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Chapter Fourteen: Trials and Juries

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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 “fundamental to the American
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 14th Amendment incorporates and extends the 6th 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 What are the parameters of jury size in federal and state courts?
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 Voir Dire

10 Federal Jury Selection Act of 1968
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 What is a primary reason for jury panels to be challenged?
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 – 5th Amendment. Alibi defense. Affirmative defenses or “legal defenses:” self-defense; duress; and entrapment. Insanity defense.

22 Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Co.
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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