The Preliminary Examination for a charge of Second Degree Murder is the hearing where the prosecution has to prove that the crime of Second Degree Murder has been committed and that the charged defendant committed it. It usually occurs within 14 days of the Arraignment, but can occur several months after the Arraignment if additional time to prepare is requested by either party in the case. The Preliminary Examination will take place at the 14A-1 District Court Service Center, located next to the Washtenaw County Jail. Any of the District Judges in Washtenaw County can hear a Preliminary Examination, depending on the location of the alleged offense. These Judges include Judge Elizabeth Pollard Hines, Judge Karen Quinlan Valvo, Judge Joseph F. Burke, and Magistrate M. Colleen Currie.
At the Preliminary Examination, the prosecution has to prove its case by probable cause, which means that there must be a fair probability that the charged defendant committed the crime of Second Degree Murder based upon the testimony of the prosecution’s witnesses. The Preliminary Examination should never be taken lightly or waived without a very good reason. The Preliminary Examination is often a good time to better understand the prosecution’s evidence, to test the strength of that evidence, and to challenge the testimony of the prosecution’s witnesses. If the Judge believes that sufficient evidence exists at the Preliminary Examination, then the Judge will bindover the defendant for trial on the charge of Second Degree Murder and a Pre-Trial Hearing will be scheduled. The Judge can re-examine the defendant’s bond at this time and make any appropriate modifications, which could allow for the defendant’s release on bail.