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The Champion

July 2007 , Page 55 

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Practice Points

By Jeff Mueller

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Criminal Complaints 

Procedure in Detention and Preliminary Hearings
Federal criminal prosecutions generally begin by grand jury indictment. There are occasions, however, when law enforcement will initiate the process by criminal complaint. Rule 3 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure allows federal authorities to issue a complaint rather than initiate prosecution by indictment. Rules 5 and 5.1 explain the initial appearance and preliminary hearing procedures upon the filing of a criminal complaint.

For the initial appearance, a defendant must be brought before the U.S. magistrate judge in the district where the offense is alleged to have occurred or in the district where the defendant was found and arrested. This must be done without “unnecessary delay” and is generally set in five days or less. The magistrate judge will inform the defendant of his or her rights and set the case for bail hearing and preliminary hearing.

The defendant is granted the right to

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