Felony Charge Dismissed at Preliminary Hearing
All individuals charged with a felony offense in Wisconsin have a right to a preliminary hearing. The purpose of a preliminary hearing is for the prosecutor to call witnesses to establish probable cause that it is more likely than not the individual committed a felony offense. The rules of the preliminary hearing are geared entirely in favor of the prosecution. As such judges find probable cause in most cases. For various reasons, lawyers often advise their clients to waive the right to a preliminary hearing. In a recent Dane County case, however, Attorney Verhoff advised the client to have the preliminary hearing. The prosecutor called a deputy sheriff to testify, and Attorney Verhoff cross examined him. At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge dismissed the felony charge of bail jumping against our client after Attorney Verhoff successfully argued that the prosecution failed to establish probable cause that our client committed a felony. He argued that the prosecutor did not properly establish the client had been released on felony bail at the time he was alleged to have committed a new, misdemeanor offense. The judge agreed. An unusual, but fantastic outcome for our client.