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Trial Process and 5 Classics Steps of A Trial

trial process

The trial process is a series of events that happen in a courtroom. A jury hears the evidence and decides whether or not to convict the defendant. The judge oversees these proceedings, making sure everything goes smoothly and stays on topic.

The defense attorney tries to show why the defendant should be found innocent while the prosecutor argues for conviction. This blog post will give you an overview of what happens at a trial and how it proceeds from start to finish.

What Is a Trial?

A trial is a part of the legal process and is often considered as an adversarial “a contest”. Trials follow high levels of preparation and include oral presentations by both sides, commissioning essentially followed set rules or laws.

The proceedings of each case are generally recorded and kept so that they can be played back at any time for evidentiary reasons. Proceedings might end with one side winning the case; however, this doesn’t always happen as some cases can end in a settlement.

How a Trial Proceeds?

trial process

Every case of course is different, but here are some general changes you can expect for federal cases.

  • Initial Appearance – The prosecutor submits charges to a grand jury, which decides if there’s enough evidence for them to issue an indictment. This is the first step that a defendant appears with his/her attorney. If the defendant cannot afford an attorney, the judge assigns one.
  • Arraignment – The defendant appears in court to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Many limited jurisdiction courts combine the initial appearance and the arraignment. The defendant is given his/her new charges and date in time in order to make a court appearance at his/her convenience.
  • Trial – If the defendant pleads not guilty, a trial takes place. The court—or, if the defendant wants one, a jury—can listen to the evidence and determine if the defendant is guilty or not guilty based on the charges.
  • Sentencing – The court determines the appropriate punishment (sentence) if the defendant is convicted.
  • Appeals – An appeal from a decision of a limited jurisdiction court is heard in the superior court. If records have been kept, the superior court judge may examine trial documents during an appeal (a trial de novo). Small claims court rulings are not subject to appeal.

There are some other additional steps in trials in the U.S. legal system such as jury selection and witness examination.

Additional Steps in Trials in the U.S.

Jury Selection:

A jury must first be selected to hear the facts of the case and decide whether or not the defendant is guilty. Twelve jurors are chosen at random from the jury pool (also known as the “venire”)), a list of prospective jurors compiled from voter registration records of people residing in one particular federal district.

A jury should include individuals of all backgrounds, races, and cultures. Both attorneys are permitted to inquire about their potential prejudices and can excuse jurors from service at any time. A total of twelve peremptory challenges may be used on each side, allowing both sides to excuse any potential jurors without giving a reason.

Witness Examination:

The first move in the prosecution’s case is for the attorney to question the witness. This might last from a few minutes to several days. During direct examination, the prosecutor may offer evidence such as a weapon or something from the crime scene.

Following the prosecutor’s examination of a witness, the defendant’s attorney has a chance to cross-examine or ask questions to the same individual.

When the prosecution has finished presenting all of its evidence, it may conclude its case by resting. No additional witnesses can be called to testify after the prosecutor rests.

After the prosecution has rested, the defense may present witnesses and evidence to the jury. The defendant does not have to testify if the defense chooses not to do so. It is the government’s duty to prove that the defendant committed the crime as outlined in the indictment. The fact that a defendant did not take the stand may not be treated as evidence that he or she committed the crime, and a jury cannot decide based on this alone.

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