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Leyes Estadounidenses: Homicidio e Asesinato


Pregunta: ” En el Estado de California, ¿puede el cargo de “homicidio involuntario” ser incrementado al cargo de “Asesinato” en el transcurso de un juicio ?”

La respuesta que traduzco a continuación, y que fue escrita en “La Red” hace 8 dias, tuvo 411 vistas/visitas.

La pregunta completa es la siguiente:

 ¿Puede el cargo de “homicidio involuntario” ser incrementado al cargo de “Asesinato” en el transcurso de un juicio?  El juez ha acusado a esta persona con el cargo de homicidio involuntario, la audiencia preliminar acaba de terminar, el juez ha oido todas las pruebas presentadas y se determinó que esta persona será juzgada muy pronto, pero todas las pruebas sugieren que esta persona cometió un asesinato. ¿ Puede el Juez incrementar el cargo sin que el fiscal del distrito se lo pida?  ¿ O es necesario que el Fiscal vuelva a presentar nuevos cargos y que el Juez decida sobre esa nueva presentación de cargos ?  ¿ O es ya demasiado tarde para incrementar los cargos?

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Answers (2)

Joseph Briscoe Dane
Contributor Level 10
Posted 8 days ago. This attorney is licensed in California.
I can only assume you’re talking about the recent preliminary hearing of Dr. Conrad Murray and the Michael Jackson case.

The judge’s ruling is based on what was presented at the preliminary hearing. They listen to the evidence, then based on a probable cause standard, make a determination if there is sufficient evidence to hold the defendant for trial. Their ruling is typically based on what charges are filed by the prosecution.

(Traducción -“Posteado” hace 8 días. Este abogado es “licenciado en Derecho” en/por el estado de California (EE.UU).
Sólo puedo asumir que Usted está hablando de la reciente audiencia preliminar del Doctor Conrad Murray en relación con Michael Jackson.

La decisión del juez está basada en lo que es presentado durante la audiencia preliminar. Ellos , (los jueces), escuchan las pruebas presentadas, y, trás esta audiencia,  en base  al  modelo legal estándar estadounidense llamado “causa probable”,  dictaminan si se han presentado pruebas suficientes para llevar al demandado a Juicio. Su dictamen, si es un dictamen de procesamiento,  está típificadamente basado en los cargos que ha presentado la parte acusadora.)

The prosecution files whatever charges they think they can prove based on the evidence. They then put on the preliminary hearing and make a motion that the defendant be held for trial (“held to answer”) on whatever charges they think they proved up at the preliminary hearing. For example, if they initially charged manslaughter, but during the hearing, they think they proved murder, they can ask the judge to hold the defendant to answer on murder charges. It’s up to the judge to rule whether there was enough evidence on the charge requested. If the judge thinks there is, then they can hold the defendant on the higher requested charge.

(La parte acusadora presenta todo cargo que piensa que puede probar basándose en las pruebas.)

It works the other way, too. Let’s say the DA filed murder charges initially, then put on their evidence at the preliminary hearing, but the judge wasn’t convinced the evidence was sufficient. They could refuse to hold the defendant for trial on the charged offense, but could order them held on any lesser offense they think was proven.

Once the judge has ruled, there is a period of time (15 calendar days) between the preliminary hearing and a second arraignment. The DA then files whatever charges they think were proven at the preliminary hearing in a new charging document called an information. In most cases, they file charges that are the same as the judge’s ruling. The prosecution can file additional charges – either extra charges, higher charges or lower charges.

From there, the defense can challenge those new charges in a Penal Code section 995 motion. Let’s say, for example, that the judge ruled that there wasn’t enough evidence for murder, but there was enough for manslaughter. The prosecution disagrees and decides to file murder charges anyway. The defense would then file a 995 motion to challenge those charges. A different judge would then review the transcript of the preliminary hearing and rule on whether or not there was sufficient evidence to support the charges.

The defense can file a 995 motion in any criminal case to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence, even if the charges don’t change from the initial charges. The defense can always challenge whether or not the defendant was held to answer based on enough evidence.

To answer the initial question though – can a judge upgrade charges during the trial? No. The decision of what charges to file is up to the DA. From there, the checks and balances of the preliminary hearing and 995 motions can challenge the charges, even before it gets to trial.

Once a case gets to trial, the charges the defendant will face have long since been decided. Of course, at trial, there are lesser included charges to those charged, giving the jury a whole host of options when it comes to deciding the case.

Joe Dane, Orange County Defense Attorney

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Ben Walter Pesta II
Contributor Level 7
Posted 7 days ago. This attorney is licensed in California.
Judges do not increase charges. The district attorney can file an information — or can amend an information — to reflect any evidence that was disclosed at the preliminary hearing and that indicates that a previously-uncharged crime may have been committed. He can do this right up until the beginning of trial.
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