: English for Law Students. 2 year. Part 2 - ( ..)


: 1775

Unit 3 preliminary hearing


1. What is a preliminary hearing?

2. What happens during a preliminary hearing?

3. Who is/are involved in pre-trial procedures?


B1. Study the words below and try to memorize them.





grand jury () ( 12-23 , )

insufficient ;

dismiss1) ( ); ( ) 2) (


cross-examine ( )

adversarial ,

challenge 1) ; | ; 2)

(, ) |

on sbs behalf = on behalf of - -. ; -. information 1) 2) 3) 4)


nolo contendere ( )

motion ( )

insanity 1) , 2)

B2. Read the text and be ready to do the tasks below.


Under federal criminal procedure and in about half of the states, a person

must be indicted (formally charged) by a grandjury before a felony trial can take place. Other states provide for a preliminary hearing, also called a preliminary examination, after the initial judicial appearance. In a few states a prosecutor may take a case to a preliminary hearing, or avoid that public process by going to a grand jury, which holds its proceedings in secret.

In both types of proceedings, a neutral body - either a group of citizens or a judge reviews the case against the accused and decides whether he or she should be tried. These proceedings are designed to review the government's decision to prosecute in order to prevent governmental abuse of power. If, after hearing the evidence, the presiding judge or grand jury finds there is probable cause to believe the accused committed the offense, legal proceedings against the accused continue. If the prosecution's evidence is found insufficient, the charges are dismissed and the accused is released. However, the person can be rearrested and recharged if the prosecutors develop or find further evidence supporting the charge.

The grand jury typically hears only the evidence presented by the prosecution. The accused does not have a right to be present at grand jury proceedings, which are conducted in secret, or to present evidence or crossexamine the prosecutions witnesses. However, some states permit someone under investigation to present evidence to the grand jury under certain circumstances. If the grand jury finds sufficient evidence to justify a trial on the crime charged, it issues an indictment a formal document containing a plain statement of the facts constituting the offense charged.

A preliminary hearing is a public, adversarial proceeding in which the prosecution and the defense briefly present their cases to a judge. The accused, represented by counsel, is entitled to challenge the prosecutions evidence and introduce evidence on his or her own behalf. The judge decides whether sufficient evidence exists to justify a trial. As an alternative to grand jury indictment, the prosecutor can issue an information, a document roughly equivalent to an indictment.

Once the formal accusation has been issued, the accused is referred to as the defendant. A copy of the accusation is given to the defendant before he or she is arraigned.

At the arraignment, which takes place in the court in which the defendant will be tried, the indictment or information is read. The defendant is called upon to answer the charge by pleading not guilty, guilty, or nolo contendere (no contest). Before pleading, the defendant may file a formal document, known as a motion, asking the court to dismiss the case. A judge can dismiss the charges if, for example, he or she concludes that the grand jury was not properly assembled or determines that the conduct charged does not constitute a crime. If the defendant does not make such motion or if the court denies the motion, the defendant must enter a plea.

If the defendant pleads guilty, there is no trial and the case is set for sentencing. With the court's permission, the defendant may be allowed to plead nolo contendere. This plea has the same consequences as entering a guilty plea, but it does not require the defendant to admit guilt. A plea of nolo contendere can be especially important if a person charged with a crime also faces a civil lawsuit stemming from the same event. If the defendant pleads guilty to the criminal charge, the plea can be used against the defendant in a civil lawsuit. If the defendant refuses to enter a plea, a not guilty plea is entered. Some states have added a special plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. If the defendant pleads not guilty, the case is set for trial.

B3. Answer the questions to the text.

1. What are the two types of criminal procedure?

2. How different are they?

3. What is done to prevent governmental abuse of power?

4. What is an indictment and when is it issued?

5. What is an alternative to grand jury indictment?

6. What happens at the arraignment?

7. What are the consequences for the defendant to plead guilty, not guilty, or

nolo contendere?

B4. Find these phrases and expressions in the text.


b) ; - c)

d) ,

e) 󠠠 󠠠 (


f) ;

g) h)


j) ,


a. Match the terms with their definitions.

b. In pairs, check how many of these you can memorize. Student A reads

the definition and Student B, having his/her book closed, answers. Then change roles.

c. Write two or three example sentences using the terms you have learnt. Compare your sentences with those of your partner.

Information; arraignment; motion; warrant; recognizance; bail;

investigation; indictment

a) a grand jury's formal written accusation that a person committed a crime b) a written accusation that a person committed a crime. It differs from an

indictment because it is issued by a government official (usually the prosecutor), rather than by a grand jury

c) money left with a court of law to make sure that a prisoner will return when their trial starts

d) a proposal that is made formally

e) a proceeding in which the criminal defendant is called into court, the indictment is read to him. In response to it, the accused is expected to enter a plea

f) a promise made by the accused to the court that he/she will attend all

required judicial proceedings and will not engage in further illegal activity

g) a legal document that is signed by a judge, allowing the police to take a particular action

h) an official attempt to find out the truth about or the causes of something such as a crime, accident, or scientific problem

C2. Fill the gaps with the missing words from the box.

insanity, arraign, indictment, on sbs behalf, preliminary, cross-examine, informant, grand jury

1. Working as an

Mafia's criminal activities.

, Johnson provided the FBI with details on the

2. A

3. A 15-page

hearing on the charges is scheduled for March 20. was placed before the panel of judges.

4. There is no indication that Leckie has testified before the .

5. The first lawyer

6. He was able to testify on his own testified for him.

the defendant for over three hours. and have witnesses who

7. Thompson was

on a charge of murder.

8. Hodge was found not guilty by reason of .

C3. Match the terms and their meanings. Write two/three example sentences using them.

1) classified information 2) confidential information 3) crime information 4)

false information 5) federal information 6) government information 7)

investigative information 8) local information 9) multi-count information

10) official information 11) police information 12) pre-imposition information by defendant 13) preliminary information 14) presentence information 15) privileged information 16) security information 17) sentencing information 18) state information

a. b.

c. d. ,

e. , ( ) f.




j. k.

l. m.

n. ( ) o.

p. q.



Study the following collocations with the word charge and translate the sentences. Complete the table with the examples of your own.


bring (against)

The state investigated but brought no



As it was his first offence, the store

agreed not to press charges.


She filed charges, and her four alleged

tormenters are now on trial.




The president has denied the charges.


plead guilty/

innocent to


C5. Read the following cases and complete the text with a suitable word from the box.

deprived; failed; fined; granted; deliberate; terrorist; negligence;

consideration; allegations; disrupting

Lawsuits against God, Satan, NASAand oneself

In 2005, Marina Bai, a Russian astrologer, sued NASA for £165

million for 1 the balance of the universe. She claimed that the space agencys Deep Impact space probe, which was due to hit a comet later that year to harvest material from the explosion, was a 2 act. A Moscow court accepted Russian jurisdiction to hear the claim but it was eventually rejected.

In 1970, Russel T.Tansie, an Arizona lawyer filed a $100,000 damage lawsuit against God. The suit was filed on behalf of Mr.Tansies secretary, Betty Penrose, who accused God of 3 in His power over the weather when He allowed a lightning bolt to strike her home. Ms.Penrose won the case when the defendant 4 to appear in court. Whether or not she collected has not been recorded.

United States ex rel. Gerald Mayo v. Satan and its Staff (1971).

Plaintiff filed suit against Satan and his staff for violation of his civil rights.

Among the 5 were: (1) that Satan had on numerous occasions caused him misery and unwarranted threats, all against his will; (2) that Satan had placed 6_ obstacles in his path that caused plaintiffs downfall; and (3)

that by reason of the foregoing acts, Satan had 7

him of his

constitutional rights. The court noted that it has serious doubts that the complaints reveal a cause of action upon which relief can be 8 by the court. Case dismissed as frivolous.

In 1874, Francis Evans Cornish, while acting as a magistrate in Winnipeg, Canada, had to try himself on a charge of being drunk in public. He convicted himself and 9 himself five dollars with costs. But then he stated for the record: Francis Evans Cornish, taking into 10 past good behaviour, your fine is remitted.

C6. Supply the table with the missing word forms.














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