The Criminal Defense Process Part 10 - What happens at Pretrial Conference?
In this video, I am going to talk about pretrial conference in the context of a criminal defense case. Now, any time you are going to have a trial, whether it is a jury trial or a bench trial, you are going to have a pretrial conference or a final pretrial conference right before trial. This usually happens just a couple of days before the trial is to begin, and what happens at the pretrial conference is a lot of different things. First, if there are some pending motions in limine, the judge will usually rule on those to decide what is going to come in as evidence, what is not going to come in as evidence, and how you are going to address concerns that you, or either the state or your criminal defense lawyer has about how evidence is going to be presented in the case. They will also talk about the timing of the case, how long the case is to be expected, how long they anticipate the voir dire will take and kind of lay out a road map so that both the state and criminal defense lawyer and you are all on the same page as how this trial is going to go. Now, obviously they cannot anticipate everything that is going to happen at trial, and the judge will have to deal with problems that may arise, but this time, this pretrial conference, is basically there to get out every single thing, iron out every single problem, that either side can anticipate. This is also done to save time. This pretrial time is going to limit a lot of the back and forth between the lawyers on the day of trial which will make the trial go a lot quicker. Depending on the judge, the judge may go ahead and pull jurors or establish the jury pool. This would be a time when you get juror questionnaires and things like that. Anything that we can do to limit the amount of time that trial takes will be handled at a pretrial conference. One of the final things that happens at a pretrial conference is because at this stage, your lawyer and the state’s lawyer are ready for trial, they have looked at all of the evidence, they have looked at all of their own discovery and the other side’s discovery in most cases, and they are going to have a very good sense of what is going to happen with the case and where their weaknesses are in the case. So, this is a good time, if there is any middle ground, to be had on a plea some sort of thing that can be done in exchange for dismissal, then this is a very good time to flush out any opportunities. If you have any other questions about a pretrial conference in a criminal defense case, if you have any other questions about the criminal defense process or are in the element of the criminal defense process, please view our website, www.copleyroth.com.
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