Monday, July 10, 2017

The Criminal Defense Process Part 11- The Trial

The Criminal Defense Process Part 11 – The Trial

In this video we are going to talk about trial in the criminal defense context. Now, if you are accused of a crime, everyone knows that you have a constitutional right to have an impartial third party, whether that be a judge or a jury, hear your case and hold the state to its’ burden. Basically, this is to hear the case and decide whether they have met their burden and you are guilty or not guilty. Now, what people do not know is that there are various different processes within the trial context that must take place. The first thing that is going to happen, whenever a person is set for trial on the day of trial, is the judge is going to come in and basically give a greeting to everyone and kind of tell people a little bit about how the process goes and explain to them why they are there and how long they are going to be there. This is usually pretty quick, and then the judge will jump right into voir dire. Voir dire, or voir dire, depending on how you want to say it, is the process of jury selection, or jury D selection. This is where the lawyers, both the state and the criminal defense lawyer, will get to ask the panel, or the people that have been called for jury duty that day, questions, and help determine whether they have inherent biases or if they are not going to be fair in your trial. Now this process, depending on the type of case, how much publicity the case has had, and the person in which is charged with a crime can take a few hours or it can take a few days. And what the ultimate goal of jury selection is, is to make sure that you get a fair and impartial jury to hear your case. Now, after this was concluded, the judge will have the state begin with opening statements. You have to remember throughout the entire context of the criminal defense trial, the state will always go first. They will go first in jury selection, they will go first in opening statements, they will go first when presenting evidence. Everything will happen with the state going first. It is designed that way because it is the state’s burden to prove that a person is guilty. So, after we have done jury selection, the state will go first on opening statements. At the end, your criminal defense lawyer will be able to produce their opening statement, and then the state will go right in to presenting evidence. Now, evidence in a criminal defense case can range very widely. It can be very short, which is a relatively simple matter, to just having one officer testify, all the way up to multiple witnesses testifying, experts, police officers, and a whole host of evidence presented. The defendant has a small disadvantage here because all of the state’s evidence is presented first and people tend to have formed their opinion before the defendant has even had a chance to present their evidence. But, after the state’s evidence is concluded, they will rest their case, and usually this is a time when would the defendant or the defendant’s lawyer will make a motion for an acquittal to the judge. And if there is any sort of defect in the state’s case, then the judge can grant the motion for acquittal. After the state has presented their evidence, then the defendant gets a chance. The defendant gets the chance to produce any evidence that is relevant to their case, including having the person testify if they want to, but there is no obligation for a person to testify in a criminal defense case. This would be a time for you to call an expert, if you have an expert, or present any evidence through a private investigator that you obtained. Remember, that in any criminal defense case, that the defense part is generally going to be a lot smaller than the state’s part because they are going to have the burden of proof. The defendant does not have to prove that he did not commit the crime. The state has to prove that he did commit the crime beyond any reasonable doubt. So, after the state has presented their evidence then the defendant has presented his evidence, the last part of the trial will be closing arguments. Now with closing arguments, it is your time to tell your story through your lawyer. Your lawyer is going to get a chance to get up and speak and point out the inconsistencies in the state’s case and point out your theme of your case and how the state has not met their burden of proof. After closing arguments, then the judge will instruct the jury, he will read the instruction that have been agreed upon by the judge and both lawyers, and then the jury will be released to deliberate on the case. This will conclude the trial portion of your case. If you have any other questions about criminal defense, or want something else explained to you in the criminal defense context, please view our website,, for more information.

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