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Criminal Procedure
Villanova University School of Law
Dobbyn, John F.

Criminal Procedure Outline Fall 2006
Section A: Structure of Court System
1.         State Court System
2.         Federal Court System
Section B: Right to Counsel / Right Against Self-Incrimination
1.         Due Process
2.         Right to Counsel
3.         Miranda v. Arizona
4.         Weakening of Miranda v. Arizona: “The Miranda Mellon”
Section C: Fourth Amendment Right to Privacy
1.         Reasonable Expectation of Privacy.
2.         Admissibility of Illegally Seized Evidence
3.         Probable Cause / Search Warrants / Searches Without Warrants.
Basic Information on Criminal Procedure:
A crime is only a crime because a statute or ordinance makes it one.
Otherwise would be a civil action.
Judges do both Civil and Criminal cases.
A.1 –State Court System
District Court Level Process:
Suspect is brought before judge “as soon as is practible.”
Suspect informed of charge.
Suspect asked if he has counsel
If Yes: Court waits for counsel to show.
If No: Court appoints counsel for you.
Must show proof that you lack means to afford counsel.
Possible pleas for suspect:
Defendant admits crime.
Possible shorter jail sentence.
Saves state the trouble of trying the case.
Judge must interrogate suspect about why he’s guilty for plea to be valid.
The innocent sometimes plea guilty for other reasons.
90% of cases are settled with this plea.
Is not perjury to plead not-guilty when you are guilty.
“Suspect stands on his constitutional right to a trial.”
Tactic: Always have client plea not-guilty in initial stage until bargaining has been completed with other side.
No Contest (Nolo Contendere)
Not an admission of guilty or innocence, just a mere acceptance of punishment.
Requires the judge to accept it first.
Typically done so under limited circumstances.
Suspect does not have a criminal record after time served.
All pleas must be made in presence in counsel.
Pre-Trial Conference
Defendant still has the option to change plea.
Often happens post-bargaining
Pre-Trial Motions
Motions to suppress evidence occurs here.
District court:
May try any criminal case where max. potential penalty is less than 1 year in prison.
Statutes that enforce a crime typically state maximum penalties possible.
Rules were established when state courts were statutorily formulated.
Based on a complaint.
Filed an signed by police officer and/or a citizen.
No stenographer.
Provided only if client can afford it.
Can plead necessity of having one to judge, but most show why need exists.
Tried in front of a judge.
No jury present.
Possible Verdicts:
Everyone goes home.
Defendant cannot be tried for the same crime ever again.s
Defendant has an absolute right to appeal to the next level and try case to a jury.
This step vets out a lot of cases.
Court Of Common Pleas Process:
Case can come to this court one of three ways:
Appeal from a conviction in the district court.
Indictment by Grand Jury.
Defendant waives right to a grand jury, fastracks to trial.
Indictment by Grand Jury.
Jury of 23 lay people.
Highly secret operation, sworn to silence.
D.A., Bailiff, Stenographer present.
D.A. runs the show.
No judge.
Jury finds probable cause to believe that you are a suspect of a crime, and that a crime has been committed.
Necessary step to be tried for a major crime.
Indictment given to judge.
Judge issues bench warrant for suspect’s arrest.
Suspect arraigned.
Defendant waives right to indictment by grand jury
Fastrack to trial.
Advantageous when you know you can be cleared of a crime.
Rumors in the process ruin business or reputation.
Trial Process:
Jury empaneled.
“Petit Jury”
12 jurors in the box, 3-4 alternates
Selection process:
                                                              i.      Defense: 5 peremptory challenges
1.      10 challenges if murder trial.

                                                                 ii.      Constitutionality of the Allen Charge has been questioned, but held constitutional by SCOTUS.
3.      Double Jeopardy does not apply.
Sentencing (If guilty)
Judge sets date for sentencing
                                                              i.      Typically within two weeks of verdict.
Probation office interviews family, friends, employers, criminal record to determine how heavy a sentence is appropriate.
Sentencing Hearing
                                                              i.      Prosecution goes first, suggests sentence.
                                                            ii.      Defense makes an argument.
                                                          iii.      Defendant’s elocution.
1.      May make any plea to judge he wishes not under oath.
                                                          iv.      Judge sentences defendant.
                                                            v.      Capitol case: Jury has to come back.
Appellate Court (notice of appeal).
Assume one court of appeal: State Supreme Court.
Allowable grounds for appeal:
                                                              i.      Questions of law only.
1.      Arise every time judge makes a decision.
2.      Grounds must be in the written record.
a.       Has to be in the form of an objection.
b.      If not, you waive your right to appeal.
Prosecution does not have right to appeal.
Oral argument heard from both sides.
If conviction reversed: