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Pre-Exam Program

The Pre-Exam Program is designed to settle lower-level case quickly. The program currently covers only cases arising in the City of Detroit. Each criminal case is evaluated shortly after the charges are filed. If the charge and the sentencing guidelines indicate that a prison sentence is unlikely, the case is scheduled for a Pre-Exam Hearing within a few days of arrest. The Pre-Exam Prosecutor works with the Judge and the defense attorney to settle cases with special plea offers emphasizing substance abuse treatment, behavioral health treatment, payment of restitution and service with Wayne County's Alternative Work Force.

The success of the program speaks for itself. Almost half the Detroit felony cases in the 3rd Circuit Court pass through it. In 2005, this amounted to 4,711 defendants on 4,377 cases, 60% of which waived exam. This saved approximately 6,430 police officers and 792 civilians from appearing at the 36th District Court for a preliminary exam, which would have been waived anyway. A large majority of defendants are in jail and would have waited in jail much longer to resolve their cases. This represents a huge saving in jail space and resources.
What is the purpose of the Pre-Exam Program?
To encourage prompt disposition of less-serious felony offenses and save all parties (prosecution, defense, and the court) time and unnecessary court hearings.
When is the Pre-Exam Conference held?
Usually within one week of the defendant's arraignment on the warrant.
What cases are scheduled for Pre-Exams?
The program currently applies only to low-level felonies arising in the City of Detroit. "Capital" crimes (those carrying a maximum of life in prison) and other serious assaultive felonies are not scheduled for Pre-Exams, but are instead sent directly to the 36 the District Court.
What happens at the Pre-Exam?
The Defendant can plead guilty and proceed to sentence; waive his right to an examination and consider pleading at a later date; or, demand an examination in the District Court.
What are the advantages to the public?
Early disposition of a case means more efficient use of public resources. Unnecessary court hearings are not scheduled. Police Officers spend more time on the streets and less time in court. Civilian witnesses and crime victims are also required at fewer hearings.