UPDATED with a better copy of docket : Initial Appearance Docket Before Houston County District Judge Benjamin LewisRickey Stokes
Posted by: RStokes
Date: Oct 15 2012 11:49 AM
HOUSTON COUNTY: Each morning Houston County District Court Judge Benjamin Lewis has a court appearance referred to a “First Appearance” or “Initial Appearance”.
The appearance is normally done by TV from the Houston County Jail to the 2nd floor Courtroom where Judge Lewis presides.
The “First Appearance” or “Initial Appearance” is for persons which have been arrested and are currently in jail. The law requires a person which has not made bond to come before the Judge within 72 hours of their arrest.
At the court appearance Judge Lewis informs the person of the offense in which they are in jail for. What the offense is, misdemeanor or felony, and the range of punishment. Judge Lewis informs them of the bond amount if they have one. Judge Lewis goes over the basic initial rights.
When arrested the defendant are normally required to complete a form titled Affaidavit Of Substantial Hardship This form contains the persons income and expenses, and determines if the person is eligible for a court appointed attorney.
When each felony cases are docketed, the computer assigns a Circuit Judge in the event the case makes it through the system from District Court to Circuit Court. Based on the Circuit Court assignment, Judge Lewis appoints one of two Court Appointed Contract Attorney’s. If the case is a misdemeanor, the Misdemeanor Court Appointed Attorney is assigned.
The defendant does not get to pick which attorney they are assigned. However they are told his is not a free attorney unless they are found Not Guilty or the case is dismissed. On a plea of guilt or finding of guilt, the defendant is accessed costs for the attorney.
Contract Attorney’s are paid $ 5,500.00 per month to handle contract cases.
We have provided the initial appearance list that was held this morning at 8:30 AM. Some explanations:
CASE # - that is the court case number assigned to the defendant. The first two letters, such as CS means child support, CC means Circuit Criminal, INDT means a Grand Jury indictment, DC means District Criminal Case, WR means a warrant, ON VIEW means the officer made an arrest on view of the subject, and NO WR means at this time no warrant issued.
The next tow numbers, example CS08 – the 08 means the year the case was made. Following the 08 are sequential numbers for the case assignment.
INMATE NAME – reflect the persons name that is in custody.
BOND – the amount the bond is that will be required to get out of jail. Normally cash bonds are persons which have not paid any money. Bonds over $ 150,000.00 are normally those which officers go to Judges to get them to set to keep the person in jail. Common and custom practice way to often for no real legitimate reasons. Granted, sometimes they are legitimate reasons but way to often it is done by officers to try and break someone into talking to the officer or because they made the officer mad.
POD – where the person is in the jail.
CHARGE – the offense the person is charged with. FTA – represents “failure to appear”, TOP 3rd is Theft of Property in third degree, B & E Motor Vehicle means breaking and entering into a motor vehicle, UPCS means Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance, UMCS means Unlawful Manufacturing of a Controlled Substance, FTA RSP 3rd, Failure To Appear on Receiving Stolen Property.
DATE – the date arrested.
Following this initial appearance, the persons in the jail are given paperwork with information concerning the attorney they are appointed. The attorney will meet with the person in jail and file appropriate motions in their cases.
Judge Lewis is very patient with the persons. He answers their questions and slowly explains to them the circumstances they are in and what the steps are that are before them.