalty if they think it is necessary. The juries are justified to give verdict because they live within the community and know the community norms. (Sanders 2008)

Conclussion

We should be sure that the juries are instructed properly and receive clear information by ensuring that each member of the body is an educated individual who has a clear understanding of the community’s norms as well as country’s law. These people should be open-minded and reasonable enough. Since the decision made by the jury is a group decision, each member should ensure that his/her views are heard before the decision is made. Juries should always base their judgment on factual findings.

References

Bail Act 1976, c. 63 SCHEDULE 1 (1976).

Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, c. 33 Part II Section 25 (1994).

Sanders, J. (2008) A Norms Approach to Jury “Nullification:” Interests, Values, and Scripts. Law & Policy 30(1):12-45. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9930.2008.00268.x.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Preliminary Examination in Felony Cases." November 28, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/preliminary-examination/.

References

IvyPanda. (2019) 'Preliminary Examination in Felony Cases'. 28 November.

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