Cal Law Trends and Developments
What follows is an effort to focus attention on certain problem areas in the day-to-day administration of justice. They are problems not so much because of their complexity, but rather because uncertainty persists despite considerable discussion of the rules governing each area. I have selected preliminary hearings, bail, appointment of counsel, sua sponte judicial dismissals, and reasonable doubt as appropriate topics for this chapter. There are, of course, numerous others entitled to treatment, but each of those selected relates to a subject over which the trial judge may exercise an extremely broad discretion. The exercise of this discretion may alter the course of a criminal proceeding, and once exercised, is often beyond the reach of an appellate court.