Arrest to Disposition
Criminal prosecutions usually begin with the summary arrest of a defendant by a police officer, or by the filing in court of an accusatory report, followed by the issuance of an arrest warrant or summons.
A person who is arrested is taken to the Warrick County Security Center for processing and detention. The processing of an arrested person consists of taking personal data and, when required, fingerprints.
A detective will be assigned to cases that require an investigation. In addition to the traditional duties of investigation, detectives play a vital role in pure evidence gathering and preparing a case for trial. Detectives interview arrested persons and witnesses to procure statements concerning the criminal incident.
After processing, the arrested person is either detained, released on bond or given an appearance ticket for a future court date, depending upon the nature of the charge(s) and/or the time processing is completed.
In certain cases, a Grand Jury investigation may result in the filing of an indictment that begins the criminal proceedings against a defendant. In such instances, the arrest and processing occurs after the indictment is handed down.
Most cases are resolved by the defendant pleading guilty. This may be pursuant to a sentence agreement between the state and defendant regarding a sentencing outcome, or one which simply provides for an open sentence to be imposed by the court in exchange for dismissal of any additional pending charges. In other instances, the defendant may plead guilty without benefit of an agreement with the state. In those cases, the sentence is open and will be imposed by the court at a sentencing hearing where both the state and the defendant can present evidence and an argument if they choose. Cases not resolved by a defendant’s guilty plea will be disposed of by trial. If there is a conviction, the court will hold a sentencing hearing during which court imposes a judgment.
In all cases, both our Indiana Constitution and our Indiana Legislature ensure that victims are entitled to be heard by the court prior to sentencing. If you are the victim of a criminal case we are prosecuting, we will make every effort to 1) Provide you with a copy of the proposed sentence agreement for your review prior to entering the court to give your comments; and 2) Notify you when a case is scheduled for sentencing so you have an
opportunity to make your thoughts known to the court.
If you are a victim, it is vitally important that you notify our office a soon as possible with any change in your contact information. Otherwise we will be unable to contact with updates and notifications about the case.
The sentence to be imposed is determined by the court. The general procedure for sentencing, after certain preliminary matters are resolved (such as prior convictions which may enhance the sentence), is as follows:
- If the defendant is being sentenced for a victim crime, the victim has the right to make a statement with regard to any matter relevant to the question of sentence.
- The court must provide the prosecutor an opportunity to make a statement regarding any matter relevant to the sentencing. The prosecutor also may file a Sentencing Memorandum, which contains any additional information that should be considered in determining an appropriate sentence.
- The court must provide an opportunity for the defendant’s counsel to speak on behalf of the defendant and to file a Sentencing Memorandum or Response to the Prosecutor’s Sentencing Memorandum.
- The defendant has the right to make a statement personally during sentencing.
Convicted criminal defendants have the right to appeal to the Indiana Court of Appeals. Additional defendant appeals must be made through a motion, and the defendant must be granted permission, or “leave,” to be heard. Appeals from the trial court are heard by the Indiana Court of Appeals…. (INFO MISSING HERE?? – sentence incomplete) … are heard by Indiana’s highest court, the Indiana Supreme Court. Further proceedings that involve federal habeas corpus applications (federal review of the legality of an individual’s incarceration) are heard first in the United States District Courts and then on appeal in the United States Circuit Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, in Chicago.
Defendants may file motions before the trial court to set aside (cancel or revoke) their judgments of conviction or to challenge their sentences as being illegal. If denied, the defendants may then seek permission by motion to appeal that denial to the appropriate intermediate appellate court.