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Pretrial Hearings and Related Matters (From Criminal Justice Administration Cases and Materials, Fourth Edition, P 909-922, 1991, Frank W Miller, Robert O Dawson, et al. -- See NCJ-129355)

NCJ Number
F W Miller; R O Dawson; G E Dix; R I Parnas
Date Published
14 pages
This chapter discusses the Federal constitutional right to have certain matters decided by the trial judge out of the presence of the jury and presents the relevant U.S. Supreme Court case of Watkins v. Sowders.
An introduction discusses the obligation to raise matters pretrial, the determination of matters raised by pretrial motion, appeal, the right to pretrial resolution of certain matters, and omnibus hearing proposals. Watkins v. Sowders addressed the issue of whether a State criminal trial court is constitutionally compelled to conduct a hearing outside the presence of the jury whenever a defendant contends that a witness' identification of the defendant was conducted improperly. On appeal, as he had at trial, counsel for Watkins, who was convicted of a liquor store robbery based on the identification of two store employees, argued that the trial court had a constitutional obligation to conduct a hearing outside the presence of the jury to determine whether the identification evidence was admissible. The Kentucky Supreme Court rejected this argument. The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment and, like the district court, ruled that a hearing on the admissibility of identification evidence need not be held outside the presence of the jury. The U.S. Supreme Court determined that although a judicial determination regarding the admissibility of identification evidence outside the jury's presence may be advisable, the U.S. Constitution does not require a per se rule compelling such a procedure in every case. Case notes are provided.