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Riverside v. McLaughlin


The County of Riverside, California combined probable cause determinations with its arraignment procedures. These arraignments must be conducted without unnecessary delay and, in any event, within two business days of arrest.


Whether the government is providing the defendant with an initial appearance “without unnecessary delay?”


It depends. There is a presumption that initial appearances occurring within 48 hours of arrest are timely.


The Court previously deciding against mandating jurisdictions to provide probable cause hearings immediately after taking a suspect into custody and completing booking procedures. The Court stated “…the Fourth Amendment permits a reasonable postponement of a probable cause determination while the police cope with the everyday problems of processing suspects through an overly burdened criminal justice system.” While expressing a desire to avoid providing a specific timeframe, the Court concluded that “a jurisdiction that provides judicial determinations of probable cause within 48 hours of arrest will, as a general matter, comply with the promptness requirement of…” the Fourth Amendment. The Court found that initial appearances that occur within 48 hours of arrest are presumed to be timely. The “burden shifts to the government to demonstrate the existence of a bona fide emergency or other extraordinary circumstance” after 48 hours have elapsed.


500 U.S. 44, 111 S. Ct. 1661 (1991)

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