There will be no preliminary hearing in misdemeanor cases. Plaintiff has to appear in court during the actual trial. Hence, testimony by a victim or a witness is required only once. Testimony A victim or a witness may be called by a deputy district attorney to verify or testify about the incident. After district attorney completes his questions, the defense attorney has the privilege to cross –examine the victim or a witness. A witness may be asked to remain out of court when other witness is being testified. This is to make sure that the testimony or recall of one witness does not affect or influence the verification of another witness.
Rights of a Defendant: A defendant or his attorney has the right to get interview with the witness to know what the substantiation in the case will be. However, there are no rules or laws preventing a witness from informing the defendant’s attorney about witness testimony before he can take any stand on the issue. There should not be any pressure from the defendant or his attorney on witness either to reveal or not to speak to anyone. Verdict: When testimony proceedings are completed, verdict will be given. All felony cases verdict will be notified through letter.
In case of misdemeanor, a victim or a witness may know the result from District Attorneys office. What happens after Trial? A verdict will be given where the defendant may be found guilty or free of charge. In case, if jury cannot arrive at a verdict, there will be declaration of mistrial and in some cases, there may be even new trial. If the accused is adjudged of guilty, a date will be fixed for sentencing and this will be normally 28 days after the verdict. In a criminal trial, the Judge may award any of the following sentences: County Jail State Prison Fine Restitution Probation
Starting from the middle of 1980’s , the federal retaliation to the crack oriented crime by introducing a massive imprisonment policy and this resulted in overcrowding in prisons thereby resulting in jail population reaching to 2. 3 million prisoners by 2007. In 2007, 26 American state legislatures introduced softening approach on imposing jail sentence. “Rigid –on-crime “policies that were dominating the criminal justice legislative principles started to change. Thus, rigorous federal sentencing laws have resulted in deficit in state’s budgets. [Sacramento County District Attorney, 2008].