Articles Tagged with trial law

https://www.chicagocriminallawyerblog.com/files/2017/01/U.S._Court_House_Chicago_Ill_72168-300x194.jpgUpon arrest, a defendant is normally taken through a preliminary hearing according to the provisions of statutory instrument number 725 ILCS 5/110-5. This is a critical step for the defense lawyers because that is when a finding of probable cause is considered. It can be undertaken by either a judge in chambers or the grand jury. The litmus test is the preponderance of evidence. This evidence is adduced through testimony and some limited cross examination by the prosecutor. Defending attorneys sometimes complain that this stage of proceedings is so obviously dominated by the prosecutor that they can literally set the agenda from the word go.

The finding of a probable cause then leads to the arraignment and assignment. The rules and practice in Chicago is to take no more than two weeks after the preliminary hearing or grand jury indictment. The presiding judge first assigns the defendant his trial judge. This is the senior judicial officer that will hear the case right through the determination of innocence/guilt, including the consequent punishment phase. The reason for using one judge are rooted in the need to ensure consistency and fairness. In any case, it is expected that the trial judge will have an intimate knowledge of the case which might become critical when handling matters of appeal.

Advice from Seasoned Attorneys

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Incompetency to stand trial is not the same thing as a defense of “not guilty” by reason of insanity, for the simple reason that an individual accused of a crime may be “sane” and in charge of his mental faculties at the time he shot his victim, with a complete understanding of the nature of his act when the crime was committed, but lacking in such understanding after the arrest, to a point where the court may declare him incompetent to stand trial.

Jason Dalton has Been Declared Competent to Stand Trial

Recently in the news, Uber driver Jason Dalton was held to be competent to understand the charges against him, and to assist his attorney in his defense. Dalton is the 45 year old Kalamazoo, Michigan man who was arrested and charged as the alleged shooter who randomly targeted and killed six people in the area.