is the finding of the Grand Jury that a crime probably
occurred and charges may proceed against the defendant in
Jury is a randomly selected group of Delaware citizens who
consider evidence to see if there should be an indictment.
Usually only the police officer testifies.
defendant nor the attorneys are present. If the Grand Jury
fails to indict, it is likely the case will not proceed
any further. If the defendant is indicted, you will be
notified of future court proceedings. The
Grand Jury hearing is closed to the public.
If the defendant waives indictment, he/she can be charged
by the prosecutor through the use of a document called an
information. It is not uncommon for charges to be filed by
information, especially in Kent and Sussex Counties.
The purpose of this review is to determine if
bail can be reduced so that the defendant can be released
from pretrial detention. This hearing can be held anytime
and is open to the public. Bail review may be held in
Magistrate Court, Municipal Court or the Court of Common
Pleas if the defendant has not been indicted or an
information filed. If the defendant has been indicted or
an information filed, it is held in Superior Court.
The arraignment is held in Superior Court. The
purpose is to read the charges to the defendant. At this
time, the defendant enters a plea of guilty or not guilty.
This hearing can be waived by the defendant. This means
that the defendant chooses not to have this hearing and
will go to trial without it. This hearing is
open to the public.
The case review is an informal meeting of the
prosecutor and defense attorney to discuss plea agreement
options and determine readiness for trial. If a plea
agreement is signed, the defendant is brought into the
courtroom for the official taking of the plea by the
judge. The case review is not open to the public, however,
since a plea may be entered in court by the defendant, you
should talk to the prosecutor about whether to attend.
Felony trials are held in Superior Court. The
purpose is to determine if the defendant is guilty or not
guilty. The trial is usually scheduled 70 days after
indictment or filing of an information, if no continuances
are granted. However, due to current court backlogs, many
cases take over a year to come to trial.
testify if called as a witness. Check with the prosecutor
before the trial date. Most felony trials are before a
jury. However, some are tried with only a judge presiding.
The jury in
a criminal trial can: find the defendant guilty, guilty of
a lesser charge, or not guilty. A mistrial may be declared
if the jury fail to reach a unanimous decision.
trial, the judge can dismiss the charges or declare a
mistrial for various reasons. Usually this has to do with
evidence problems or rules of court procedure. The
prosecutor will explain to you what happened if a
dismissal/mistrial occurred. Superior Court
trials are open to the public.