California Preliminary Examinations and 995 Benchbook: Statutes and Notes
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Originally designed as a brief hearing to weed out groundless felony complaints, the preliminary examination has become, perhaps, the most important stage of the criminal process. Set in court soon after the filing of the criminal complaint, the examination is the time and place for the superior court judge, called a magistrate during these proceedings, to determine the sufficiency of the evidence against the accused and to consider motions to suppress that evidence. When the prosecution satisfies its burden of proof, the defendant is bound over for trial. When it fails to do so, the magistrate dismisses the complaint and discharges the defendant. Each of these decisions is reviewable in the superior court.
However, the significance of the examination, commonly referred to as the preliminary hearing, far exceeds this screening. It provides an opportunity for the prosecutor and defense lawyer to assess the respective strengths of their cases. Depositions and interrogatories are foreign to California criminal procedure. Thus, the examination is the only pretrial occasion for counsel to require the attendance of a witness and examine that witness on the record.
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Table of Contents
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
CHAPTER 1 THE TIMING OF THE HEARING
CHAPTER 2 THE ROLE OF THE DEFENDANT AT THE HEARING
CHAPTER 3 LIMITATIONS ON THE RIGHT TO A PUBLIC HEARING
CHAPTER 4 THE HOLDING ORDER
CHAPTER 5 CERTAIN EVIDENTIARY RULES AT THE HEARING
CHAPTER 6 SPECIAL RULES IN SEXUAL OFFENSE CASES
CHAPTER 7 REVIEWING THE MAGISTRATE'S DECISION
CHAPTER 8 THE GRAND JURY
TABLE OF CASES
TABLE OF CODES