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From arrest to trial
From arrest to trial
From arrest to trial
From arrest to trial
From arrest to trial
From arrest to trial
From arrest to trial
From arrest to trial
From arrest to trial
From arrest to trial
From arrest to trial
From arrest to trial
From arrest to trial
From arrest to trial
From arrest to trial
From arrest to trial
From arrest to trial
From arrest to trial
From arrest to trial
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From arrest to trial


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  • 1. From arrest through trial A VERY BASIC OVERVIEW
  • 2. Arraignment
    • Formal hearing.
    • Defendant is informed of specific charges.
    • Bail is set.
    • In some cases, plea bargain may be discussed and reached.
  • 3. Preliminary hearing
    • State puts on evidence to show why the matter should go to trial.
    • Defense attorney can cross-examine witnesses.
    • Prosecutors may want to avoid this and go to the Grand Jury instead, since preliminary hearing is said to benefit the defense.
  • 4. Grand jury
    • Local citizens hear evidence from the prosecutor and decide if there is enough evidence to go to trial.
    • Number who sit on a grand jury varies by state—from 2 to 23. In Missouri, there are 12 people on a grand jury. Nine must agree to for an indictment to be issued.
    • Grand jury does not determine guilt.
    • Defendant can testify before a grand jury, but defense usually cannot call witnesses.
  • 5. Grand Jury
    • Grand juries are secret and not open to reporters.
    • Grand juries are believed to benefit the prosecution, since it usually is the only side that presents evidence.
  • 6. Indictment
    • An indictment is a formal accusation.
    • It identifies specific charges against a defendant.
    • An indictment by a grand jury can also be called a “true bill.”
  • 7. Plea bargaining
    • Negotiation to get defendant to plead guilty to a lesser charge.
    • Can alienate victim or victim’s family.
    • Lessens the load on the overburdened court system and saves money.
  • 8. Pre-trial activity
    • Request for a bench trial, which is when there is no jury. All decisions are made by a judge.
    • Discovery—exchange of information between prosecutor and defense prior to trial.
  • 9. The Trial Jury selection
    • Jury selection or voir dire (“speak the truth”).
    • Purpose of jury selection is to seat a panel that both sides agree on.
    • Attorneys can “challenge” the jurors they do not want.
    • Each side has a specific number of “peremptory” challenges, when they need no reason to reject a juror.
    • Jurors can also be rejected for “cause.”
    • Jury consultants.
  • 10. The trial Opening arguments
    • Prosecutor goes first.
    • Opening argument lays out what they intend to prove.
    • Can’t promise something in opening argument and never bring it up again.
    • Defense usually gives an opening statement next, but is not required to.
    • Defense may wait until after the prosecution rests to make an opening argument.
  • 11. The Trial Prosecution
    • Presentation of case through evidence and witnesses.
    • Direct examination.
    • Cross examination by defense, aimed at disproving or casting doubt on their testimony.
    • Redirect by prosecution, to reestablish the credibility of the evidence or testimony.
    • Prosecution rests.
  • 12. The Trial Defense
    • Usually the defense will make motion for a “directed verdict” saying the prosecution has not made a case. (asking the judge to essentially end the trial)
    • Defense calls its own witnesses, including rebuttal witnesses who aim at disproving what the prosecution witnesses have stated.
    • The prosecutor cross examines defense witnesses.
    • The defense may redirect.
    • Defense rests.
  • 13. The Trial
    • Defendant may take the stand, but does not have to. Prosecution CANNOT comment on a defendant’s decision not to testify.
  • 14. Rebuttals
    • Rebuttals are offered on both sides.
    • Witnesses can be recalled.
    • Unless the judge approves it, no new witnesses can be called after a side has rested its case.
  • 15. Summations
    • State and defense present closing arguments to the jury.
    • Can be dramatic.
  • 16. Charge to Jury
    • Judge charges or instructs jurors before they deliberate.
    • The judge may explain the law that should be applied or tell jurors what verdicts can be reached.
  • 17. Jury deliberations
    • Jury meets in private.
    • They have been told not to discuss the case before the deliberations, so this is the first time they will be considering the evidence.
    • Juries can ask to review material or clarify legal options.
  • 18. Verdict
    • Must be unanimous.
    • Options usually guilty or not guilty.
    • If jury is deadlocked, judge will likely send jurors back to continue deliberations.
    • If deadlock is not surmountable, a mistrial will be declared by a judge.
    • Such cases may be tried again, or may be plea bargained.
  • 19. Trial
    • Following a guilty verdict, there is often a pre-sentencing investigation.
    • Lawyer has 30 days to file a “Notice of Appeal” after a guilty verdict.