Pre-Trial Motions

A wide variety of motions may be made prior to trial. Among the most common that are filed by the defense are:

Motions to relocate the trial through a change of venue, claiming pretrial publicity will make it impossible to select an impartial jury.

Motions challenging the admissibility of certain pieces of evidence.

Motions seeking access to evidence in the possession of the prosecution.

This phase of the case, known as motion practice, occurs primarily on paper. Only if a judge feels that oral argument of the issues or evidence from witnesses would aid in a decision will a hearing be held.

During the pretrial phase, you also may encounter efforts to seal what hearings there are. Most pretrial hearings must be open to the public, but there are a complicated set of exceptions. Media organizations may decide to oppose the sealing of court records.


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