Scheb and Scheb, Criminal Law and Procedure 7 th edition Chapter 18: The Criminal Trial
Common Pretrial Motions
To dismiss the charges against the accused
To inspect evidence in the hands of the prosecution
For suppression of evidence because of alleged illegalities in gathering it
For a change of venue (location) of a trial
For a continuance (postponement) of the trial
Sixth Amendment Rights
The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, applicable to state criminal trials by the Fourteenth Amendment, grants a defendant
the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury;
the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation;
the right to confront prosecution witnesses the right to subpoena defense witnesses; and
the right to have the assistance of counsel.
Jury or Bench Trial?
The defense decides whether it wants the case tried by a judge or a jury (the prosecution can't require a jury trial).
The Supreme Court has held that defendants in both state and federal prosecutions have the right to a jury trial if they are subject to more than six months incarceration.
-- Duncan v. Louisiana (1968)
The Right to Jury Trial under Tennessee Law
The right to a jury trial applies where a defendant may be sentenced to jail for any length of time.
Sessions courts do not conduct jury trials.
Defendants accused of misdemeanors who request jury trials must be arraigned in Criminal Court.
Such cases are still not likely to result in trials.
Juror Qualification & Selection in TN
Tennessee Code 22-1-101 provides the basic qualifications for prospective jurors as follows:
Every person of the age of eighteen (18) years, being a citizen of the United States, and a resident of the state of Tennessee, and of the county in which he or she may be summoned for jury service for a period of twelve (12) months next preceding the date of such summons, is legally qualified to act as a grand or petit juror, if not otherwise incompetent under the express provisions of the Code.
The prospective juror list is compiled from driver’s license listings, voter registration rolls, and tax rolls.
Attorney-client privilege - allows person to tell all to a trusted advisor
Clergy-penitent privilege - allows person to tell all to obtain spiritual guidance
Elements of the crime
Presumption of innocence
Reasonable doubt standard
English common law
Prosecution closing argument. The prosecution makes its closing argument, summarizing the evidence as the prosecution sees it, and explaining why the jury should render a guilty verdict.
Defense closing argument. The defense makes its closing argument, summarizing the evidence as the defense sees it, and explaining why the jury should render a not guilty verdict -- or at least a guilty verdict on a lesser charge.
The jury retires, elects a foreperson, deliberates, and attempts to arrive at a verdict.
In federal (and most state) criminal trials, a jury verdict must be unanimous. A few states accept less than unanimous verdicts.
The Supreme Court has approved non-unanimous verdicts by twelve-person juries, but has held that a conviction by a nonunanimous six-person jury in a state trial for a nonpetty offense violates the Sixth Amendment.
Polling the Jury
The court or any party may have the jury polled individually asking each juror, “Is this your verdict?”
If any juror expresses dissent from the verdict, the trial judge may either direct the jury to retire for further deliberation or discharge the jury.
What if the Jury is Deadlocked?
If the jury is deadlocked , the trial judge can either declare a mistrial or urge the jury to make further attempts to arrive at a verdict by giving a supplemental instruction ( Allen charge).
A mistrial does not prevent the prosecution from trying the defendant again before a different jury.
A jury nullification or jury pardon occurs when a jury disregards the evidence and the judge’s instructions and acquits a defendant or convict the defendant for a lesser offense.