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Chapter Fourteen: Trials and Juries. A trial is the adversarial process of deciding a civil or criminal case in which actors of the courtroom workgroup.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter Fourteen: Trials and Juries. A trial is the adversarial process of deciding a civil or criminal case in which actors of the courtroom workgroup."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter Fourteen: Trials and Juries

2 A trial is the adversarial process of deciding a civil or criminal case in which actors of the courtroom workgroup engage in legal proceedings through presentation of evidence and arguments about the evidence. The accused, as a member of the courtroom workgroup, shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of one’s peers.

3 Juries are considered “fundamental to the American scheme of justice.” Duncan v. Louisiana (1968)

4 Questions: How common are trials? What is the difference between a bench trial and a petit jury trial? What is the purpose of the jury?

5 The Right to Trial by Jury Jury Trials in Federal Court Constitutional Provisions Article III, Section 2: Right to a jury trial for “all” crimes. Sixth Amendment: Right to a jury trial for “criminal” prosecutions. Seventh Amendment: Right to a jury trial for “civil” suits. Jury Trials in State Courts Constitutional Provisions The due process clause of the 14 th Amendment incorporates and extends the 6 th Amendments’ right to a jury trial to the states. Duncan v. Louisiana (1968)

6 Scope of the Right to a Jury Trial Who does not have the right to a jury trial? Juvenile offenders. Adult offenders charged with petty offenses – a petty offense equals an offense with an authorized imprisonment of less than six months. Adult offenders who have made a plea of guilty.

7 Questions: What are the parameters of jury size in federal and state courts? How does the issue of ‘unanimity’ conform to federal and state courts in jury trials?


9 Steps in Selecting a Fair and Unbiased Jury Master Jury List I Venire I Voir Dire

10 Master Jury List Federal Jury Selection Act of 1968 “no citizen shall be excluded from service as a grand or petit juror in the district courts of the United States on account of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or economic status.”

11 Master Jury List Master jury lists are compiled from several sources: voter registration lists, telephone directories, utility customer lists, and driver’s license lists. Question: What is a primary reason for jury panels to be challenged?

12 Venire (Jury Pool) A jury pool is randomly selected from the master jury list. The jury is selected from the jury pool. Jurors must be U.S. citizens, residents of the locality, of a minimum age, and able to understand English. Jurors cannot be felons or insane. Other citizens can be excused if there is an undue hardship or if an individual qualifies with a “statutory” exemption status. A court summons orders a person to report for jury duty.

13 Serving on a jury is a right and a privilege.

14 Voir Dire The selection of jurors and alternates. The presumption of innocence or, the presumption of guilt. Questions: What does it mean when a prosecutor or defense attorney challenges a juror “for cause?” What is a peremptory challenge?

15 Restrictions on Peremptory Challenges Batson v. Kentucky (1986) (Prosecutor – Race) Georgia v. McCollum (1992) (Defense Attorney – Race) J.E.B. Petitioner v. Alabama (1994) (All lawyers – Gender)

16 The Trial Process Opening Statements Both the prosecutor and the defense attorney are allowed to make brief opening statements. The opening statement is a means in which the attorneys can advise the jury on what they intend to prove during the course of the trial.

17 Burden of Proof In a criminal trial, the state has the burden of proving the defendant guilty of the alleged crime. Question: What is proof beyond a reasonable doubt?

18 Prosecutor and Defense Attorney Steps in the Process: Peremptory challenges. Opening statements. Case-in-main: Prosecutor - defense attorney. Rebuttal of evidence. Closing Arguments: Prosecution – defense attorney – prosecution. Post-verdict motions: Defense attorney, i.e., new trial. Charging Conference: Judge, prosecutor, and defense attorney.

19 Evidence Questions: What is “real” evidence? What is “direct” evidence? What is “circumstantial” evidence? What is “hearsay?”

20 Questions: The object of the evidentiary system is for evidence to be both trustworthy and relevant. What does that mean? What determines a mistrial?

21 Defense Strategies of the Defendant as a Witness Self-incrimination – 5 th Amendment. Alibi defense. Affirmative defenses or “legal defenses:” self-defense; duress; and entrapment. Insanity defense.

22 Scientific Evidence Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Co. (1993) Question: What are some objections to “expert” witnesses and scientific evidence?

23 Jury Instructions and Jury Deliberations Jury instructions are administered by the judge and include a formal detailed instruction of the law, the elements of the crime, and possible verdicts. After jury instructions, the jury retires to the jury room to deliberate and reach a verdict.

24 Questions: What is meant by “sequestering” the jury? What is a “hung” jury? What is meant by jury “nullification?”

25 Discussion Questions: In a criminal jury trial, juries convict – after conviction, what role does the judge play? Does pretrial publicity affect jurors? How does the court control the principles of a fair trial and freedom of the press?

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