In a brief appearance this morning before Magisterial District Judge Thomas M. Capello, former Lebanon County state senator Michael J. Folmer waived his preliminary hearing on the child pornography charges filed against him last month.

Read More: AG charges State Sen. Mike Folmer with possession of child pornography

Folmer resigned from the senate as a result of the charges.

Read More: State Sen. Mike Folmer resigns, vacancy to be filled with special election

Folmer was accompanied by his attorney, Brian Perry of Harrisburg. Deputy Attorney General David Drumheller represented the Commonwealth.

In the brief session in Capello’s courtroom, Folmer signed standard paperwork acknowledging his right to a preliminary hearing and his desire to skip that stage of the criminal process.

Waiving a preliminary hearing routinely happens in criminal cases, and is not an admission of guilt or any of the facts alleged by the prosecution.

The case will now move to the Court of Common Pleas of Lebanon County, where Folmer will be entitled to a jury trial in which he is presumed innocent unless and until the prosecution can prove all required elements of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

A preliminary hearing is not a trial, and guilt is not determined at that stage. It is intended to make the prosecution show that it has at least enough evidence which, if later proven at trial, could support a conviction. Defendants often skip the stage because they already have an outline of what the prosecution thinks it can prove.

No trial date has been set.

Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...


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