The Law: A Backlog for Lawyers

Coping with its own backlog, the Supreme Court also issued significant decisions on the rights of suspects. PRELIMINARY HEARINGS. The fate of a suspect may be shaped at a preliminary hearing, where a judge weighs the available evidence in order to decide whether to hold or release the accused. Last week the court ruled that suspects brought before such preliminary hearings must have lawyers present.

Earlier rulings already entitle indigent suspects to court-appointed lawyers at police interrogations and lineups. If lawyers are excluded, the court has ruled, the defendant's remedy is clear: any evidence...

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