The case is State v.
Darmond and his codefendant were charged with drug trafficking and drug possession after allegedly receiving shipped packages containing marijuana. Before the trial, the prosecution and defense engaged in reciprocal discovery. During the trial, an investigator testified, and it became clear the prosecution had not given the defense all the evidence that should have been provided.
The agent had written seven reports, because there were seven packages delivered, but only two reports were provided to the defense. The other reports may or may not have contained information helpful to the defense. After hearing arguments from the prosecution and defense, the trial judge dismissed the case with prejudice the case could not be re-filed.
The decision by the court of appeals created a conflict among decisions issued by various Ohio appellate courts. The conflict in the appellate courts was related to the interpretation of a Ohio Supreme Court Case, Lakewood v. Though there are exceptions and variations in individual cases , the progression of a criminal case through the federal court system will generally take place as described below.
Federal charges are usually begun by way of an arrest, complaint or indictment. An arrest may be made without an arrest warrant, based upon probable cause; or with a warrant, based upon a complaint. When a complaint is submitted to a judge by law-enforcement officials seeking an arrest warrant, the allegation of probable cause to arrest will be set forth in an affidavit sworn statement attached to the complaint.
STATE v. ATHON
The complaint and affidavit will be presented to a judicial officer, who, upon deciding that the affidavit sufficiently describes probable cause to believe that the charged individual committed a federal offense, will issue the requested arrest warrant. If the allegation is insufficient, the warrant should not issue.
Where arrest has been made without a warrant, a complaint and affidavit will be prepared for presentation to the magistrate at the defendant's first court appearance. The government will sometimes bypass the complaint and arrest stage of this process entirely, by taking its evidence directly to a grand jury, and obtaining an indictment a formal charging document. Thereafter, the government will often seek the issuance of a judicial summons, in lieu of arrest, requiring that the indicted defendant appear in court at a designated time and place. Either by phone or in person if arrested an individual charged with a federal crime may be contacted by an officer of the federal Pretrial Services Agency.
This may happen before or after the defendant the accused person has had a chance to speak to a lawyer. The officer's job is to obtain information, both from the defendant and from other sources, about the defendant's background; so that the information can be presented to a district judge or magistrate judge to assist in resolving questions related to pretrial detention, release on bond and pretrial supervision.
The officer will make a bond or detention recommendation to the judge.
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A person charged with an offense is not required to speak with the pretrial services officer, particularly if he has not already seen a lawyer. If he chooses to speak, he should be complete and truthful in his answers, but he should not be asked about or say anything which is directly or indirectly related to the offense as to which he has been arrested or charged. Information given to the pretrial services officer may later be used in determining a sentence, in the event of a conviction.
A person who chooses to speak to the pretrial services officer may wish to say nothing about prior criminal activity or prior convictions, for the following reasons: 1 because criminal history is a very significant sentencing factor; 2 because the officer will have computer access to a criminal records data base; and 3 because a mistake on the defendant's part in providing information could be construed as an attempt to provide false information.
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Under provisions of the federal sentencing guidelines, providing false information, even by mistake, could result in exposing the defendant to a more severe sentence than would otherwise apply, if he is eventually convicted. A person may choose to say nothing at all to the pretrial services officer until after speaking to a lawyer, particularly if he has reason to believe that the prosecutor will recommend that he be detained without any bond until trial.
If a person cannot afford to hire a lawyer prior to the first appearance in court, the court may sometimes provide him with a financial affidavit form to be completed as an aid in appointing counsel. This form is a sworn statement. A person should be accurate in the information that is put on the affidavit. Sometimes, instead of the form, the magistrate will question a person directly about his financial circumstances. The magistrate will then decide if the accused person qualifies for representation by a lawyer from the Federal Public Defender Office, or other court-appointed counsel.
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If he qualifies for appointment of counsel, and it is determined that the Federal Defender's Office cannot represent him, the magistrate will appoint a lawyer in private practice who has been determined to be qualified to represent people in federal criminal matters. The court-appointed attorney's fees will be paid by the federal government; but the attorney's principal responsibility is to serve the interests of the client. After an arrest, the officer making the arrest is required by a rule of criminal procedure to take the arrested person before the nearest available magistrate "without unnecessary delay.
If the person requests a lawyer and qualifies, the magistrate will appoint a lawyer to represent him. The magistrate will also inform the arrested person of certain rights concerning the making of any statements, and the right to a preliminary hearing or detention hearing, if appropriate. The magistrate will address the question of release from custody on bond. A federal statute provides that a person should not be kept in custody solely because of lack of money, but may be kept in custody upon the magistrate's decision, after a detention hearing, that he is a risk of flight or danger to the community.
At his first appearance before the magistrate, an accused person is not required to answer questions about the charges which have been brought against him. At the first appearance, the prosecutor may request that the defendant be held without bail until trial. If he does, the defendant is entitled to a detention hearing, to determine whether or not he should be held without bail.
This hearing is usually held within three days of the first federal court appearance. The prosecution or the defense may request a later hearing date under certain circumstances. Between the time of the prosecutor's detention request and the time of the detention hearing, the defendant will be held in custody. At the hearing the magistrate will determine whether, under the facts of the case, and considering prior criminal convictions, if any, the defendant will be released prior to trial, or detained in a jail until trial.
If released, the defendant will be under supervision of the Pretrial Services Agency, and may be required to provide urine samples for drug testing, surrender a passport, and comply with restrictions on travel or residence. The court may set many other conditions of release. If a person is charged with a drug trafficking crime or a crime of violence and has been previously convicted of a similar offense, the law may impose a presumption that detention is appropriate. This means that the defendant and his lawyer have the burden of convincing the judge to release him pending trial.
Many defendants are detained while awaiting trial due to this presumption. These matters should be discussed with the lawyer to determine how best to proceed at the detention hearing. If the magistrate orders pretrial detention, the defendant will usually be housed at a county jail, for a number of months, pending trial.
Technically, he remains in the custody of the U.
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A person is entitled to a preliminary hearing within ten days of the initial federal court appearance if he is in custody or not later than twenty days if not in custody , unless the person extends the hearing date, waives the hearing, or is indicted by a grand jury. The magistrate may also find that extraordinary circumstances exist, and that further delay is necessary in the interest of justice. Frequently, the preliminary hearing and the detention hearing are combined, and held at the same time. A preliminary hearing is a court appearance at which evidence is presented.
The hearing allows a judicial officer to consider the evidence and determine whether or not the case should be "bound over" to a grand jury for return of a federal charge, called an indictment. The prosecutor is required to present evidence at a preliminary hearing to convince a judge that there is "probable cause" to believe that the defendant committed the offense charged. The defendant is not required to testify at the preliminary hearing, or present any evidence. If the magistrate determines at a hearing that probable cause has been shown, the case will be "bound over" to a federal grand jury for indictment.
Whether or not a preliminary hearing would be useful is a matter the lawyer will discuss with the defendant. Generally, any public statements made throughout these initial stages of the criminal process may be used against the person who made them. The arrested person should obtain a lawyer as early in the process as possible, so that he may become fully and properly advised about what, if anything, he should say, and about the decisions he must make. At some point in the process, sometimes before arrest but usually within three or four weeks of arrest, the prosecutor will present evidence to a grand jury.
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Neither the defendant nor his lawyer will usually be present. If the grand jury decides that there is enough evidence against the accused to justify charging him with a crime, then the grand jury will issue a formal charging document, called an indictment, stating the exact charge s.
In some cases, it is appropriate to waive that is, give up the right to indictment and permit the government to file an "information". An information is also a charging document. It has the same effect as an indictment, but charges are brought by way of information only if the accused consents. The filing of an information bypasses the grand jury process. If waiver of indictment is an option, the lawyer will discuss it with the defendant. Arraignment After return of an indictment, the accused will be scheduled for an arraignment before a District Court Judge or a U.
Magistrate Judge. It is often the case that counsel is appointed at the time of arraignment. At the arraignment, the charges are read, or the accused may waive the formal reading, and the accused will be required to enter a plea to the charges. A plea of "not guilty" is usually entered at arraignment so as to give the defense attorney time to investigate the case and research applicable law, and to obtain discoverable materials; that is, certain case-related documents and information required to be disclosed by the prosecutor.
Evidence will rarely be taken at the arraignment, and it is usually a brief proceeding. At the arraignment or shortly thereafter, the court judge will commonly set dates for discoverable evidence to be disclosed and for motions to be filed, and set a date for trial. From this point on, the defense lawyer will be gathering the facts and considering the law that applies to the case.
This is necessary in order to advise the client of the strength of the prosecutor's case, defenses he may have, the possible sentence he may face, and whether the lawyer feels that the client's interests are better served by a trial or by a plea of guilty to one or more of the charges. Each case is different. Complicated cases take more time to investigate, evaluate, and prepare for trial than do simple cases.
Complexity of defense issues and necessary preparation time are not necessarily related, however, to the number of charges in the indictment, or to sentence exposure, or to the amount of time expected to be needed for the prosecution to present its evidence at trial. Simple charges can generate a complex defense, or vice versa.