What is a district court probable cause conference?

A district court probable cause conference is a time for the defense attorney and the attorney for the government to talk about matters that relate to the case. This often includes the scheduling of the next court date. It also includes discussions about discovery, which is when the government provides documents that it believes support the charges, and any discovery items that are still needed. These discussions may initially occur off the record, with the substance of the discussions then placed on the record in a court proceeding. Other times, a court may require that a form be filled out instead of placing the discussion on the record. Still other times, the discussions are informal and not placed on the record at all. Every judge handles these matters differently.