Pre-Trial Suppression Hearings
By Ramy Louis, Attorney at The Fletcher Law Firm, LLC
After an arrest is made, criminal charges may be brought against you by the District Attorney's Office in the form of a criminal court complaint, a felony complaint, a grand jury indictment, or a superior court information. Pretrial motions are usually filed by both the Defense and the District Attorney's Office. Depending on the specific facts of the case, pre-trial suppression hearings may be granted. Unlike a trial, pre-trial suppression hearings are court proceedings simply to determine whether certain evidence will be admissible at trial. If the Defense is successful at a pre-trial suppression hearing, the District Attorney's Office may be excluded from using evidence they wished to bring out at trial.
Here are a few of the common suppression hearings:
At a Dunaway hearing the judge decides whether you were unlawfully arrested.
At a Mapp hearing the judge hears evidence on the issue of whether the police legally seized property from you.
At a Huntley hearing the judge hears evidence on the issue of whether police officers acted legally when you made a statement to them. The judge also considers whether the statement was voluntarily made and if it was actually made at all.
At a Wade hearing the judge hears evidence on the issue of whether the police identification procedure used was unduly suggestive when police had witnesses identify you as having committed the crime.
At a Sandoval hearing, the judge decides whether evidence of your criminal record will be admissible at trial, if you choose to testify.
These are just a few of the pre-trial suppression hearings available to you in New York State. Depending on the specific facts of the case, each has its own purpose. During the suppression hearing, testimony is taken from police officers and witnesses. The Defense is be able to cross examine the D.A.'s witnesses and call witnesses of their own. If the D.A. does not meet its burden at the hearing, the evidence that the D.A. wants to use against you at trial may be suppressed. If as a result the District Attorney's Office does not have enough evidence to prosecute you, then your case may be dismissed all together.