What is the burden placed upon a trial court under section 995 of the Penal Code?

California, United States of America


The following excerpt is from People v. Olf, 15 Cal.Rptr. 390, 195 Cal.App.2d 97 (Cal. App. 1961):

The burden which is placed upon a trial court under Penal Code, section 995, is one which requires the court to so scrutinize the questioned record before it, whether it be an information or an indictment, as to ascertain whether there is any admissible evidence which supports the action of the magistrate or the grand jury, as the case may be. Where there is a heavy burden upon busy criminal trial courts, it is apparent that many of such motions can be determined by the district attorney directing the court's attention to specific, concise testimony which supports the charge. However, where, as here, the court determines that an information must be set aside, it is incumbent upon the court to read the entire transcript of the proceedings before the grand jury to determine whether or not there is any evidence which will support that body's determination that a crime has been committed, always bearing in mind the fact that only probable cause must appear. The fact that the trial judge feels, perhaps correctly, that the evidence in the grand jury transcript will not result in an ultimate conviction of the defendants can have no bearing upon his legal responsibility to uphold an indictment if, as is said in Bompensiero v. Superior Court, supra, 44 Cal.2d at page 183, 281 P.2d at page 254: '* * * there is some rational ground for assuming the possibility that an offense has been committed and the accused is guilty of it.'

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