Criminal Process Objective 1


The criminal process traces the steps typically taken in the justice proceeding for a criminal offense from the initial contact up to the trial itself.

Refer to the handout on page 3 for the steps in the process. 


Criminal Process Objective 2


Booking - See definition in glossary


Criminal Process Objective 3


Twenty Hour Rule - Missouri statute which requires that a suspect who has been taken into custody be released after 20 hours if no arrest warrant has been issued.  Note that the law was changed effective August 28, 2001 to allow persons being held for certain crimes to be held 24 hours.


Criminal Process Objective 4


The four actions a prosecutor may take when an arrest warrant application is made:

            1.         He may issue the information (which then leads to the issuance of an arrest warrant).  This shows probable cause exists and that prosecutor thinks case is winnable.

            2.         He may refuse to issue (suspect is released).  This is done when facts may be too weak to win and where it doesn't appear further investigation will lead to any more evidence.  May also be a crime which the office rarely pursues.

            3.         He may take under advisement (officer or agency may gather additional information before further action is taken).  Here there may be the possibility of developing further information.

            4.         He may send it to the Grand Jury.  Prosecutor may want the body of citizens to review the probable cause either for political reasons or because the prosecutor wishes to hear the witnesses and investigate evidence in more detail before a decision is made.


Criminal Process Objective 5


Grand jury - A body of citizens whose duty it is to determine if probable cause of an offense exists and to issue an indictment if it does.  A finding of probable cause must be agreed to by nine jurors.  They do not determine guilt.  Issue a true bill (indictment) or a no true bill.



Criminal Process Objective 6


An information  - A written statement of the charges against a party suspected of a crime and the facts (probable cause) to support those charges.  Issued by the prosecutor.


An arrest warrant - A written order of the court, authorizing the officer serving it to arrest a person charged with a crime.


An indictment - A written statement of charges against a party suspected of a crime drawn up by the prosecuting attorney and issued by a grand jury.


Criminal Process Objective 7


Discovery process - A three step process during which the defense attorney obtains the evidence to be used by the prosecution in order to prepare a defense and object to those items which they feel should be suppressed. 

First, make a motion for discovery, then will make a motion to suppress, then there is a suppression hearing.


For our test, go over:


Initial Appearance - Charges are read to defendant, bail is set, if allowed and arrangements are made for an attorney, if necessary.


Arraignment - A pre-trial hearing where the charges are read to the accused and he is asked to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or an Alford plea. 


Preliminary Hearing - Hearing where the judge first looks at the facts of the case to determine if there is probable cause to bind the defendant over for trial.  Skipped if an indictment is handed down by a grand jury.