Q:

What is a "preliminary examination" in court?

A:

Quick Answer

A preliminary examination is a court hearing in which the prosecutor must prove to the judge that there is enough evidence and probable cause for a case to go to trial, according to Cornell University Law School. The hearing does not determine the guilt of the defendant.

Know More

Full Answer

Many criminal cases have preliminary examinations before the trial. However, in some cases, preliminary examinations, or hearings, are not necessary. According to Cornell University Law School, in federal criminal cases, no preliminary examination is conducted if the charges are for a petty offense, the defendant waives the hearing, the defendant is indicted or the federal government presses misdemeanor charges.

Cornell University Law School explains that if the prosecuting attorney proves there is enough evidence to prove probable cause that the defendant is guilty of the crime, the judge orders the case to go to trial. If the judge rules there is not enough evidence, the case is dismissed and the defendant is released. If the case is dismissed, the defendant may still face charges for the same crime if new evidence is uncovered.

During the preliminary examination, the prosecuting attorney introduces evidence and questions witnesses to prove probable cause. According to Tennessee State Courts, the defendant has the right to cross-examine these witnesses during the hearing.

Learn more about Law

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Can I avoid a subpoena?

    A:

    A person cannot avoid a subpoena simply by not being present and if the person is served with a subpoena and does not appear in court then the individual can be punished for contempt of the court, reports Cornell University Law School and the Zurin Institute. However, most of the time the subpoena cannot be issued unless there is an existing civil, administrative or criminal proceeding.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How does the writ of habeas corpus affect the court?

    A:

    The writ of habeas corpus is an important judicial right affecting court proceedings in that it empowers a detainee to petition the court and have the State justify its decision for detention, according to Cornell University Law School. The right has been expanded to allow state prisoners to petition federal judges.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What information should a subpoena form contain?

    A:

    A subpoena form should state the name of the issuing court, including its seal, and the title of the proceeding, and it must direct respondents to follow the directions it provides, according to Cornell University Law School. A subpoena directs its addressees to adhere to its directive by taking specified actions at a given time and place. The actions include attending court and testifying, as well as producing documents, information or tangible items in a person’s possession or control.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are convicted murderers?

    A:

    A convicted murderer is an individual tried in a court and found guilty of violating criminal law by killing someone, according to Cornell University Law School. Sentencing of a murder convict is state-specific, based on mitigating factors in the case and elements of the crime, reports FindLaw.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore