From arrest to trial


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From arrest to trial

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