A pretrial motion is a meeting that occurs between the accused person, the plaintiff, the layers and the judge. The pretrial motions are conducted after the confirmation that a case has to proceed to trial (Berry, 1989) .Pre trial motions deal with issues that affect will affect the outcome of a case. Some of the issues are;
Avenue change-Parties to a criminal case can request for avenue change. Factors such as publicity and security of an accused person may influence the court to order for the change of a trial location.
Evidence exclusion-Any party to a case can request a court to exclude evidence that they deem unnecessary for the case. For instance, a defendant’s lawyer can request the court to issue an order to prevent a certain witness to testify .The lawyer needs to prove that the witness s not reliable or that the process used to gather evidence against the ``defendant” violated his ``constitutional “ rights".
presentation of evidence by another party-The state attorney, the plaintiff’s lawyer “ lawyer can request the court through a pretrial motion to order a person who is believed to have in his possession crucial evidence and that will influence the outcome of the case to tender it before the court.
Confession exclusion-A defendant’s lawyer can make an application to the court requesting the quashing of the confession signed by the accused if the said confession was made prior to the defendant being informed about the impact of the confession and his Miranda rights.
Pre trial hearing is the meeting between a judge, plaintiff, defendant, Defendant’s lawyer and the district attorney. The purpose of pre trial hearing is to solve the issue raised during pre trial, motions (Platto, 1990). In most cases, the judge issues a ruling on the issues presented .On the other hand, if the issues raised are complex, the judge makes a ruling that they will be resolved during trial due their complexity.
Pretrial motions are a defendant’s right. Every defendant has the right to be awarded a fair trial and pre trial motions enhance the realization of this right. Gamesmanship can be incorporated in pretrial motions so as to win a case by seeking for the exclusion of certain evidence and witnesses.
Three pretrial motions that were heard during Robert Sandoval pre trial are(Kinney,1988); juror’s partial nature-One of the jurors present in the pre trial was biased and would not lay emphasis to what the defendant would say in his defense. The defendant requested the court to have him discharged but the judge retained the said juror.
The second issue was the credibility of the ``arresting police” officer-Robert argued that the police exaggerated his testimony at the police station .The evidence of Robert was different from that of the police officer.
The third issue was the criminal culpability-Robert argued that he did not intend to commit the crime in his pre trial motion. However, the judge did not address his theory of defense and rejected it.
Finally, exclusion of the Robert Sandoval statement was a pre trial motion issue –Robert Sandoval’s statement that was presented in court contradicted the evidence of Robert Sandoval in regard to what he Recorded at the police station after being informed of his ``Miranda rights”.
The lawyer for Robert Sandoval filed the pre trial motions .The motion was to facilitate the disputation of evidence tendered by the prosecution. The defendant’s side hoped to suppress the prosecution evidence. The Judge ruled in favor of the prosecution by rejecting all the issued fronted by Robert’s lawyer. The prosecution won the pre trial motions hearing at ``the trial court” .The pre trial motions formed the basis of Robert Sandoval appeal. The appellate court ruled that the trial court committed a mistake in rejecting his motions and ordered for the retrial of the case.
Berry, J et al. (1989). Suppression & Discovery: Pre-trial Motions in
Criminal Cases. USA. Massachusetts bar Association, Criminal Justice Section.
Kinney, S. (1988). First degree murder trial of Robert Sandoval. Retrieved
Platto, C. (1990). Pre-trial and pre-hearing procedures worldwide.Michigan.Graham and
Trot man publishers.