Lyon County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Lyon County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Lyon County.
Jury Deliberations in Lyon County
In Lyon County, jury deliberations will take place in a jury trial after the prosecution and defense have presented their cases and rested. At this point, the judge will provide a list of instructions to the jury about what they are allowed and not allowed to do and what verdict options are available for them to decide. The jury will be sent to a private room to discuss the evidence presented in the case and attempt to reach a unaminous decision. When a unaminous decision is reached, the jury will inform the judge that they have reached a verdict and will return to the courtroom for the verdict to be read allowed. In the event that the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the jury results in a deadlock and a mistrial is declared.
Right to an attorney
The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In Lyon County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Required Court Appearances in Lyon County
Any required court appearances in Lyon County Criminal Court must be attended by the defendant. Failure to appear in court at your required date and time may result in the judge issuing an arrest warrant.
Lyon County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Lyon County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Lyon County Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Lyon County a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.
Lyon County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Lyon County will take place at the Lyon County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Lyon County Criminal Court Locations.
If guilty, who sentences the defendant?
If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.
Jury by Trial Right
The US Constitution (Article 3 along with the 6th Amendment) ensures an accused defendant the right to a jury trial. This applies to crimes that have a $500 fine or a potential sentence of six months in jail (aka Serious Crimes). This right to trial by jury can also be waived by a defendant.
A Plea Agreement, sometimes known as a Plea Bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant, where the defendant pleads guilty or no contest often in exchange for a lesser charge or lighter recommended sentence. A large majority of criminal cases end in a plea agreement. In Lyon County you can inform your attorney to negotiate with the prosecution to attempt to come to a plea agreement, but this is dependent upon the charge severity and also the prosecutors willingness to accept a plea deal.
Burden of Proof Requirement
In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Appealing a Criminal Conviciton
A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.
Who is the prosecutor for Lyon County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Lyon County criminal cases will either be a representative of Lyon County or a representative from Iowa. After reviewing evidence it is the prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges or drop a case. Most prosecutors have the ability to negotiate plea bargains, and determine how the case will be prosecuted.
Who can help me in Lyon County?
For general information about your case the Lyon County court clerk will be able to provide legal information about your specific criminal case. Legal information is not legal advice though, the court clerk will only be able to provide information about your case, like date/time of hearings what will occur at the hearing and what you may be required to do in the hearing. They cannot provide advice about what you should do or what the best legal options may be for your particular case. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and this is your best place for information about your specific criminal proceeding. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney to represent you, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent you, this is most often a public defender.
Lyon County Criminal Court Location
Lyon County District Court
Address: 206 South 2nd Street, Rock Rapids, IA 51246