It is the duty of witness or victim to assist with the information to the system of criminal justice. The Criminal Justice System [CJS] could not function without such cooperation . Further, a fair trial can not be possible with out passing of full truth or facts. CJS process is long and time consuming. Hence, the victim has to be patient and should be committed. Subpoena: The first process in CJS is subpoena. It is a court direction asking a victim or a witness to be at place and at the time mentioned in it.
Subpoena will contain information like the kind of court hearing at which the victim is required to appear. Further, a plaintiff or an accused should not expect that court proceedings will commence and process will be completed in a shorter period. The Court process may be delayed due to various reasons like non- availability of crucial witness or calendar conflicts or a legal motion could hamper the court proceedings in a case. However, according to need or urgency, a witness may be placed on ‘telephone standby” or ‘on-call.
” In such cases, the witness or victim may continue his daily work or business and should be prepared to visit the court instantly when there is a call from the District Attorney’s Office. Preliminary Hearing: Preliminary examination will be conducted during the first appearance in felony cases. Such preliminary examination is not a trial but it is like a hearing at which a judge hears to the evidence of the crime and decides whether it is enough to entail the defendant to stand trial in superior court or not. At this stage, just sufficient evidence is offered to ‘present the defendant to answer” in superior court.
Subpoena is issued to witnesses to come and testify at these court hearings. It is to be noted that no jurors will be present and it is the judge who alone decides whether the defendant is required to stand trial on the charges or not. Felony Trial: [Offense of serious type] In felony cases, trial will commence within one and half month or more after the completion of preliminary hearing. Some state law like California demands that a felony should be brought to trial within two months of the filing of the details or condemnation in higher-ranking court unless that right is relinquished by the accused.
Hence, in certain cases, this period may be extended to many months. In felony trial, witness will also be testified despite of the fact that they were already questioned at the initial hearing. In certain instances, a trial may not conduct as the defendant admits guilty. In case of admission of guilty by defendant, the plaintiff will be informed that his testimony will not be needed and hence the plaintiff or witness is relieved from the duty under subpoena to attend to court.