Marla Linderman Richlew: What Is Judicial Independence?

To ensure that people can obtain justice for their legal situations, judges must be impartial. This means that they must be neutral and objective when solving a case. When resolving a claim, Marla Linderman Richlew at the 22nd Circuit Court is free from social, political, or personal pressures that could affect the case.

However, when a person has well-founded reasons to understand that the judge hearing their case cannot carry out their functions in an impartial manner, they can file a request for inhibition, requesting that another judge hear the case. That is why we highly recommend you, Marla for Judge who is always in pursuit of justice. 

 The Procedure of the Criminal Justice System

Generally, people who have been arrested, booked, and charged with a crime go through the three main stages of the criminal justice system:

  • Police or law enforcement authority
  • Judicial system
  • Jail or prison

Police or law enforcement authority

Generally, a police officer or official from another similar government law enforcement agency does not know that a crime has been committed until a citizen reports it. In some cases, before a person is formally arrested, an arrest warrant based on probable cause is required. A neutral magistrate must approve the warrant, as it is the legal basis for charging that person.

After the arrest, the person is registered, generally taking photographs, fingerprints and requesting personal information. If charges are filed, the accused person may be eligible to participate in an appropriate diversion program, such as alcohol rehabilitation. 

Stage of the judicial system

 Courts decide whether and how much bail will be required based on the seriousness of the crime charged, the defendant’s risk of absconding to avoid trial, and the defendant’s criminal record. In many cases, defendants, especially wealthy and well-known, are also required to surrender their passports to the court. If the defendant does not have a lawyer, the court will appoint one for him.

Next, the accused must appear in a preliminary hearing or interrogation. The judge decides if a crime was committed and if there is a possibility that the accused committed it. Depending on the state where the charges are filed, the prosecutor may file an indictment due to the preliminary hearing. Or, in some states, he can request that a Jury be convened to indict the defendant.

Once the prosecutor or judge makes an indictment, the defendant appears at a hearing where bail is set or detention is ordered. Although bail is generally granted for misdemeanors, the same is not true when the crimes are committed with considerable violence or deliberate intent.

Then, the defendant must face the arraignment hearing. During which he is informed of the charges against him, according to the indictment presented by the prosecutor or the judge. 

In this session, the defendant must plead guilty, not guilty, or “I will not contend,” which means that he neither opposes nor accepts the accusation. If the judge believes that the defendant was not sincere in pleading guilty to him, it will be recorded instead that he pleaded not guilty.

Most people charged with a crime accept a plea agreement proposed by the prosecutor and do not take their case to trial. 

Judgment

During the trial, defendants have the right to confront witnesses who testify against them and compel the appearance of witnesses who testify on their behalf. If the accused person cannot afford a lawyer, the court will appoint one for him.

The parties may present only relevant and non-prejudicing evidence (e.g., witnesses, photographs, and letters). The documentary evidence must be authenticated, and the testimony of the witnesses must be considered credible.

Sentencing

Some judges ask probation officers for pre-sentencing reports. These documents help judges learn about the defendant’s social background, legitimate explanations for his behavior, and criminal record.

Although a mandatory sentence is required for some crimes, judges have discretion in sentencing. In a trial, convicted persons have the right to give their statement during the sentencing stage.

Once the judge has decided to impose one or more sentences, he will determine whether to apply them concurrently or consecutively. Some first-time offenders and misdemeanors may be eligible for probation, or a suspended prison sentence, thus allowing the defendant to return to the community under supervision or without it.

Appeal

A defendant who pleads not guilty during trial always has the right to appeal the sentence. However, the prosecution does not always have it. If the judge delivered the verdict at trial, the standard of review on appeal is “abuse of discretion.” This means that the judge’s decision will be overturned only if the judge has abused that power. If a jury returned the verdict at trial, the appellate court would review all motions, pre-trial and post-trial, to determine if a new trial is warranted.

If you are struggling or facing any trial and looking for justice to be served, call Marla Linderman Richlew today!

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