Prior to a defendant’s appearance, a U.S. Probation Officer conducts a pretrial investigation, gathering and verifying important information about the defendant and the defendant’s suitability for pretrial release. The investigation begins when the officer is informed that a defendant has been arrested or has received a summons. As part of the investigation, the officer attempts to interview the defendant to learn more about the defendant’s ties to the community, living situation, and employment. Interviews of the defendant may take place in the U.S. Marshals' holding cell, the arresting law enforcement agency’s office, the local jail, or the pretrial services office. Prior to the interview the officer will advise a defendant of their rights by executing the Notice to Defendant form. The officer will not discuss the alleged offense, the defendant’s guilt or innocence, will not provide legal advice, or recommend an attorney. The officer will verify the information received from the defendant through collateral sources. If a defendant cannot be interviewed prior to an initial appearance, the officer will provide the defendant an opportunity to participate in a subsequent interview so that accurate information may be available to the Court.
Based on the investigation findings, the officer prepares a report that helps the Court make an informed decision regarding release or detention. If release is appropriate, the officer will recommend the least restrictive conditions that will reasonably assure the safety of the community and that the defendant appears at scheduled court hearings.
Updated on Feb 27, 2014
Notice to Defendant