Alameda County Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson ordered former BART officer Johannes Mehserle to be present for the hearing -- the first in Los Angeles since a change of venue was granted last month.
A gag order barring lawyers on the case from speaking to the media remains in place.
Veteran Los Angeles County Judge Robert Perry will preside over the trial. He has been involved in numerous high profile cases, including a recent preliminary hearing for Anna Nicole Smith's boyfriend and two doctors.
It may be at least six months before Mehserle's trial begins.
He is accused of shooting passenger /*Oscar Grant*/ to death on the Fruitvale Bart Station platform. His lawyers have argued that he meant to fire his Taser.