At the time of the setting of the bond the Defendant will be given this form. It will be signed by the Magistrate Judge and the Defendant. It will give the date and time for the defendant to make an initial appearance. The first or initial appearance will be at 9:00 a.m. and usually is two months after the bond is set.
The First Appearance
What happens at this hearing depends largely on whether or not the Defendant is represented by an attorney. If the the defendant is represented by an attorney, that attorney may appear on behalf of his client. The Solicitor's office is to have provided discovery or have it available for the attorney by this hearing date.
However, if the Defendant is not represented he or she MUST be present or a Bench Warrant will be issued. If the unrepresented Defendant is present, the court will inquire as to what the Defendant plans to do about representation. The Public Defender's Office is present to screen those seeking representation by their office.
The Second Appearance
This hearing is held two months after the first appearance. At this hearing the court will inquire as to whether or not a case will be a trial or a plea. Defense attorneys who have been retained MUST appear at this hearing. The hearing is usually held at 2:00 p.m. Once the defendant's attorney announces "trial" or "plea" the case will be moved to an appropriate docket. A date will not be given at this hearing, but the Clerk of Court will notify the attorney of the date and time of a plea. Cases announced as a "trial" are subject to being called for trial on the next published trial docket.
If a Defendant is still unrepresented he or she will be informed the case is now subject to being called for a jury trial and that a Defendant may be subject to proceeding without an attorney. The Public Defender's Office is present again to screen those who have not yet applied for their services.
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