Here is a definition from findlaw.com:
Usually held soon after arraignment, a preliminary hearing is best described as a “trial before the trial” at which the judge decides, not whether the defendant is “guilty” or “not guilty,” but whether there is enough evidence to force the defendant to stand trial.
I wanted to explain some of the questions that I’ve been receiving about preliminary hearings as of late.
So I went online and looked up some definitions which is the one above and can break it down a little more hopefully for more clarification.
*Preliminary hearings are much shorter than trials a typical preliminary hearing may take from a half hour to two hours and some pre-lambs only last a few minutes.
*Preliminary hearings are conducted in front of the judge alone without a jury. Trials can be conducted by judges alone when the defendant waives the right to a jury but preliminary hearings never involve a jury.
*The burden of proof, which is still on the prosecution, is much lower during a preliminary hearing that it is during a trial. At trial the prosecution has the burden of proving each element of the charged offenses beyond a reasonable doubt. But at the prelim, the prosecution has only to show probable cause that the accused committed the charged crimes. In other words announced evidence to justify a belief that a crime occurred and the defendant committed it.
*The goal of a trial is determined the defendant’s guilt. The goal of a preliminary hearing is to screen cases – to weed out week cases and protect defendants from out unfounded prosecutions. Unofficially, however, each side uses up limitary hearing to check out the other side evidence. As a matter of course, both the defense and the prosecution can not to put on so much evidence that they show their whole hand. And because the defense doesn’t have to, it often doesn’t put on any evidence at all.
Now what to expect at the preliminary hearing:
In reaching is probable cause decision the judge listens to arguments from the government, and from the defendant. The prosecutor may call witnesses to testify, and can introduce physical evidence in an effort to convince the judge that the case should go to trial. The defense usually cross-examine to government witnesses and calls into question any other evidence presented against the defendant, seeking to convince the judge that the prosecutor’s case is not strong enough, so that the case against the defendant must be dismissed before trial.
The Rules in a Preliminary Hearing
Many of the same procedural rules that govern trials apply in preliminary hearings. For example, ordinary witnesses (nonexperts) may testify only to what they have perceived; they may not give opinions. And the defense and prosecution may object to evidence and testimony offered by the other side.
However, one important difference between preliminary hearings and trials is that frequently hearsay evidence is admissible in prelims.
I did this is sketchy give you a little background some information about preliminary hearings and you see there are some differences and the standard of proof is not very high in a preliminary hearing.
The thing about this particular preliminary hearing it is very expensive it is reaching the $4,000,000-mark right now.
How long are the people of Stanislaus County are going to allow this to continue on, I would have no problem if they would put some information out there of some guilt or something was done here. I have been in court since November and have yet to see any evidence of any involvement of any of these defendants of a murder. The closest thing that came to that was the mother of an admitted murderer who testified to what she heard and testified nothing to what she saw were experienced herself. In addition this mother testified on the stand and it made it that she would lie for her son.
I personally think that something needs to be done, the Board of Supervisors need to have some pressure put on them to what is being done in this case and put a stop to it. It is obvious that the current DA in office is not willing to take the bull by the horns and take control of this situation. We need a call on our district supervisors and talk to them and let them know how we feel. People we need to start writing letters and showing up the Board of Supervisors hearings.
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