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The grand jury is made up of a group of 16 jurors. If the defendant pleads "not guilty", the next hearing will be scheduled. It is usually held within 30 days of the guilty verdict. So the verdict is decided by a jury in most cases. The sentencing and penalties for a felony conviction is determined and ordered by the Arizona Superior Court Judge.
Arizona Crimes have penalty ranges penalty charts assigned to them. The judge will order a sentence within that range that contains a minimum and maximum sentence within the sentencing guidelines. In this forum the defense and the prosecution both present evidence, to compel the judge on the ruling of an appropriate sentence. Many factors are considered the judges determination of the length and severity of the sentence including evidence or testimony as to the following list not exhaustive :.
A criminal sentence should be commensurate or appropriate for the crime committed within the penalty range for the crime.
What Happens in a Felony Case
Sentencing must be humane and not cruel or unusual punishment in accordance with Arizona State and Federal Laws and Constitution. Having your case heard in Superior court is a serious matter. You will need a solid and proven criminal defense or DUI lawyer who is experienced in litigation and trial services to defend you. In some cases, the defendant will be detained without bail. The purpose of this hearing is to determine whether there is evidence to find probable cause to believe that the defendant has committed the offense charged. The burden is on the United States Attorney to produce sufficient evidence to support this finding.
The United States Attorney does not have to prove at this hearing that the defendant is guilty, but must present evidence to show that there is good reason to proceed with the charges against the defendant. The date for this hearing will be set at the initial appearance. Usually the law enforcement officer alone can give sufficient evidence that there is probable cause that the defendant has committed the offense.
Occasionally, witnesses may be subpoenaed to testify. If you receive such a subpoena, you should get in touch with the Assistant United States Attorney who is handling the case as soon as possible. A grand jury is a group of twenty-three 23 citizens from the same judicial district who meet to examine the evidence against people who may be charged with a crime. The work of the grand jury is not made available to the public or, in most cases, to the defendant.
Only an Assistant United States Attorney and a stenographer meet with the grand jurors - plus those witnesses who are subpoenaed to give evidence. Although a grand jury proceeding is not a trial, it is a serious matter. Witnesses are put under oath. Their testimony is recorded and may later be used during the trial. It is important to review carefully what you remember about the crime before you testify before the grand jury. You must tell the truth. Before testifying before the grand jury, you will probably meet with the case agent or the Assistant United States Attorney.
This will help you get ready for your grand jury appearance. After hearing the evidence presented by the Assistant United States Attorney, the grand jury will decide whether the case should be prosecuted. Grand jury charges against a defendant are called indictments. If the grand jury finds that the case should not be prosecuted, they will return a no true bill, which means that no indictment will be issued.
Not every witness in a serious crime is called to testify by the grand jury. Sometimes the grand jury will issue indictments on the basis of an officer's testimony alone. If you are called to testify, the Assistant United States Attorney should be able to give you an approximate time when your testimony will be heard.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to schedule testimony to the minute. Your appearance may involve some waiting to be called before the grand jury itself, so we recommend that you bring some reading material along with you. All witnesses who testify before the grand jury, except federal employees, are entitled to the same witness fee and expenses which are available for testifying in court at trial.
In this hearing, a Magistrate Judge formally informs the defendant of the charges, which are contained in the indictment, and his or her bail conditions are reviewed. Witnesses are usually not needed at this hearing.
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Usually at this hearing the date is set for the case to be heard at trial. Before the trial, the court may hear motions made by the defendant or the United States. These may include motions to suppress evidence, to compel discovery, or to resolve other legal questions. In most cases, witnesses are not needed at the motions hearing. If a witness is needed at this hearing, s he will receive a notice from the United States Attorney's Office. At some time before the trial date, the Assistant United States Attorney in charge of the case may contact you by letter or phone asking you to appear at a witness conference to prepare you for trial.
The purpose of this witness conference is to review the evidence you will be testifying about with the Assistant United States Attorney who will be trying the case. You are entitled to a witness fee for attending this conference.
In other cases, if the offender is not at the scene, the police will usually need an arrest warrant, issued by a judge, before they take the person into custody. The police must gather information and evidence and determine whether there is a sufficient basis for an arrest warrant.
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Again, the question that police must answer is whether there is probable cause to believe a crime was committed and the person accused was the person who committed it. The police can consider many kinds of evidence and information in determining whether there is probable cause to arrest someone, including:.
This type of evidence, if sufficient to establish probable cause, will support an arrest or a request for an arrest warrant. If the police do not arrest the offender but there is evidence of a misdemeanor or petty crime less serious offenses than a felony the police can file a criminal complaint or other charging document in court. This will be mailed to the defendant and requires the defendant to appear in court and answer to the charges. If the police arrest the accused person, the prosecutor will review the police report and determine whether the government can proceed on the charges.
The question for the prosecutor is whether the government can, with the available evidence, prevail at trial. To win at trial, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime. This is a higher standard of proof than mere probable cause. If the charges are felony crimes , the prosecutor must present the evidence to a grand jury or to a judge in a hearing known as a probable cause or preliminary hearing. Note that there is also a different kind of " probable cause hearing ," which can be a quicker proceeding that asks whether there was a valid basis for arrest.
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This kind of probable cause hearing frequently occurs in conjunction with an arraignment or initial appearance. At a probable cause hearing well after the date of arrest, the grand jury or the judge must determine if there is enough evidence to proceed to trial. The test for the judge or grand jury is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but whether there is enough evidence to conclude that the defendant most likely or probably committed the crime.
If the charge is for a misdemeanor or petty crime , the prosecutor decides whether to prosecute the case in a lower court where lesser crimes are heard.
If the prosecutor decides there is not enough evidence to make a case, the prosecutor can dismiss any charges filed by police or elect not to issue a criminal complaint or charging document. A victim cannot force or require the prosecutor to pursue a case, but the prosecutor is more likely to pursue criminal charges if the victim is cooperative. While this can be very frustrating for the victim, the victim does not have the authority to make a final decision about prosecution except in very special circumstances that are explained below.
A prosecutor also can decide to pursue a case even if the victim tells the police or the prosecutor that he does not want to press charges. Television and Hollywood movies sometimes create the impression that the victim decides whether to press charges and, therefore, whether the offender will be subject to criminal prosecution.