Month: February 2015

Yes, Preliminary Hearings are Important

Anyone who faces a misdemeanor or felony charge in Pennsylvania has an absolute right to a preliminary hearing. At the “prelim”, the Commonwealth’s goal is to present enough evidence to convince the magisterial district judge that a crime was committed and that the accused probably committed that crime. We lawyers say the Commonwealth has to make out a “prima facie” case. The prelim is not about proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Its main purpose is to safeguard an accused person’s right against illegal arrest and detention. As skilled defense attorneys know, however, the prelim serves other functions, as well.  (more…)