Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Those Charged with Class A Misdemeanors Have a Right to a Preliminary Hearing

Utah v. Hernandez, 2011 UT 16 (Utah Supreme Court, March 29, 2011).
Hernandez was charged with four Class A Misdemeanors.  He requested a preliminary hearing.  The hearing was denied, Hernandez appealed.
The Court of Appeals found that the Utah Constitution is broader and provides more protection than the U.S. Constitution in regards to a Defendant’s right to a preliminary hearing.  The Utah Constitution allows that every crime in which must be prosecuted by indictment (in 1888, interpreted to mean that every public offense, except those triable in justice courts).  The Supreme Court interpreted the Constitution and this statement to mean that any offense that is punishable by more than six months of incarceration entitles the defendant to a preliminary hearing.

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