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FAQs: Pretrial

  • Are there any services for my family available?

    Pretrial will make appropriate community referrals if requested. However, our office does not provide services to families of those under supervision.

  • How am I enrolled in the program?

    Enrollment in the program occurs after a Pretrial Diversion investigation is completed by the Pretrial Services office. If the investigation reveals the individual is in compliance with the guidelines for referrals to the diversion program, the individual will be contacted to schedule an appointment to sign the diversion agreement. The pretrial diversion agreement is a contract between the government and the individual which states the condition of the diversion program for that individual.

  • How do I contact my supervising officer?

    Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. After hours please leave a message on voice mail.

  • How do I post bond?

    Bonds may be posted with the court for bail as ordered by a judge. Bonds may be ordered to be posted in the form of cash, secured bond through a surety, property, or a combination of forms. All bonds must be ORDERED by the court before being accepted by the clerk’s office. Cash bonds should be tendered to the cashier located in the District Court Clerk’s Office. Bond may be posted by either cash or cashier’s check, payable to the Clerk, U.S. District Court. All bail bonds will be receipted by the cashier in the name of the defendant as specified by local rules.

  • Sex Offender Registeration

    Defendants with a prior conviction for an offense requiring registration with the State Sex Offenders registry MUST register to avoid a violation of his/her conditions of pretrial release. If a defendant is unclear on this matter, they are to seek direction from the Pretrial Services Office.

  • What are conditions of release?

    In nearly all cases, the Court will order conditions of release as part of the bond requirements. Pretrial supervision is ordered in nearly all instances, as are travel restrictions. Additionally, no defendant may possess firearms or other dangerous devices, including ammunition, while the case is pending.

    Other conditions may be ordered and could include any or all of the following:

    • Avoid contact with any persons who are or may become a victim or potential witness
    • Report all contact with law enforcement
    • Surrender passport and obtain no passport
    • Electronic Monitoring
    • House Arrest
    • Curfew
    • Substance abuse testing and/or treatment
    • Mental health evaluation and/or counseling
    • Residence at a Community Corrections Center
    • Maintain employment or attend school
    • Other conditions may be ordered by the U.S. Magistrate Judge
  • What are the types of bond ordered by U.S. Magistrate Judges?

    There are a variety of bond types ordered in the Federal Courts. They include:

    • Personal recognizance bond: Defendant is released on his/her written promise to appear at all Court proceedings.
    • Unsecured bond: Defendant is released on his/her written promise to appear at all Court proceedings AND to pay the Court the full bond amount in the event he/she fails to appear.
    • Secured bond: Defendant’s release requires cash or collateral (property) be posted with the Court prior to the Defendant’s release from custody.
    • Surety bond: Defendant’s release requires a bondsman, attorney, or similar party, to post surety prior to the defendant’s release from custody. All sureties used must be on the Department of the Treasury’s Listing of Approved Sureties. The surety must have a current certificate of Authority from the State of Missouri on file with the Court. The agent appointed by the surety must have a valid power of attorney filed with the Court.
    • Release with Conditions: In addition to the above-mentioned bonds, the Court typically orders pretrial supervision and reporting as a condition of release for all defendants. Other special conditions may be ordered, including, but not limited to: travel restrictions, electronic monitoring (see separate section on this), substance abuse counseling and testing, and employment. Additionally, all defendants are ordered to not possess any firearm or dangerous device while on pretrial release.
  • What does it mean when someone is a third party custodian?

    This is a condition of release that designates an individual who agrees to assume supervision of the defendant and report any violations of release conditions to the Court. The custodian must inform the Court if they believe the defendant will fail to appear or, if the defendant’s behavior becomes a danger to the community.

  • What does my participation in a substance abuse program cost?

    Services for substance abuse counseling/testing and mental health counseling are provided by the Pretrial Services office unless otherwise determined by the Court.

  • What happens if I am out of range?

    This issue will be discussed with the court.

  • What happens if my phone service is disconnected?

    If services are not re-connected, alternative sites (home plan) will be explored.

  • What happens if the bond is revoked?

    Forfeiture of bond may occur if the defendant fails to appear and bond is revoked. The Judge may issue a bench warrant and declare a revocation of the bail bond or appearance bond.

  • What if a defendant lives in another District - how does he/she report?

    If a defendant is charged in the Eastern District of Missouri, but lives in another area, the Pretrial Services Office will make arrangements for the Pretrial Services Office in the District of residence to provide supervision. The Officer will provide specific instructions on how to make contact with the supervising office prior to the defendant leaving the Eastern District of Missouri.

    Each time the defendant travels to the Eastern District of Missouri, he/she should report - in person - to the Pretrial Services Office and meet with the Pretrial Officer monitoring the case.

  • What if I test positive for an illegal substance?

    Testing positive for drug use is a violation of conditions of release and as such, a violation would be submitted to the Court which could result in revocation of release.

  • What if the assigned Pretrial Services Officer is not available on call-in day or for office visits?

    If the assigned Officer is not available when a defendant calls in, a voice mail message is accepted. The message should provide a telephone number where the defendant may be contacted and leave a brief message stating there are no problems and no change in residence, job, or employment status.

    If a defendant reports to the office and the assigned Pretrial Services Officer is unavailable, the Officer of the Day will be called. There is no need for a defendant to return to see the assigned Officer, unless directed to do so.

  • What is a Detention Hearing?

    Detention hearings are conducted when the U.S. Attorney’s Office, or the Court on its own motion, requests that the defendant be detained without bail. At the detention hearing, the Government must prove there is reason to detain the defendant.

  • What is a home visit?

    Home visits are unannounced visits by the assigned Pretrial Services Officer, with another Officer. The Officer will tour the residence and visit with the defendant and any family members at home during the visit. If a defendant is not home at the time of the visit, the Officer will leave a business card or note. The defendant is to call the office to confirm receipt of the note.

  • What is a monthly reporting form?

    Upon an individual’s enrollment in the diversion program, they will receive instructions on how to complete and mail in a monthly reporting form which reports the subject’s current address, current employment, and other relevant information.

  • What is a Presentence Report?

    The Court will order a presentence report following a verdict of guilty at trial or the entrance of a guilty plea. While the probation office compiles this report, defendants continue to report to and be supervised by the Pretrial Services Office. All previously ordered conditions of release remain in effect.

  • What is an Appointed Attorney?

    All defendants have the right to an attorney’s representation in their defense. If the U.S. Magistrate Judge finds the defendant is unable to afford an attorney, an Order will be entered appointing an attorney. Defendants are not required to remit payment to an appointed attorney.

  • What is an Arraignment?

    Arraignments are conducted in open court and consist of the reading of the indictment or the information to the defendant or stating the substance of the charge. The defendant must enter a plea to the charge(s) at that time. A trial date is then set.

  • What is an Initial Appearance?

    The initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge is in most cases the defendant’s first contact with the Court and usually is the point where pretrial release or detention is addressed. An initial appearance will occur in one of the following situations:

    • an arrest on a warrant issued on a complaint an appearance on a summons issued in lieu of a warrant an arrest by an officer without a warrant (in which case the complaint is issued immediately by the U.S. Magistrate Judge) an arrest on a warrant issued following the return of an indictment of the Grand Jury an information is filed by the U.S. Attorney an appearance on a citation or violation notice in a misdemeanor offense
    • an appearance in response to an informal agreement between the U.S. Attorney and Defense Counsel

    The defendant will be read the charges being filed or the complaint against them during the initial appearance. Additionally, they will be provided a copy of the charges. The Court will determine if there is a need for an appointed attorney at this time.

  • What is Electronic Monitoring?

    Electronic monitoring is a system used to increase effectiveness in supervising defendants who are required to abide by curfew or remain in their homes as a condition of pretrial release.

    The Home Monitoring Unit is part of an electronic monitoring system designed to increase the effectiveness of supervising clients who are required to abide by curfew restrictions or stay at home as part of pretrial release. The home monitoring unit monitors a client to determine whether he/she is at home.

  • What is inpatient treatment?

    Inpatient treatment is necessary for defendant’s who have continually tested positive for the presence of illicit substances and who are struggling with their substance abuse programs. An appropriate inpatient facility will be determined by the defendant’s supervising officer should it become apparent that intensive treatment is necessary.

    A defendant could also be referred to inpatient treatment when released on bond.

  • What is involved in pretrial supervision?

    Typically, a pretrial services officer will require a defendant to adhere to a specific reporting schedule, which may include telephone and/or personal contact with the assigned pretrial services officer. The officer will monitor the defendant’s compliance with the conditions of release. Home visits will be conducted throughout bond supervision. Additional instructions may be given to a defendant, based on the conditions of release ordered by the U.S. Magistrate Judge.

  • What is needed to post a property bond?

    The property owner posting the bond must provide the following items to the Court:

    • Copy of the deed to the property,
    • The most recent paid real estate tax receipt,
    • Copy of the property insurance policy; and,
    • A statement of the balance due on the mortgage (shown on a payment book, monthly statement or letter from the mortgage company.)

    The property bond MUST be signed by all parties named on the deed. Anyone posting a property bond with the Court should check with the Judge ordering the release for additional requirements. Property bonds are handled directly by the Judge’s chamber’s staff.

  • What is pretrial diversion?

    The pretrial diversion program is a tool utilized by the U.S. attorney in deferring prosecution of individuals who appear to have been involved in prosecutable offenses. The pretrial services office receives referrals, collects and verifies information and prepares a report under an agreement with the U.S. attorney for the district. The Chief Pretrial Services Officer is authorized under Title 18 USC 3154(10) to enter into a pretrial diversion agreement with the U.S. attorney for the district.

  • What is required for Electronic Monitoring in a home?

    The EM specialist must verify that a private telephone line exists within the home and there are no party lines. If the telephone has call forwarding, call waiting, or caller ID., they must be removed prior to installation of the home monitoring unit. Cordless telephones should be a desk type model and not a wall mount. The wall mount telephone may not be functional after the unit is installed. Verification of the types of telephone services may be done through the security office of Southwestern Bell Telephone.The in-home part of the monitoring system consists of the monitoring unit, telephone cables, power pack and an ankle transmitter.The ankle transmitter attached to the client sends a continuous coded signal that identifies the individual participant and contains a security circuitry that is able to detect tampers or removal, and sends a special signal to the monitoring center when either occurs.The home monitoring unit is connected to the participant’s telephone line (in-house). This unit is designed to receive the signal emitted by the corresponding ankle transmitter within a pre-set range (50' - 75'). The home monitoring unit determines when the participant enters or leaves the residence by recording the time when the ankle transmitter comes into or goes out of range.Electronic monitoring is also appropriate for use with defendants who have violated the terms of previously imposed release conditions.Community and familial stability are important given the potential for long term enforced togetherness. Persons residing with the participant must be willing to make sacrifices demanded by the electronic monitoring program.

    Participants must have a residence and a telephone.

  • What is restitution?

    Restitution may be collected from an individual based on the nature of their original offense. If restitution is to be collected, money should be submitted to the Pretrial Services Office via money order or cashier’s check, payable to the victim. No cash or personal checks are accepted as payment.

  • What is substance abuse counseling?

    Typically, substance abuse counseling will consist half hour sessions between the individual and their counselor at the vendor’s location. The supervising Pretrial Services Officer can allocate up to four individual sessions per month for any defendant.

  • What is substance abuse testing?

    Substance abuse testing consists of a defendant submitting to randomly announced urine collections which are observed by employees of the vendor providing the service or by a Pretrial Services officer if the test is required during an office visit. The supervising Pretrial Services Office can allocate up to four random urine tests per month for any defendant in a substance abuse testing program.

  • What is termination from the diversion program contingent upon?

    Termination from the diversion program is contingent upon a subject repaying any and all restitution to the victim owed if restitution was ordered. It is also contingent upon the subject remaining in full compliance throughout the twelve month period of supervision which includes contacting the supervising officer as directed and submitting monthly reporting forms as instructed.

  • What is the term of supervision?

    The term of supervision in the diversion program commences the day the diversion agreement is signed and continues for a period of twelve months but not to exceed eighteen months. At the conclusion of that twelve month period, the supervising officer will evaluate the subject’s success in the program. If restitution is still outstanding or other matters are still unresolved, the subject will be extended an additional six months in the program for a total of eighteen months of supervision.

  • What is Voluntary Surrender or Self-Surrender?

    At sentencing, if a defendant is not remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service, the Judge may allow the defendant to self-surrender for his/her term of incarceration. A defendant remains under Pretrial Services supervision until he reports to the Bureau of Prisons facility designated by the U.S. Marshals Service. Defendants are notified by mail of the surrender information 4 - 6 weeks in advance.

  • Where is my mental health provider located?

    Every attempt is made to locate a vendor near the defendant’s residence or place of employment to facilitate the defendant’s successful participation in their mental health program. Should a defendant require directions or additional information regarding their program plan and/or location, they should contact their supervising officer immediately.

  • Where is my substance abuse provider located?

    Every attempt is made to locate a vendor near the defendant’s residence or place of employment to facilitate the defendant’s successful participation in their substance abuse program. Should a defendant require directions or additional information regarding their program plan and/or location, they should contact their supervising officer immediately.

  • Who do I contact to schedule an appointment for treatment?

    If a substance abuse counseling and treatment or mental health treatment is ordered as a condition of a defendant’s release, the supervising pretrial services officer will direct the individual as to when to call the treatment center and who to talk to. If the defendant misplaces this information, they should contact their supervising officer immediately.

  • Who gets fingerprinted?

    All pretrial diversion candidates are fingerprinted upon their enrollment into the program.

  • Who is referred for the diversion program?

    Individuals who are not:Accused of an offense which, under existing department guidelines, should be referred to the state for prosecution; A person with two or more felony convictions; (the one acceptable prior felony convictions must be a non-drug, non-violent offense and must have "special exception" of the U.S. Attorney’s Office); An addict;

    A public official or former public official accused of an offense arising out of an alleged violation of public trust.

  • Will being on pretrial supervision jeopardize employment?

    Pretrial supervision will not usually jeopardize employment. However, if a defendant’s employment is related to the alleged instant offense, the pretrial services officer may require a defendant to notify the employer of the arrest and pending charges or seek alternative employment.