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Elements of the Defense Attorney's Craft - An Adaptive Expectations Model of the Preliminary Hearing Decision

NCJ Number
Law and Policy Volume: 8 Issue: 1 Dated: (January 1986) Pages: 33-57
Date Published
25 pages
This analysis of attorneys' decisions to waive preliminary hearings emphasizes their adaptive behavior to local court policies, client concerns, tactical issues, and time pressures.
The study draws on interviews with 155 defense attorneys and cases from 9 felony courts in Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Waiving the preliminary hearing might appear self-defeating and one sign of how defense attorneys sacrifice the interests and rights of their clients. This study, however, showed that such waivers were more or less reasonable responses to specific circumstances confronting attorneys. In jurisdictions where preliminary hearings usually were held, the likelihood of favorable changes in charges or probability of trials were no greater than in courts where examinations were often waived. Underlying the decision whether to waive were concerns regarding efficiency, professionalism, and desire to minimize regrets stemming from inability or failure to placate or control a client. Footnotes, tables, and 19 references.

Date Published: January 1, 1986