Presentation on theme: "Trial Information. The format of a jury trial In a jury trial, a defendant appears before the court to determine his/her innocence or guilt. A jury."— Presentation transcript:
The format of a jury trial In a jury trial, a defendant appears before the court to determine his/her innocence or guilt. A jury trial consists of a jury (6—12 people), a judge, a defendant, a defense attorney, a prosecuting attorney, and witnesses for both sides. It is the role of the prosecution to prove the guilt of the defendant. It is the role of the defense to establish reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the defendant.
The Judge The judge will oversee all court proceedings. The judge does not determine guilt or innocence. The judge will give orders and directions to the jury.
The Jury The role of the jury is to listen carefully to both sides of the case, then discuss the case with each other only and come to a conclusion. A jury that does not reach a unanimous conclusion within a set amount of time (as deemed appropriate by the judge) is referred to as a hung jury. In case of a hung jury, the trial is declared a mistrial.
The Prosecutor It is the role of the prosecutor to prove the guilt of the defendant. The prosecutor represents the state in which the crime took place. The prosecutor may call witnesses, as well as question any witnesses called by the defense. The prosecutor must give both an opening and closing statement (argument). These are delivered directly to the jury.
The Defense The role of the defense is to create reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the defendant in the minds of the jurists. The defense attorney will call witnesses to disprove the case presented by the prosecution, as well as question the prosecution’s witnesses. A defense attorney does not bear the burden of proof.
Terminology Hung Jury—a jury which cannot reach a verdict after extensive time spent deliberating Mistrial—a trial that is deemed invalid due to an error or a hung jury. If a mistrial is declared, the defendant may not be retried for the same crime. (5 th Amendment)
Terminology Opening Statement—a speech given by the prosecutor and defense giving an overview of the case. The prosecution always gives the first opening statement. Closing Argument—speech given by the prosecutor and defense providing a review and analysis of the evidence presented during the trial.
Terminology Direct Examination—the questioning of witnesses by the side which called the witness Cross-Examination—the questioning of witnesses called by the opposing counsel
Rules of Evidence Leading Questions—a leading question is a question that leads the witness to the desired answer, for example, “You saw the defendant at the movie that night, didn’t you?” This question is leading the witness to say exactly what the attorney wants him/her to say. In the case of a leading question, the opposing counsel should object. For example, “Objection, the counsel is leading the witness.”
Rules of Evidence Relevance—all questions asked by counsel and answers given by witnesses must be relevant to the case. In the case of an irrelevant question, or answer, opposing counsel should object.
Rules of Evidence Hearsay—an out-of-court statement, either written or verbal Example: “Bob told me he was going to steal Joe’s car.” That is hearsay because Bob is not there to speak for himself. Hearsay is cause for objection. Exceptions to the rule: a statement made directly to the witness by someone in the courtroom, a statement made directly to the witness by someone who is now dead, or when the hearsay describes someone’s state of mind
Rules of Evidence Firsthand Knowledge—the witness may only testify to that which he/she has firsthand knowledge. In other words, the witness has to have heard or seen exactly what he/she is testifying to.
Rules of Evidence Opinions—witnesses may only give opinions if he/she is a qualified (expert) in the area of concern. For example, a doctor is qualified to give opinions on medical issues whereas a bus driver is not. Any opinions given by unqualified witnesses are cause for objection by opposing counsel.