Is a Hearing Held to Decide on a Motion to Suppress Evidence?
Once you file your motion, the judge will give the state seven, 14 or 21 days to respond, and then you will have a hearing date set.
Is The Decision on The Motion to Suppress Evidence Solely at The Judge’s Discretion?
Decisions regarding motions to suppress evidence are solely up to the judge’s discretion. This is problematic because there are a lot of cases where the jury might have come to a different finding than the judge, who may have been aware of certain technicalities. The jury does not hear anything except the facts.
How Long Does it Typically Take For The Judge to Make a Decision?
Some judges will make a decision right away. Sometimes they encourage the defense to give reasons on the record. There is always a court recorder for these hearings because people might want to appeal them. Judges are human, and they make errors. The law is in a constant state of flux; it’s always changing a little bit. There might be a new ruling that comes down that a judge is unaware of. As a result, a judge might be basing his ruling on a case which has since been reversed by a newer case.
Sometimes a judge will say, “I’ll give you my ruling in seven days.” If the judge is not really up on the law and it’s a very difficult, complicated legal issue, then the judge might say, “I am going to give each side 21 days to give me a brief supported by case law, telling me what your position is and why.” That makes it difficult because that’s a lot of work to do. The judges like to do that because that means they don’t have to do so much research, but some of them are very meticulous and they put a lot of thought into it. Hopefully, you get someone who is meticulous and well-reasoned because others are just lazy and they want you to do all of the work. Now, lots of these judges do have law clerks working for them, and any briefs or any decisions that he’s going to give are pretty much authored by these clerks.
Is The Jury Ever Aware That Evidence Has Been Suppressed at a Trial?
The jury is never aware that evidence has been suppressed at trial. They are to decide the case solely on the evidence presented to them that was allowed in by the court.
If a Motion to Suppress Evidence is Granted, What Happens Next?
If a motion to suppress evidence is granted, then the evidence you wanted to suppress will be kept out of evidence. This could be a confession, which may have been the only thing the prosecutor had to go on in order to tie the defendant to the crime. In other cases, confiscated drugs may be suppressed, which would prevent the state from being able to prove their case. If you win a motion to suppress, a lot of times you’re just flat-out going to win the case. The minute that the state loses, they’ll dismiss the case or they’ll ask for time so that they can talk to their superiors and determine whether or not they want to appeal the motion to suppress.
Can Either Side Appeal a Judge’s Decision on a Motion to Suppress Evidence?
If the judge doesn’t follow the law or the appropriate case law, then either side can appeal the decision. However, appeals take forever and they are very costly. When I worked as a state attorney, we had a guy who we were convinced was guilty, but we knew we were going to get screwed because the officers didn’t follow the law. We kept the defendant locked up as long as we could, knowing that he would be let out in a year or two. Just because the judge barred evidence based on a technicality, does not mean that I felt bad about keeping that murderer in jail for a year or two while he waited for the appellate court to decide on his motion to suppress.
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