Criminal Procedures

The Criminal Process

Does the defendant have to physically appear before a judge at the initial appearance and the arraignment?

It depends on the individual state. Many states have laws that allow the use of “two-way electronic audio-video communication” between the defendant and the judge. Mississippi law provides that a defendant can appear via “closed circuit television or Web cam.” Other states, such as Montana, have a provision that allows a judge to order the defendant to be physically present for the initial appearance.


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