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Do I have to go to the Pre-trial Conference?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed September 2019

You may have to go to the pre-trial conference, you might not. The answer depends on the court and the prosecutor. The prosecutor is the District Attorney's office. The prosecutor might want you to come to the pre-trial conference. The prosecutor may be thinking of making a deal with person who abused you and letting them plead guilty to a lesser crime than they were charged with. The prosecutor may want to talk to you about the facts of the case and what you want to see happen.

If the District Attorney thinks the only thing that will happen at the pre-trial conference is that a trial date will be decided, it might be a waste of your time to be there.

You should call the District Attorney's Office or your Victim/Witness Advocate to see if you need to go to the pre-trial conference. If you want to be sure that you know what is going on and that the District Attorney will consider what you have to say, you should think about going to the pre-trial conference.

If you go, you will not have to testify. But the District Attorney or the court might ask for your opinion.

What happens if the abusive person pleads guilty at the pre-trial conference?

If the abusive person pleads guilty at the pre-trial conference, the case will be settled that day.

If you are at the pre-trial conference, the Assistant District Attorney (ADA) who is prosecuting the case will probably ask you what you want to see happen. The ADA may or may not follow your wishes.

Then the judge will sentence the abusive person. The ADA can tell the judge what they think the sentence should be, but it is up to the judge to decide. You can ask the ADA what types of sentences are possible in the case.

What happens if the abusive person pleads not guilty at the pre-trial conference?

If abusive person pleads not guilty at the pre-trial conference, the case will be set for trial. If it is a complicated case, there may be more hearings before a trial. The District Attorney's office should send you a letter telling you about any hearings and whether or not you need to go to them.

The abusive person could change their plea to guilty at any of these hearings. They could even change their plea to guilty on the day of trial.

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