Can a public defender request a grand jury hearing at a preliminary hearing?

UPDATED: Jan 6, 2011

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Can a public defender request a grand jury hearing at a preliminary hearing?

My brother was charged with a bogus domestic violence charge by a vindictive ex-girlfriend. It’s sticking though as a Felony 4 because he does have a prior conviction. The prosecutor made a decision to have a judge hear the evidence at a preliminary hearing before a PD was selected for my brother. Can the PD request a grand jury hearing at the preliminary hearing with the judge? The public defender won’t be chosen until the day of the hearing.

Asked on January 6, 2011 under Criminal Law, Ohio


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

There is an important distinction here that you need to understand. 

Generally speaking it is one or the other. In other words, if a preliminary hearing is done, then it is possible that a court will find probable cause to charge the defendant with the crime.  If instead a grand jury indicts the defendant, then that means that they have found probable cause as well.  Do you see what I mean here? In New York, a defendant has right to testify on his or her own behalf at the convening of the Grand Jury. But a defendant does not have a right to demand a Grand Jury proceeding.  Your brother needs to speak with his attorney once the attorney is appointed on his behalf.  Good luck to you. 

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