After Arraignment and before the Trial, if you plead not guilty, both sides will exchange information needed to prepare their cases for trial. This is called discovery. For example, your lawyer can look at any physical evidence that the prosecutor has, can get copies of any written or verbal statements you made, can get a copy of what you testified to the grand jury and can get results of any physical or mental tests that the prosecution did to you or your property. The prosecutor has to give you some discovery information within 15 days of your arraignment. But other discovery doesn’t come until just before the trial starts.
Both sides may also make written pre-trial motions to the court. A motion is how you ask the court for something in the case. For example, your lawyer or you may ask the Judge to dismiss the case in the interests of justice (also called a Clayton motion), or reduce the charges, or prevent evidence from being used at the trial. Hearings may be held to decide whether the motions should be granted or not. These pre-trial motions are made within 45 days of the arraignment.
There are several kinds of motions that argue that the police did not follow the right procedures to get evidence in the case. These motions are called suppression motions because they ask the court to suppress or stop evidence from being used in the case. The hearings to decide if these motions should be granted are called suppression hearings.
The following are common examples of suppression hearings:
Mapp hearings are held on motions to suppress physical evidence on the grounds that the police seized the evidence during an illegal search.
Huntley hearings are held on motions to suppress a defendant’s statement on the ground that it was illegally obtained. Your lawyer may argue that the statement was made against your will due to pressure, tricks, threats, or physical abuse; or that you were not properly advised of the right to remain silent and the right to counsel; or that the statement was the product of an illegal arrest.
Wade hearings are held on motions to suppress proof of an out of court police arranged identification of the defendant. Grounds for this motion include that the lineup or photo lineup was held in an illegal or suggestive manner.
A Dunaway hearing, which is always held in combination with a Mapp, Huntley, or Wade hearing, is held on a motion to suppress proof that the police obtained from an illegal arrest.