Criminal Procedure: Lesson III
The Constitutional Protection is that the Commonwealth must establish evidence that a crime has been committed and evidence that the client is the one who did the crime before the case proceeds. The determination is whether the Commonwealth can establish a Prima Facie
case. Here is the definition of that term from the website https://dictionary.law.com
: (pry-mah fay-shah) adj. Latin for “at first look,” or “on its face,” referring to a lawsuit or criminal prosecution in which the evidence before trial is sufficient to prove the case unless there is substantial contradictory evidence presented at trial. A prima facie case presented to a Grand Jury by the prosecution will result in an indictment.
Example: in a charge of bad check writing, evidence of a half dozen checks written on a non-existent bank account makes it a prima facie case. However, proof that the bank had misprinted the account number on the checks might disprove the prosecution’s apparent “open and shut” case.
Whether to have this hearing or not is up to the client. As the client you are the one to choose whether you will have this hearing or whether you decide against it. Our job is to provide you counsel; our job is not to make your decisions for you.
ADVICE FOR THIS HEARING
Dress like you are going to trial.
– Listen to your attorney’s advice. If you choose MCP, we have lots of experience and good relationships with the District Attorney’s, Judges, and Law Enforcement. We know how these hearings regularly turn out depending on the evidence and bail originally set.
– This hearing is very important because you can cement testimony of witnesses or acquire deals from the Commonwealth. Act like it.
– Your presentation and demeanor toward the District Magistrate and others will go far for you during this early hearing.