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   Calendar Call

Jury trials are a logistical nightmare.  The prosecutor must gather all of the state’s witnesses, each of whom has his own life, employment issues and childcare issues.  The defense must gather all of the defense witnesses, some of whom must come from outside of the state.  The judge, with the help of the bailiffs, must make sure all of the jurors appear in court to hear the testimony of all of the witnesses.  The court reporter must be present to take everything down.  So, she can create a transcript later.  The sheriff is present to provide security in the courtroom, and make sure anyone needed from the jail is transported.  If anyone is missing, everything grinds to a halt.  Jury trials are a logistical nightmare.

Because of the logistical demands of a jury trial, courts have created court dates known as calendar calls, where criminal cases are called to court, so all attorneys (prosecutors and defense attorneys) can announce if they are actually ready for a jury trial.  If the prosecutor or defense attorney is NOT ready to go to trial, the respective attorney must explain why he is not ready to go to trial, and when he might expect to be ready to go to trial.  If both the prosecutor and defense attorney are ready for jury trial, the judge will either tell  both parties:  (1) report for jury trial on a date certain; or (2) they are on-call, which means they should be ready in the event that the cases which have actually been called in for trial resolve themselves short of jury trial.

 

Calendar calls are often very confusing.  First, the prosecutor and defense must announce on the calendar call date, IF they are ready for trial.  The announcement can sometimes be taken by phone or e-mail, thereby relieving the defendant of the responsibility of appearing in court.  Second, IF the case is place on-call, the case can be called in anytime during the week that it is on-call. 

 

An example may help clarify.  On the court notice, the calendar call date will be Tuesday March 13, 2012.  On that date the defense attorney and defendant appear in court (if they do not make the announcement by phone) and tell the judge if they are ready for trial.  If the announcement is ready for trial, then the trial judge places the case on-call for the weeks of March 19th and March 26th, which means the case can be called in anytime during those two weeks.  So, the defense attorney and his client must remain in close contact during those two weeks.  If the case is called in for trial on Thursday, March 22, 2012, the defense attorney will receive a call on Wednesday, March 21, 2012, at 3:30 p.m. and told to report for trial at 8:30 a.m. on March 22, 2012.  At that time the attorney and defendant should be ready to go to trial, especially since they announced ready for trial at calendar call on March 13, 2012.  Most of the time the process becomes confusing because client’s resist the process, either because they do not have enough notice to give their job, or they reside out of town, or the entire process makes it difficult to make any plans during the trial week.  For better or worse, this is how it is done.

 

Typically, once a case has been placed on the trial calendar, it will be called in every month for calendar call, which means the defense attorney and client/defendant will have to appear each month to announce ready for jury trial, and wait on pins and needles to see if they have been called in for trial,  until the case is over.  Failure to appear at any one of these calendar calls will result in a bench warrant for the client/defendant.

Lawrence Lewis is an experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer practicing as Drug Attorney, License Suspension Lawyers, Sex Offense Attorney, Traffic Citation Lawyer, Misdemeanor Offenses Attorneys, Felony Offenses Lawyer, Bond Lawyer, Armed Robber Attorney, dui lawyer, Preliminary Hearing serving Lawrenceville, Gwinnett Country, Metro Atlanta, Alpharetta, Roswell, Marietta, Buford, Fulton County, Canton, Decatur, Norcross, Woodstock, Stone Mountain, Duluth and Cumming .

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