The initial appearance before a judge in a criminal case. At an arraignment, the charges against the defendant are read, a lawyer is appointed if the defendant cannot afford one, and the defendant's plea is entered.
Crim. Law Practice. Signifies the calling of the defendant to the bar of the court, to answer the accusation contained in the indictment. It consists of three parts.
Calling the defendant to the bar by his name, and commanding him to hold up his hand; this is done for the purpose of completely identifying the prisoner, as the person named in the indictment; the holding 20up his hand is not, however, indispensable, for if the prisoner should refuse to do so, he may be identified by any admission that he is the person intended.
The reading of the indictment to enable him fully to understand, the charge to be produced against him; The mode in which it is read is, after' saying, 'A B, hold up your hand,' to proceed, 'you stand indicted by the name of A B, late of, etc., for that you on, etc.' and then go through the whole of the indictment.
After this is concluded, the clerk proceeds to the third part, by adding, 'How say you, A B, are you guilty or not guilty?' Upon this, if the prisoner, confesses the charge, the confession is recorded, and nothing further is done till judgment if, on the contrary, he answers 'not guilty', that plea is entered for him, and the clerk or attorney general, replies that he is guilty; when an issue is formed.
This entry contains material from Bouvier's Legal Dictionary, a work published in the 1850's.
Courtesy of the 'Lectric Law Library
In USA criminal law, the formal appearance of an accused person to hear, and to receive a copy of, the charge against him or her, in the presence of a judge, and to then enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. - (read more on Arraignment)
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An initial step in the criminal process in which the defendant isformally charged with an offense, given a copy of the complaint, indictment,information or other accusatory instrument, and informed of his constitutionalrights, including the pleas he may enter. Where the appearance is shortly afterthe arrest, it may properly be called a presentment since often no plea istaken.