The criminal procedure followed in the state of Kansas does not vary from that of other states. The power of the judiciary is brought into a criminal matter upon the issue of a Kansas arrest warrant. Although arrests don’t always occur under the provisions of such legal orders, the procedure followed for handling adult offenders is the same regardless of how the accused is detained.
How are arrests made in Kansas?
If an active warrant is needed, the sheriff’s office has to petition the court for the order. However, in case of felonies this requirement is done away with as detentions can be effected on the basis of probable cause alone. Of course, the police have to show that their evidence is enough to bring out reasonable cause against the suspect even when seeking active warrants.
The only difference is that when arrests are made without warrants, the police have the responsibility of adhering to the probable cause requirement while when one talks about an arrest warrant, this onus shifts to the judiciary. After being detained, offenders cannot be forced to confess, in fact, all arrestees are protected by Miranda Rights.
First appearance in court
Kansas law dictates that the accused should be presented before the magistrate as soon as possible for a bail hearing. The court is not obligated to set bail and will not grant release if the crime that the defendant is being accused of is particularly heinous. If bail is granted, the accused will have to pay the bond in one way or the other.
It should be noted at this point that that the law of the state provides for a bail hearing for all defendants no matter the crime that they are being held for. However, the court is not obligated to offer release to all criminals. In fact, bail is solely granted at the consideration of the magistrate who studies the criminal history of the accused before considering the bail petition.
Entering a plea
The arraignment hearing is held to explain the charges to the accused and to get a plea from him. The defendant may plead ‘nolle contendre’ which means no contest; guilty, which is tantamount to an admission of guilt and not guilty. In case of the latter, the case is bound over to the district tribunal for further processing. When it comes to misdemeanor charges, the plea is entered at the time of the first court appearance while in case of felonies, this formality is completed after the preliminary hearing.
Most cases are tackled through plea bargains which save the state’s judicial mechanism a lot of time and resources. A plea bargain is essentially an agreement reached between the defense and the prosecution. Under the arrangement, the defendant pleads guilty to lower charges or accepts the charges in return for a lesser sentence.
Preliminary court proceedings
Depending on the matter in question, a preliminary hearing may be held to ascertain that the state has enough evidence against the defendant to hold him responsible for a criminal indiscretion. Felonies always call for preliminary hearings. During this phase, attorneys on both sides also have the chance to decide on pre-trial motions.
The trial is a term used to describe an entire legal process in which the case is presented from the angle of the defense as well as the prosecution. Through the trial, the judge presides over the courtroom but it is the jury members who take the call on guilt. A 12 member jury has to decide unanimously that the defendant is guilty as charged for things to proceed to the sentencing stage. This is handled by the judge. Misdemeanor cases are typically heard by 6member jury panels.