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What does signing a waiver of arraignment mean?

Maylene, AL |

I'm being charged with a felony, that I did not commit. The public defender wants me to sign a waiver of arraigment. I don't know if that's the correct option, as this is my first offense of any sort. There's also the possibility of suing the county of which this person is employed, for police brutality and wrongful imprisonment.
Am I signing away my rights?

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

First and foremost, your attorney is your very best resource for answering this and any other questions you have about your case.

At the very least, an arraignment is a proceeding at which a person charged with a crime is informed of the charge against him and is asked to enter a plea. Some details regarding arraignment process and procedures vary across states and according to court rules (again, talk to your lawyer).

Typically, a waiver of arraignment states that the defendant has been informed of and understands the charge against him and is willing to forego the formal arraignment proceeding. Arraignment is a more critical stage in the judicial process in some states than it is in other states. Whether the waiver must be more / less detailed or more / less formal depends on the state, court, level of charge, and circumstances. So . . . (you probably know what I'm about to say) . . . your lawyer is in the best position to answer your questions and advise you.

Best of luck.

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5 comments

Asker

Posted

I'm being represented by a public defender. Does he have my best interest in mind?

Paul Vincent Kendall

Paul Vincent Kendall

Posted

He has the same ethical obligations in representing you as any attorney, whether hired or appointed. Be sure that you are completely forthcoming and candid with him about your case and your wishes, and talk to him about any questions or concerns you might have.

Asker

Posted

Let me begin by thanking you for taking the time to attempt to help me. You are the only one !! Maybe more information would help you to help me. I am unemployed and trying my very best to get medical and food assistance from this same county; thus the reason I can not afford an attorney. I called the Shelby Co.,AL. Task Force to my home to take possession of a small amount of marijuana and rolling papers. There was also a note addressed to my son, stating that the 'syringes' were left in the car. As a mother I was concerned with what was happening in my 2 sons lives. Neither would acknowledge or take responsibility of the pot or the note. I called my local police, Alabaster, AL., asked for suggestions on how to handle the matter. They told me to call Shelby County. They came to my home, I gave them all I had found, two of them said they were waiting in the drive, while the other two went to get a warrant to search a gun safe that I have never had access to.After four-five hours later, one of the Task Force brutes, asked me to step outside with my purse. As I had been doing all along, I cooperated and followed him out of the house. That's when he informed me that I was being arrested for all the things that I had called them out to take possession of. They handcuffed me and talked to me like I was scum. I lost it, wondering why this was happening to me and why they didn't arrest me inside the home. That's when I freaked out and ran from the driveway to the garage door, that led into the house. Two of them body-slammed me against the wall, took me by my hair and beat me unconscious, in front of my boys, in the kitchen. I had a broken nose, six stitches to my forehead, not to mention the nightmares of mine and my two sons. This happened Sept. 21, 2010 and I received a call from the defender to appear in the Grand Jury courtroom Oct.4, 2011, for the felony charge of 'escape'. Has your opinion changed? Wouldn't an arraignment be a way of a jury hearing my case ? Aren't the brutes who beat me up, suppose to be held accountable? Most of the officers in Shelby county, including two different public defenders, are of the opinion that I have the perfect opportunity to finally slow them down, via lawsuit, and that in their opinion, it was very unnecessary for 2 grown men to beat a 115 lb, 5'2" tall woman's face in the floor. I'm scared to disclose my name, etc...because this is one of the BIGGEST backwoods judicial systems, I've ever had the misfortune of being involved with. Thankfully, Abused Mom

Paul Vincent Kendall

Paul Vincent Kendall

Posted

I'm sorry you were treated that way and that you were injured. Obviously, I don't have to tell you that it's not a good idea to ask the police to your home under those circumstances! Regarding the arraignment, you are not giving up your right to a jury trial by waiving arraignment -- BUT, as said in my original answer and follow up: Talk to your attorney. A public defender is under the same ethical obligation to defend you to the best of his / her ability as is any other attorney who might defend you. Most public defenders really do act accordingly. As for the way you were treated by the officers, I suggest you consult with an attorney who represents plaintiffs in police brutality / misconduct actions. Typically, civil rights or personal injury attorneys handle these cases; although some criminal defense attorneys do, too. If your case is in a small community and local politics are a concern (and it sounds like they might be), look for an attorney from a larger town nearby.

Asker

Posted

Once again, thank you for your advice. Since I am in such a financial bind, do you know of any attorneys, that you would recommend, in the Birmingham Area, that would represent me,( pro bono), I believe that's the term I'm looking for!?

Posted

I'm a Pennsylvania lawyer but I'm pretty sure it means the same thing there. Arraignment is when you are formally charged by the DA. You are informed of your rights, usually to request discovery, file certain motions such as suppression etc. If you have an attorney, he or she will take care of those things for you and should know the time limits. I have all my clients waive their arraignments.

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