How many times can a preliminary hearing be “reset” if witnesses are no-shows?

UPDATED: Feb 9, 2011

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How many times can a preliminary hearing be “reset” if witnesses are no-shows?

I am following a case where the defendant has showed up to court like 5 or 6 times only the have his hearing date reset. Defendant tells me that his accusers are not showing up to testify against him. This seems like a huge waste of resources to keep the defendant detained and require multiple court dates. Can the justice system really be this inefficient? I know that what I’m hearing from the defendant is obviously biased, so I just wanted to get some feedback as to why this could be happening. Thanks in advance.

Asked on February 9, 2011 under Criminal Law, Texas


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is quite possible that this could happen BUT, a defendant in the criminal process is afforded some safeguards and is given more leeway than the prosecutors that are bringing the action with adjournments.  Generally speaking a defendant can not be prejudiced by the legal system if their witnesses to their defense are unavailable so they are freely granted adjournments.  Prosecutors, on the other hand, most of the time have a statutorily set time frame with which to be ready with their case.  The defendant needs to be advised by his or her attorney as to this issue and what can be done to use it in his or her favor.

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