If the prosecutor is not available, is it legal for the judge to stand in for him at a preliminary? hearing

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If the prosecutor is not available, is it legal for the judge to stand in for him at a preliminary? hearing

At my preliminary hearing the prosecutor was not in the court room, instead the judge was asking all the questions and acting as prosecuter and judge.

Asked on February 28, 2011 under Criminal Law, Tennessee

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Technically, Judge's are the fact finders in proceedings.  They can ask as many questions as they want of the witnesses and the defendant(s) and they can really conduct the hearing.  Now, I am not saying that it was the best procedure to conduct the hearing in that way as the Judge is supposed to be an impartial party (and again, I am not saying that by proceeding it was anything but fair) but it may not really have been "illegal" per se to do what he did.  Were you represented by counsel?  That could be an issue.  I would get one and bring this all up to him or her. Seek legal help.


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