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Chapter 10 The Criminal Trial

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1 Chapter 10 The Criminal Trial

2 Civil Rights During Trial
The Right to be Competent at Trial Defendants must be mentally competent to understand the nature and extent of legal proceedings Courts may force defendants to receive treatment so they can be tried Important governmental interest must be at stake Must significantly further state interests Other less intrusive treatments unlikely to achieve substantially the same results Must be medically appropriate

3 Civil Rights During Trial
The Right to Confront Witnesses Provide for a control over hearsay evidence and allows the veracity of witnesses to be challenged Helps the accused in preparation of a defense to know who will present testimony for the state Does not necessarily mean a face-to-face confrontation Court may use alternative methods to protect victims or other witnesses from trauma

4 Civil Rights During Trial (cont.)
The Right to a Jury Trial Applies to any crime with a punishment of six months or more Constitution does not require a 12 person jury, smaller juries may be permitted The Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments do not mandate a unanimous verdict in non-capital cases

5 Civil Rights During Trial (cont.)
Right to Counsel at Trial May choose to represent self (pro se) Waiver must be made knowingly and intelligently Court may refuse to allow if defendant not believed competent to waive right No right to self-representation in appeals

6 Civil Rights During Trial (cont.)
The Right to a Speedy Trial No set time which defines the term Supreme Court considers a fundamental right: Improves the credibility of the trial Avoids lengthy pretrial detentions Avoids extensive pretrial publicity and other conduct that may interfere with fair trial Delay may adversely affect defendant’s ability to defend themselves

7 Civil Rights During Trial (cont.)
Public Trials Sixth Amendment guarantees a speedy and public trial Designed to ensure fairness of the proceedings Both the press and public may attend trials

8 Civil Rights During Trial (cont.)
Pretrial Publicity Judge may not prohibit press from reporting details of a crime Hearings may be closed to public if there is a substantial probability that the defendant’s right to a fair trial would be prejudiced by publicity Trials must remain open to the press even in sensitive matters Defendant can not object to use of cameras in the courtroom – generally it is the judge’s discretion to allow

9 Civil Rights During Trial (cont.)
Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt Standard of proof required to convict a defendant Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty Reduces risk of convictions based on factual errors Underlies our belief that it is better to release a guilty person than convict an innocent one

10 The Trial Process Formal process conducted in a specific and orderly fashion according to rules of criminal law Structured adversary proceeding Each side seeks to present its case favorably

11 The Trial Process (cont.)
Jury Selection Jurors randomly selected from voter registration or licensing lists (called a “venire”) Few states impose qualifications on jurors Usually prohibit convicted felons from serving Venire – initial list of persons chosen

12 The Trial Process (cont.)
Voir Dire French for “to tell the truth” Questioned by prosecutor, defense, and sometimes the judge about their background, occupations, residences, and knowledge or interest in the case

13 The Trial Process (cont.)
Challenges for Cause During voir dire prosecution or defense shows why potential juror is not unbiased No limit to the number of prospective jurors who can be removed for cause

14 The Trial Process (cont.)
Peremptory Challenges Prosecution and defense may excuse prospective jurors without providing a reason or “cause” Number of challenges are limited – varies by jurisdiction Can’t be used to eliminate jurors on the basis of race, ethnicity or gender

15 The Trial Process (cont.)
Opening Statements Prosecutor then defense makes an opening statement Statements are designed to provide an overview of each sides case to the jury Must not contain prejudicial remarks, inflammatory statements, or mention irrelevant facts

16 The Trial Process (cont.)
Witness Testimony Direct examination: the questioning of one’s own (prosecution or defense) witness during a trial Cross examination: interrogation of opposing sides’ witnesses during the trial Witnesses are restricted to factual information Only expert witnesses may offer opinions based on their training and expertise

17 The Trial Process (cont.)
Types of Evidence at a Criminal Trial Testimonial evidence Real evidence Documentary evidence Circumstantial evidence To be admissible evidence must be relevant

18 The Trial Process (cont.)
Motion for a Directed Verdict Defense normally makes at conclusion of state’s case Judge is requested to order jury to return a verdict of not guilty on the grounds the state has failed to meet its legal burden of proof

19 The Trial Process (cont.)
Presentation of Defense Attorney’s Evidence Defendant is under no obligation to present evidence – the burden of proof is on the prosecution Of primary concern is whether the defendant should testify After the defense rests its case the prosecution is given the opportunity for rebuttal which may be followed by the defense’s surrebuttal

20 The Trial Process (cont.)
Closing Arguments Used to review facts and evidence Prosecution and defense can draw reasonable inferences from evidence Cannot refer to matters not in evidence Cannot comment on defendant’s refusal to testify

21 The Trial Process (cont.)
Instructions to the Jury Judge’s responsibility Provides jury with information about the law Elements of the crime Evidence required for proof Burden of proof required Improper instructions are often the basis for an appeal

22 The Trial Process (cont.)
The Verdict While not constitutionally required, most verdicts must be unanimous If the jury has only six members, a unanimous verdict is required Hung jury: jurors cannot reach a verdict. Defendant may be retried. Guilty verdict: judge will normally set a date for sentencing and ask for a presentence investigation report Not guilty: defendant is free and may not be retried.

23 The Trial Process (cont.)
The Sentence Normally the responsibility of trial judge although in some jurisdictions jury may impose or make recommendation Judges have great deal of discretion in state courts Judge will consider information in pre-sentence investigation report

24 The Trial Process (cont.)
The Appeal Writ of habeas corpus Harmless error Indigent’s right to counsel for first appeal Court transcript serves as the basis for appellate review

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