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Pretrial and Courtroom Procedures

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Presentation on theme: "Pretrial and Courtroom Procedures"— Presentation transcript:

1 Pretrial and Courtroom Procedures
Principles of LPSCS

2 Copyright and Terms of Service
Copyright © Texas Education Agency, These materials are copyrighted © and trademarked ™ as the property of the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and may not be reproduced without the express written permission of TEA, except under the following conditions: 1)  Texas public school districts, charter schools, and Education Service Centers may reproduce and use copies of the Materials and Related Materials for the districts’ and schools’ educational use without obtaining permission from TEA. 2)  Residents of the state of Texas may reproduce and use copies of the Materials and Related Materials for individual personal use only, without obtaining written permission of TEA. 3)  Any portion reproduced must be reproduced in its entirety and remain unedited, unaltered and unchanged in any way. 4)  No monetary charge can be made for the reproduced materials or any document containing them; however, a reasonable charge to cover only the cost of reproduction and distribution may be charged. Private entities or persons located in Texas that are not Texas public school districts, Texas Education Service Centers, or Texas charter schools or any entity, whether public or private, educational or non-educational, located outside the state of Texas MUST obtain written approval from TEA and will be required to enter into a license agreement that may involve the payment of a licensing fee or a royalty. Contact TEA Copyrights with any questions you may have.

3 Functions of the Court First and foremost, the court is responsible for providing protection for the public Its secondary role is to maintain the confidence of the public

4 Constitutional Rights: 5th Amendment
Protects against double jeopardy and self-incrimination, protects the right to grand jury, and requires due process Right to Grand Jury A panel of 12 citizens who will hear evidence from the case and will determine if enough probable cause (a crime has occurred and the suspect is linked to it) exists to take the case to trial If enough probable cause does not exist, the case will be “no billed,” which means it will not go any further

5 Constitutional Rights: 5th Amendment (continued)
Double Jeopardy A person cannot be tried for the same crime twice, except under special circumstances Example: During the OJ Simpson murder trial, OJ was found not guilty of the two murder charges. Later he wrote a book called “If I Did It” which clearly implicates him in the crime. Even if he came out and said, “I did it,” prosecutors cannot charge him with that crime again

6 Constitutional Rights: 5th Amendment (continued)
Self-Incrimination This means that you do not have to testify at your trial, especially if your testimony would be damaging to your case The fact that you did not testify cannot be held against you when reaching a verdict You also cannot be forced to testify against a spouse Due Process – the system must be followed. You cannot be convicted if you never went to court to face charges; there is a sequence of events that must occur. This is to ensure that everyone is treated fairly

7 Constitutional Rights: 6th Amendment
Speedy and public trial Impartial jury Informed of the nature and the cause of the accusation Confrontation of witnesses Compulsory process of the witness The right to secure your own witnesses If the prosecution presents a forensic expert to testify regarding the autopsy, you are allowed to bring in your own expert for the same purpose Right to an attorney – an attorney will be appointed to represent you if you cannot afford one; you get whoever they give you

8 Constitutional Rights: 8th Amendment
Bail A financial deposit to ensure you will appear for your court date Paid to a bail bondsman, generally 20 percent to process the release Can be paid in money, titles, property or anything else agreed upon by the bondsman If the accused fails to appear for court The bondsman is out the full bail amount The bondsman will then send a bounty hunter to find and take the accused before the court so that he can get some of his money back Excessive fines Cruel and unusual punishment

9 Phases of a Trial Pretrial phase
The judge determines if the defendant will be allowed bail or pretrial release Pretrial release is the threat to society versus the rights of the accused The preliminary hearing or grand jury convenes to determine if probable cause exists in order to go to trial An Information or an Indictment is issued The defendant enters a plea

10 Phases of a Trial (continued)
Trial phase The jury is selected The evidence is presented by both the prosecution and the defense A verdict is reached

11 Phases of a Trial (continued)
Sentencing phase The judge or the jury determines what sentence is appropriate based on the sentencing guidelines The judge has some discretion in sentencing The jury is given a sentence range to decide the actual sentence of the defendant

12 Pretrial Proceedings Preliminary Hearing
Open proceedings used to establish probable cause The information presented can be challenged If probable cause exists then an Information is issued Information – the formal document charging an individual with a crime

13 Pretrial Proceedings (continued)
Grand Jury Closed proceedings used to establish probable cause Proceedings are used in Texas The evidence presented cannot be challenged If probable cause is found, then an Indictment is issued Indictment – the formal document charging an individual with a crime

14 Pleas Guilty This is an admission of some level of responsibility for the crime A guilty plea stops the process and moves it to the sentencing phase The goal of a trial is to establish guilt or innocence; if the defendant admits guilt, there is no reason to proceed with the trial phase

15 Pleas (continued) Not Guilty
This plea can be entered by a defendant that has not committed a crime, or By a defendant that is trying to fight the charges

16 Pleas (continued) Nolo contendo
There is a big misconception about pleading “No Contest” Nolo contendo is a plea of guilt The only difference between a plea of nolo contendo and a plea of guilty is that the judge is responsible for the sentencing at the sentencing phase of the trial

17 Pretrial and Courtroom Procedures
Jury Selection The trial phase begins with the jury selection; without a jury, the trial cannot begin In order to select a jury, the attorneys use a process called “voir dire” Voir dire means to “say the truth” This is the process by which the attorneys question the jurors to ensure that the accused gets the most impartial jurors

18 Pretrial and Courtroom Procedures (continued)
Opening statements Both the prosecutor and the defense make opening statements to the court The opening statements allow the evidence to be presented to the court They are also used to “educate the jury” Direct examination The prosecution calls all of its witnesses to provide evidence The testimony should utilize the witness’ senses and knowledge Cross examination The defense has an opportunity to question the prosecution’s witnesses The process then reverses

19 Pretrial and Courtroom Procedures (continued)
Rebuttal – the prosecution is allowed to present witnesses to refute the testimony presented by the defense’s witnesses during the defense’s direct examination Closing arguments Both the prosecution and the defense give their closing arguments This is an opportunity for both sides to argue the facts of the case The judge instructs the jury on the law The jury is dismissed to deliberate The verdict is announced

20 Pretrial and Courtroom Procedures (continued)
Stand when addressing the court or judge Before you begin with any statements, say, “May it please the court” Do not use foul language unless quoting someone Follow all of the instructions given by the court

21 Pretrial and Courtroom Procedures (continued)
Always stand when making an objection Objection – means the defense disagrees with the prosecution or vice versa There must be a legal reason for objecting to the evidence or statement The judge will rule on the objection and answer one of two ways Sustained The person on the stand may not answer the question The attorney must ask a different question Overruled The person on the stand may go ahead and answer the question The judge is going to allow the testimony

22 Verdicts Guilty – the jury has determined that evidence exists beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused has committed the crime Not Guilty – the jury has determined that the prosecution did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime Mistrial (hung jury) No matter how many times the judge sends the jury back to deliberate, they cannot reach a unanimous decision on the verdict The process starts over with a new trail at a later date

23 Criminal Defenses Alibi – the accused claims that he or she did not commit the crime Self Defense – the accused committed the crime, but his or her actions were justified Insanity – the accused committed the crime, but cannot be held responsible

24 Sentencing Phase If the defendant is found guilty of a misdemeanor, the judge determines the sentence given If the defendant is found guilty of a felony charge, the trial then proceeds to the sentencing phase Mitigating Circumstances – circumstances presented at the sentencing that have the potential to decrease the punishment a person receives for the crime Aggravating circumstances – circumstances presented at the sentencing that have the potential to increase the punishment a person receives for a crime

25 Sentencing Options Probation Prison Death Fines and/or restitution
Letter of apology Community service

26 Juvenile Procedures Juveniles are not eligible for bail
Juveniles are released or detained based on the seriousness of their crime and their threat to society Arraignments – pretrial proceedings for juveniles Adjudication hearing – the trial phase for juveniles Informal, but closed Similar to the trial phase in the adult system, except there are no opening and closing statements The judge decides guilt or innocence

27 Resources Dallas Bar Association, High School Mock Trial Furris, Nicholas, director. Order in the Court Video. Cambridge Educational Production, 2001.

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