Hello Sports Fans, Paul Kish here, just returned from U.S. District Court here in rainy Atlanta, Georgia where we had a pretrial evidentiary hearing in yet another federal criminal case. I’ve done many hundreds, if not thousands, of these in my career, and I’d like to provide a few observations about these hearings that happen in some federal criminal cases.
First, we do not have these hearings in every case. Instead, Judges will convene one of these hearings only when the Court needs some evidence in order to rule on a pretrial issue brought up by one side or the other. Most of these hearings relate to pretrial motions filed by a Defendant, such as a Motion to Suppress. However, other cases involve pretrial pleadings by the prosecutor who requests a ruling that certain evidence should either admitted or kept out of the trial in the case. For example, one time we had a lengthy hearing where the Government asked the Judge to prohibit our expert witness from testifying at the upcoming trial. The trial Judge ruled for the prosecution, yet in the end we basically won when the Court of Appeals saw the issue our way and reversed all convictions because of the improper exclusion or our expert witness. Continue reading