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In common law jurisdictions, arraignment is the formal reading of a criminal charge, in the presence of the accused, to inform him of the particulars of the charge. In response to arraingment, the defendant is expected to enter a plea?. The pleas recognized from vary somewhat from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but they include the plea of guilty, the plea of not guilty, and the peremptory pleas (or pleas in bar), which set out special reasons for which a trial cannot go ahead: the plea of autrefois convict, the plea of autrefois acquit, and the plea of pardon. US jurisdictions also have the pleas of nolo contendere, and the Alford plea.

If the defendant pleads guilty an evidentiary hearing usually follows in order for the judge to assess the severity of the offense, consider any mitigating factors, and evaluate the character of the defendant before passing sentence?.

If the defendant pleads not guilty, a date will be set for a preliminary hearing during which an indictment will be considered. What does this mean to say an indictment will be considered? Isn't an indictment normally issued before the arraignment?

Formerly, a defendant who refused to plea would be subjected to peine forte et dure. But today in all common law jurisdictions a defendant who refuses to enter a plea has a plea of not guilty entered for them on their behalf.

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Last edited October 5, 2001 1:30 am by Rmhermen (diff)