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.

Just for information:


1010 10th Street, Ste 6500
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District 1
William O’Brien

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(209) 525-4440
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District 2
Vito Chiesa

(209) 525-6440
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District 3
Terry Withrow

(209) 525-6560
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District 4
Dick Monteith

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Jim DeMartini

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  1. Board of Supervisors…? more like the board of stupor-visors. They will not do anything… they are afraid of a backlash from the D.A’s office the Police and Sheriffs offices and their unions once the election cycle rolls back around and they might lose their seat of authority. So, don’t look for them to do anything. The best thing residents of the county can do..? is to VOTE Birgit Fladager out as the D.A…. because she is the one orchestrating this particular circus.. not to mention of course, that this seems to be a common thread that runs through the entire county judicial system, just look back at the recent history and it is a pronounced problem.

    1. dawg417 – I am the guy people love because I am so honest, But then they get pissy when I do the same with them.
      dawg417 says:

      That means 2 more years of Fladager, so you suggest to do nothing at all?
      that how we got into this situation in the first place.

      1. Not suggesting “do nothing at all”. Far from it.

        My point is this, the board will not do anything because they are more concerned with holding their seats on the board. They are not going to risk the political backlash that removing the D.A. may cause them.

        Writing the letters and attending the meetings is definitely called for, but keep in mind that the board is probably more concerned with maintaining the status quo, rather than exposing themselves to the criticism of the DA’s political and media-press machine.

        Probably the best one on the board to approach is De Martini.. (in my opinion) so far he is the only one of the board members bringing up the costs involved in what is now the 2nd longest preliminary trial in the History of the State of California. (second only to the McMartin Preschool case).

        1. thanks for the info. I tried to google longest prelims and could only find the McMartin case too. I thought there has be a few more that lasted this long. At the snails pace this is going, if Judge Z doesn’t toss it, it could get close to the McMartin case that I believe was 18 months? I mean shouldn’t the DA’s office have gone to the defense lawyers and solved this translator issue at the very start? Very important testimony and they spent what? 2-3 days just doing that 9 months into the trial? What exact date did this prelim start?

          1. dawg417 – I am the guy people love because I am so honest, But then they get pissy when I do the same with them.
            dawg417 says:

            It appears the DA is not interested in solving these issues as they want to do it as they seem fit, like bringing in two witness’s not scheduled on Monday, the having them sit all day long to just be rescheduled. There was no notice for the defense to prepare and Is trial by ambush. The DA is always using the “trial by ambush” whine with some of the defense issues. she likes to play the victim.
            And yes the Mc Martin pre school was the longest prelim in this state at 17 months and this case is the 2nd longest in this state.
            I do not remember the exact date of the start but it was around the end of October.
            Just for comparison the OJ prelim in LA took 1 week.

            1. Being in law enforcement and knowing the most of the lawyers around here, can you think of someone that could be placed on a recall petition to replace her?

              1. dawg417 – I am the guy people love because I am so honest, But then they get pissy when I do the same with them.
                dawg417 says:

                She is a elected official and cannot be simply replaced, but can be recalled or she could resign, (not very likely)
                There would have to be a special election or wait until the next election

            2. You know, one would think now that this is the second longest in Ca, that is a very, very, news worthy item for the Bee to print. Front page story with headline “Kauffman Case Becomes Second Longest in California History”.

              1. dawg417 – I am the guy people love because I am so honest, But then they get pissy when I do the same with them.
                dawg417 says:

                You would think so, maybe they are reading our comments right now so they can be informed.
                I had a recent contact with the Bee and they told me they have provided “extensive” coverage of this case.
                BTW they reported this case as the 3rd most important story of 2015.

  2. Remember California has Direct Democracy- initiative referendum and recall

    Ask ex-Governor Gray Davis who was recalled in 2003 and replaced by the Terminator!

    Hell I think you can start a petition this morning to recall Fladager, and the board of supervisors if you can convince enough people. I would just go for Fladager though. Maybe you can get her recall on the ballot for the Nov. elections.

  3. dawg417 – I am the guy people love because I am so honest, But then they get pissy when I do the same with them.
    dawg417 says:

    A Fladager recall may pick up steam real fast right now……

    1. If people were presenting the recall petition near the court house that might get the DA’s office to start changing their behavior a bit. If it got rolling enough it would bring media attention to the wrong doings too. People might start asking questions. Just need enough people to sign it and shake things up a bit.

      I believe on the petition you must have a person who will replace her if put on the ballot. Are there any good candidates anyone reading can think of? Someone that might be not be a close associate to Carson, but is non-the-less fed up with what is going on? Even an attorney in the DA’s office would be a nice choice if they are just fed up with what is going on in their work place.

watcha gotta say?

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