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Criminal Law Newsletters

An Overview of The Jencks Act

The Jencks Act provides that upon a motion by the defendant, the Government is required to disclose a witness’s prior statements that are in the Government’s possession at the time the request is made. In order for the Government to be compelled to disclose a witness’s prior statements, the statements must relate to the subject matter of the direct testimony of the witness. Under the Jencks Act, the Government has a duty to preserve all statements that are required to be produced. The Government should not destroy the statements before they are required to be destroyed, usually until after the culmination of the defendant’s case, including an appeal.

Factual Stipulations In Criminal Trials

A stipulation is an agreement between adverse parties as to the definition or identification of a statement or pieces of evidence that are material to the case. Trial judges typically accept stipulations of fact presented by parties. However, it is within the trial judge’s discretion to reject the stipulated fact if the fact sought to be admitted is not relevant or constitutes a legal conclusion. When the trial court accepts a stipulated fact, the party that had the burden of proof with respect to the stipulated fact is relieved from presenting a foundation to establish that fact during the defendant’s trial.

Overview of Prison Offenses

Even after a defendant has been convicted and sentenced to a prison term, he may be charged, convicted, and sentenced again for any offenses committed while in prison. A prison is defined as a correctional or detention facility. Although states vary on the types of chargeable prison offenses, there are some general offenses both under numerous state laws and under federal law.

Release On Bail Pending An Appeal

Whether a defendant is entitled to be released on bail pending his or her appeal depends upon the type of offense of which the defendant was convicted and the length of sentence that is imposed on the defendant. If the defendant is convicted of a misdemeanor, the defendant is generally entitled to reasonable bail pending his or her appeal. If the defendant is convicted of a felony, the length of the defendant’s sentence generally determines whether the defendant is entitled to bail.

Search Warrants

A search warrant is a written document that is signed by a magistrate or a judicial officer. The search warrant allows the police to conduct a search and describes the property that may be seized.