Arraignment is the initial court hearing whereby a person charged with a crime is advised of his or her criminal charges. Additionally, the person will be advised of his or her constitutional rights and their first pre-trial or probable cause hearing date. The court will set bond and any accompanying conditions. For example, someone may be released on his or her own recognizance (R.O.R.) but prohibited from contact with the alleged victim or place of the violation. Those defendants with some form of suspended or probated sentences may also expect to be served with written notice of the prosecutor's intent to seek revocation of that jail sentence. For those facing felony charges who are not released or do not post bond, the prosecutor must provide a preliminary or probable cause hearing on or before the 10th day after arraignment, excluding weekends and holidays. Those individuals who are charged with a felony and released from jail are entitled to a probable cause hearing within 20 days of their arraignment, again excluding weekends and holidays.
If the person is in custody, his or her arraignment will be held at the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections. You will not be permitted inside the secure courtroom; however, the court has set up a room for relatives and interested parties to watch the arraignment on a closed-circuit two-way television system. When your friend or loved one appears before the judge, you may appear at a lectern that has a two-way camera with the judge. The judge may ask you questions regarding the defendant's living arrangements, ties to the community, employment and other information the court may be interested in securing to determine an appropriate bond or conditions for release.
As an attorney, part of my job is to educate the court by providing accurate information regarding my client's ties to the community, work history, criminal history, risk assessment to self or others, prior attendance in court, as well as the involvement of family and friends with the defendant. Please call me immediately upon the arrest of a loved one or friend. Judges set bonds about every four hours.
A recent Kentucky Supreme Court ruling forbids lawyers from calling judges and asking the judge to set a bond. We are now required to track down the assigned prosecutor and together place a call to the duty judge. Regrettably, the County Attorney in Jefferson County, despite prior promises to the Bar to assist in contacting a judge, has so far refused to develop a process.
Those charged with misdemeanors will be given a date to reappear before the appropriate court for subsequent proceedings. While a person cannot be compelled to speak, it is often beneficial to respond to the court's inquiries concerning job status and living arrangements. The court is looking to ensure that the defendant has ties to the community and will return to court. If you were arrested and released, the Probation and Pretrial Services worker will give you information concerning the time and court in which you must appear for arraignment.
If you have been released from jail or merely cited, please wait for me to arraign you in the courtroom you have been assigned. I will be representing several other clients on the same day I represent you. If your name is called by an officer, prosecutor, judge or clerk, please politely inform him or her that I am your attorney and I may be contacted at (502) 589-6190 or (502) 648-1759 if they have any questions or need to speak to me immediately. No witnesses or police officers are subpoenaed to appear at arraignment, and you will not have to say anything at this hearing. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, local court rules permit an attorney to appear at your arraignment without your presence.
If you are released from jail, the Department of Corrections will provide you with a yellow discharge paper which will inform you of the date, time, and location of your arraignment court date. Once you receive this discharge paper immediately contact me online. Or you can call my office at (502) 589-6190 or (502) 648-1759 (text after hours). Your first consultation is free.