At this setting, usually within the first day or two of arrest and booking, a judge decides what release conditions are appropriate under the circumstances. The judge also must find evidence to exist to hold people without bond. It is important to be represented at this proceeding, because the judge should know certain facts, such as whether or not the defendant is a flight risk; whether there is substantial evidence to hold the defendant; and whether or not the defendant has strong ties to the community.
Status Conference / Preliminary Hearing
This phase provides an opportunity for early resolution of less serious cases, and holds the date for a finding of probable cause, either by preliminary hearing or grand jury indictment. Sometimes this phase is skipped at the discretion of the prosecution on more serious cases.
This is the time when, after indictment, formal charges are announced and sometimes release conditions are imposed, if not already.
Initial Pretrial Conference
At the IPTC, or Initial Pretrial Conference, plea offers and discovery are tendered, and a discussion is held on and off the record regarding case posture, plea offers, deadlines, and outstanding discovery.
Comprehensive Pretrial Conference
At the CPTC, often times plea agreements are entered, motions are filed, deadlines are discussed, and orders regarding discovery may be entered.
Final Trial Managment Conference
This final pretrial conference is set a week or two before trial, just to see if there are outstanding motions or there are conflicts regarding the trial date, etc.
At trial, a jury is usually selected the first day. Defending upon the felony charge, either 8 or 12 jurors will hear the case. Then opening statements are given, first by the state and then by defense; the state then presents its case, followed by the defense, with each side having the ability to cross-examine the other party's witnesses; finally, closing arguments are given and the jury deliberates to verdict.
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