Legal Question in Criminal Law in Indiana

Right to Trial by Jury

By signing an acknowledgement of rights does that eliminate your right to a jury trial. While incarcerated on a assualt charge jailer brought a form for acknowledgement of rights and told if in order to see the judge i had to sign paper. Now they are trying to have a bench trial.

Asked on 5/15/05, 6:50 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Ralph Tambasco Tambasco & Associates,P.C. Attornenys at Law

Re: Right to Trial by Jury

You do have a right to a jury trial. However, in the case of a felony it is automatic unless waived. If a misdemeanor it is not automatic. One wishing a jury trial for a misdemeanor must request one in writing 10 days prior to the trial date set. Otherwise it will be a bench or court trial.

In order to waive jury trial, a specific written waiver must be signed and then the court will review it with the defendant on the record to ensure that it was done knowingly, without duress and voluntarily.

An acknowledgment of rights is presented to a person just prior to his/her initial hearing or arraignment if you prefer. This advises the person of all the basic rights which they have after being criminally charged. This does not waive any of those rights, but confirms that the defendant has been so advised with a written record of it. Hopefully one reads what they presented with before signing anything.

You may really want to consider retaining counsel to be sure that every right is preserved and attention is given to every detail.

The above discussion relates to Indiana criminal procedure. As each case is different, the facts of each must fully be known before a true analysis can be given. Therefore the above is only for purposes of a general discussion and is not intended to be legal advise nor should be consider legal advise applicable to any specific case.

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Answered on 5/15/05, 8:23 am

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