The Criminal Courts Building (CCB) is the central hub courthouse and has been around for many years. It's where most of the prosecutors, judges, and courtrooms in all of the courthouses in LA County are.
CCB is the main courthouse. It's called the Clara Foltz Courthouse downtown at 210 West Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012, phone: (213) 628-7900.
They usually file high-profile prominent criminal cases in that court. The severe cases will probably receive some publicity. All the head supervisors of the District Attorney's office are stationed there. They have a protocol. It depends on the type of case you have.
If you have just a general case handled by the prosecutors who sit in the courts, the protocol is to get to a supervisor. You usually can't do that until you get into the preliminary court hearing.
So, when you get to Dept. 30 in downtown LA on the 5th floor, you're not going to be able to negotiate with the attorney who sits in there because they are not prepared to negotiate the case, doesn't have the time, and is usually just there to set the bond in the case and move the case along to the next destination.
That would be in Dept. 15, the early disposition program, or one of the preliminary hearing courts on the 3rd floor. Once you get to Dept. 50, or one of the preliminary hearing departments on the 3rd floor, they'll be a prosecutor assigned to that particular courtroom.
You will certainly discuss negotiating with them –your criminal defense attorney can, but if you want to get the best resolution, you're going to have to go above their head – go to their supervisor, present a mitigation package, and that's the protocol for a general case at the criminal courts building. Let's review this topic further below.
Preliminary Hearings in California
A preliminary hearing, called “prelim,” is a legal procedure in California criminal courts that only applies to felony crimes. Misdemeanor charges are resolved through a negotiated plea deal, guilty plea, or jury trial.
The legal steps of a preliminary hearing in a felony offense are crucial because it serves multiple purposes for a defendant and prosecution, often leading to resolving the case before trial.
After the prosecutor formally files a felony complaint, California law requires a preliminary hearing called a probable cause hearing.
Since a preliminary hearing allows the District Attorney and the defense attorney to see how the case could play out in front of a jury, it serves another role in potentially resolving a felony case through a negotiated plea.
Maybe both sides inaccurately assessed the strength of the case. Perhaps the defense lawyer mistakenly believed there was not enough evidence to convict. Maybe the prosecution mistakenly thought the case was solid.
The preliminary hearing often forces negotiations to settle the case when they were deadlocked because the prosecutor was unwilling to make a fair offer of a reduced crime or a lighter sentence.
The preliminary hearing can allow both sides of the criminal case to reevaluate their positions and reach a favorable resolution through a negotiated plea bargain deal, which recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence against a defendant. Most felony cases in California are resolved after the preliminary hearing.
What About Special Prosecutors?
If your case is specially assigned to a specific prosecutor, you have a different protocol. Usually, you're going to see a case specially designated when it's a:
- sex crime case,
- Penal Code 187 PC murder case,
- Penal Code 664/187 PC attempted murder,
- Penal Code 186.22 PC criminal street gang case.
There's a whole list of reasons why a special prosecutor could be assigned to your particular case, but the protocol, in that case, is to talk to that prosecutor.
That prosecutor will typically have a boss, and then you will negotiate with that boss. You submit a mitigation package to the prosecutor. They give it to the boss.
You set up a meeting either in person, over the phone, or on the internet with the boss, present your mitigation package, and then you can negotiate with them.
So, you start to get an idea of what the protocol is. It gets a little complicated when you get past the preliminary hearing, and now you're in one of the trial courts.
That prosecutor in the trial court usually has the capability and authority to negotiate and make decisions. They can even undercut lower-level prosecutors at the preliminary hearing level.
That prosecutor will also have a boss, and then the boss of that prosecutor will have a director so that you can negotiate with any of those people.
I've taken several cases up to the director, negotiated with them, and tried to get the best resolution possible for my client.
Then the last stop is the people surrounding the current prosecutor, George Gascon, as I write this particular content. But, anyone who is in there, whether it's Gascon, can get to their surrounding people, as long as you go up the proper chain of command and have to have a good argument. You're trying to get something that other prosecutors won't give you.
So, if you or a loved one has a case at CCB, you're looking for the best – you're looking for somebody who's used to negotiating there and getting great results for their clients – you've come to the right place.
Pick up the phone now. Make the call to Ron Hedding. Let me put my 30 years of experience to work for you. The Hedding Law Firm provides a free case evaluation via phone or fill out the contact form.