Description: A felony case in which the defendant and the victim are adults and are not related to each other
Determination of Counsel
This is held in General District Court. The defendant informs the court if he is hiring an attorney or is financially unable to and requests to be assigned a public defender. The victim is not present.
Determination of Hearing
General District Court: the court, prosecutor, and defense attorney agree to a date for the Preliminary Hearing. No witnesses appear.
General District Court: a scheduled court event with testimony under oath. The judge, defendant, defendant's attorney, the prosecutor, and any victims or witnesses subpoenaed are present. The prosecutor must present evidence to the judge to prove that a crime has been committed (known as probable cause). The prosecutor will put on minimal evidence so as not to provide the defense with too much of the prosecution's case. If the prosecution proves probable cause, the case is certified to the Grand Jury. The victim's testimony is usually required.
A group of six citizens, randomly selected, determine the validity of the charges against the defendant. The only person who testifies at Grand Jury is the law enforcement officer involved with the case. If the Grand Jury validates the charges they certify them to the Circuit Court, called returning a True Bill. The Grand Jury meets the first and third Mondays of every month. If a Grand Jury date falls on a holiday, the Grand Jury will meet the following Tuesday.
Trial by Court
A court hearing, held in Circuit Court, where a judge determine the guilt or innocence of the defendant. The victim's testimony is usually required.
Trial by Jury
A court hearing held in Circuit Court with a jury of 12 citizens, randomly selected, who determine the guilt or innocence and in most cases, recommend a sentence. A guilty verdict must be unanimous to convict the defendant. The victim's testimony is usually required.
This is held in Circuit Court. A formal proceeding in which the judge reviews the recommendations of the jury, victim impact statement(s), and the defendant's pre-sentencing report. The judge also hears testimony concerning the defendant, the crime, and possibly testimony from the victim(s) and imposes a sentence on the defendant. The defendant's sentence is given at the end of this hearing. The victim(s) may attend.