Stafford County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Stafford County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Stafford County.
The Right to Trial by Jury
The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by a jury. This is applicable for when the crime can carry a sentence of 6 months in jail OR a $500 fine, these are known as “Serious Crimes”. The defendant can also waive their right to a speedy and public trial.
What is Jury Deliberation?
After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.
Mandatory Appearances in Stafford County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Stafford County, the defendant must appear before the court. In the event of a “Failure to Appear” the judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant. Note: not all criminal hearings are mandatory, in a non-mandatory hearing an attorney may appear on your behalf without you being in court.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.
At a sentence hearing the judge will inform the defendant of the sentence that will be imposed. This sometimes occurs at the same hearing in which the defendant is found guilty (either by trial or plea agreement). In can also occur at a later date, most often this is due to the complexity of the case where more time is needed to determine the appropriate sentence.
Prosecutor in Stafford County
In Stafford County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Stafford County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Kansas. For the most part, the prosecutor in Stafford County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Stafford County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Stafford County will take place at the Stafford County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Stafford County Criminal Court Locations.
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 Stafford 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.
Can I appeal a guilty verdict?
If found guilty, a defendant may decide to appeal his case to an appelate court. The appellate court will not retry the case, they will examine the proceedings in the lower court to make sure they were done in a legal manner. The appellate court can either uphold the original conviction, or determine that due to errors made in the original trial, that there must be a retrial, resentencing or a complete dismissal of the charges.
I need help for my Stafford County criminal case
The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Stafford County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Stafford County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.
Arraignments in Stafford County
During an arraignment in Stafford County, a defendant appears before the court and the judge reads the charges that have been filed against the accused and also informs the defendant of his/her rights. During the arraignment in Stafford County, the defendant can choose to plead one of the following 1) Guilty 2) Not Guilty or 3) No Contest. If the defendant enters a plea of Not Guilty, a date for trial is set. In the event of a Guilty or No Contest Plea in Stafford County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
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 Stafford County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Stafford County Criminal Court Locations
Stafford County District Court
Address: 209 North Broadway, PO Box 365, St. John, KS 67576
Phone: 620-549-3295 Fax: 620-549-3298
Macksville Municipal Court
Address: 220 North Main Street, PO Box 247, Macksville, KS 67557
Phone: 620-348-2575 Fax: 620-348-3312
St. John Municipal Court
Address: 115 East 4th Avenue, PO Box 367, St. John, KS 67576
Phone: 620-549-3208 Fax: 620-549-6188
Stafford Municipal Court
Address: 112 West Broadway Street, PO Box 280, Stafford, KS 67578
Phone: 620-234-5011 Fax: 620-234-6033