South Carolina criminal defense attorney Bobby Frederick recently reported of Horry County , South Carolina public defenders who don’t go to preliminary hearings . It appears the public defenders refuse to go to court on preliminary hearings . The court refuses to hear their case because they have a court appointed attorney and the hearing is waived . Injustice to those pool souls they represent .
I created a video of the importance of a preliminary hearing in a prior post . A preliminary hearing is the first major building block in preparing your defense in a criminal case . A preliminary hearing has no downside in most cases . You have a hearing , cross examine some cops or witnesses , learn some key facts , and the case is bound over to the grand jury . Best case is you might win and have the case dismissed which is unlikely due to a lessor burden of proof at the preliminary hearing . One should only waive a hearing in certain circumstances . First , where the Assistant District Attorney agrees to a bail bond reduction . Secondly , you want to avoid having the state preserve testimony of a witness .
Here is Mr. Frederick’s thoughts on why some lawyers waive a hearing which I wholeheartedly agree ;
Which tells me there are two reasons why attorneys waive preliminary hearings – 1) they are lazy; and/or 2) they have no intention of taking their client’s case to trial. Who cares what the officer’s testimony is going to be if I know I am never going to try the case.
A great defense to a criminal case starts with an effective and well thought out preliminary hearing . Why are the South Carolina public defenders for whatever reason are giving up the fight to raise a defense for their clients ? Budget cuts or manpower shortages is no excuse for not protecting your clients . Shame on them . One last thing worth mentioning . If your lawyer suggests you waive your preliminary hearing , ask them what tactical advantage they hope to gain by waiving the hearing . If they don’t have an answer , they may be from the South Carolina P.D.’s office or really don’t care about your case .