Preliminary Hearing Docket For Monday March 11 2019Rickey Stokes
Posted by: RStokes
Date: Mar 11 2019 10:29 AM
HOUSTON COUNTY: The list posted represents the names of persons arrested since Friday who are still in the Houston County Jail and not made bonds at this time.
Judges in Municipal and District Courts are required to hold hearings within 72 hours of an arrest if the person has not been released from jail.
Each week day Houston County District Court Judge Benjamin Lewis holds first appearance hearings at 8:30 AM. The persons in custody are seen by Judge Lewis by way of closed circuit TV from the jail to the second floor courtroom.
These hearings are "advisory" hearings in that Judge Lewis advises the person in custody of what the offense they are being held on is, the range of punishment and bond if one is set, do they have an attorney or plan to hire an attorney, if they do not have an attorney if they qualify Judge Lewis will appoint a contract attorney to represent them in the matter.
If the person is in jail on a cash only bond it is normally where they have failed to pay court ordered monies. If a person is found guilty or enters a guilty plea and ordered to pay fines, costs and restitution and fail to pay as required, the District Attorney files what is called a "Show Cause" order. The "Show Cause" order is requiring the defendant to appear before the sentencing Judge and to explain why they have failed to pay the court ordered monies as required.
If the answer given is not justified to the Judge and the Judge grants the motion of the District Attorney, then 30% is automatically added to the amount owed. Of the 30% added to the fines and costs, 75% of that money goes to the District Attorney's Office and 25% goes to the Circuit Clerk's Office. That money comes off the top except for restitution owed to a victim.
The Show Cause orders are sent to the last address the defendant has on file with the court. Often times that is not a good address. The defendant fails to receive the notice to appear in court or just does not appear then practice over the years with the courts a cash bond is set in the amount the defendant owes in fines and costs.
The cash bonds you see are for failure to pay. Each Judge in the "Unified Judicial System" have different amounts they authorize Judge Lewis to have the defendant pay to the courts and are then released and given a new court date to appear before the sentencing Judge.
From this court date, if a felony offense, a defendant can request a preliminary hearing. That hearing is a probable cause hearing, that probably a crime occurred and probably this person committed the offense. The rules of evidence do not apply in preliminary hearings and hearsay is allowed in preliminary hearings.
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