We have discussed several aspects of criminal defense, focusing on procedures of the court, and the attorney. In this segment, we discuss court actions. Court actions are a set of actionable statements made by the judge during the first appearance, trial, or at sentencing.

When a defendant requests a continuance, the court will first consider the best interests of the victim(s) before rendering a decision. In cases where the judge feels that it is in the victim(s) interests to continue in a timely manner, the continuation request may be denied. If the request is not found to hinder the victim(s) plight for immediate justice, or does not impede on their rights, the continuation then may be granted.

The court will not exclude victim(s) from an evidentiary hearing – unless – it is found to be necessary in order to proceed with a fair hearing. When evidence is introduced and reviewed, victim(s) rights are always taken into account, but so are the rights of the defendant. If a possible action may prevent a fair hearing, it will be considered from all points before a decision will be rendered.judge using gavel

If a conviction is granted, at sentencing, the victim(s) has the right to make a statement. This statement is taken into consideration before sentencing commences. The weight of the consideration depends on the weight of the crime, and the subsequent effect the crime has had on the victim(s). The court may also order restitution to the victim.

The court will provide either a separate waiting room for the victim(s), or take other means of action in order to lessen the probability of interaction with the defendant. In cases of abuse, a service representative will escort the victim(s) unless they are testifying, or being represented by their attorney. A service representative may further address the court on behalf of the victim(s), if needed. On the other hand, a victim(s) also has the standing to assert their own rights on their own behalf, and/or may have the DA act instead.

The statement of these actions are relevant due to the outcome that each action represents. An individual with the knowledge of these pending actions is better able to prepare for situations before they arrive. It is also important to understand the considerations between defendant, and victim’s rights. A criminal defense attorney understands these actions fully, and does his/her utmost to protect the rights of their client, while defending their client’s best interests in a court of law.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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