Pre-Trial: Case Screening (3. Grand Jury Hearing (Purposes (Sword (Ask…
Pre-Trial: Case Screening
3. Preliminary Hearing
The judge must find from the prosecutor’s evidence that there is probable cause to suggest the crime was committed, and that the crime was committed by the defendant.
Right to Counsel
The preliminary hearing is a “critical stage” of the prosecution, so states must appoint counsel to assist the criminal defendant.
6th Amend; Coleman v. Alabama
A conviction may be vacated to determine whether denying counsel at this stage was “harmless error.”
There is no error if the lawyer would not have learned anything helpful at this stage.
3. Grand Jury Hearing
Ask questions, gather evidence, and investigate crime.
Keep the executive from harassing citizens with ill-founded prosecutions.
No Right to Counsel
Neither the criminal defendant nor any witness is entitled to an attorney.
The grand jury is not part of the judicial branch, b/c it can investigate crime without the court’s prior assent.
U.S. v. Williams
If the grand jury’s decision is based solely on hearsay, it is still legal.
Illegally-obtained evidence is admissible.
The court cannot compel witnesses to answer questions that would be self-incriminating.
5th Amend; Hoffman v. U.S.
The witness does not need to furnish a link in the chain of evidence for a legal violation.
Blau v. U.S.
The witness retains the privilege when claiming to be innocent in front of a grand jury.
Ohio v. Reiner
If a witness is granted immunity from testifying in federal court, this applies in state court (and vice-versa).
Murphy v. The Waterfront Commission
Does Not Apply
The witness may implicate a third person by answering questions before a grand jury.
Rogers v. U.S.
The government may establish an independent source for all of its evidence.
U.S. v. North