Definitions for Preliminary hearing

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  1. Preliminary hearing

    Within some criminal justice systems, a preliminary hearing is a proceeding, after a criminal complaint has been filed by the prosecutor, to determine whether there is enough evidence to require a trial. In the United States, the judge must find there is probable cause that a crime was committed. In Scotland, a Preliminary Hearing is a non-evidential diet in cases to be tried before the High Court of Justiciary. It is a pre-trial diet to enable the court to be advised whether both parties, the prosecution and the defence, are ready to proceed to trial and may also deal with ancillary procedural matters. At such a hearing, the defendant may be assisted by counsel; in U.S. jurisdictions, there is a right to counsel at the preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing is not always required. In the U.S., if the defendant is charged with a federal felony, [s]he has the right to an indictment by a grand jury pursuant to the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. The defendant is not entitled to counsel at grand jury proceedings, and indeed may not even know that a grand jury is considering his or her case. The conduct of the preliminary hearing as well as the specific rules regarding the admissibility of evidence vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Hearsay is typically allowed. Should the court decide that there is probable cause, a formal charging instrument will issue; and the prosecution will continue. If the court should find that there is no probable cause, then typically the prosecution will cease. Many jurisdictions, however, allow the prosecution to seek a new preliminary hearing, or even seek a bill of indictment from a grand jury.

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"Preliminary hearing." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2014. Web. 22 Aug. 2014. <http://www.definitions.net/definition/Preliminary hearing>.

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