A trial, in court procedure, may be likened to a debate.
Both parties in a trial, with the focus on the defendant’s Los Angeles criminal attorney, and the lawyer of the plaintiff present facts, statements, etc. in order to convince the judge to decide in favor of whichever side the lawyers are on. In a trial, who may be the people present, and what steps make up the procedure?
The Trial Participants
One of the very first persons who may cross your mind when you hear the word trial may be the judge.
The judge may be likened to a referee who has the job of making sure that all the trial procedures are followed. He is also the one who makes the final decision on whether or not the defendant is guilty, and decides on the proper sentence for the guilty party.
Most trials also have the presence of the jury, who are chosen by the judge and the lawyers of both parties. The jury also helps in decision making and may influence the verdict of the judge at the end of the trial.
The person charged with a criminal or civil complaint is referred to as the defendant; while the one who filed the complaint or the ‘victim’ is called a plaintiff.
Both parties each have their own Los Angeles criminal attorney to protect their rights and represent them not only during trial, but also in other procedures.
One of the most important participants in a trial may have to be the witness or a group of witnesses. The statements of the witnesses usually play a big part in the verdict, aside from the evidence collected for the specific case.
The trial also has the presence of a court reporter. The court reporter does the administrative task of recording what took place in the court word for word with the use of a recorder or a stenograph machine.
The court clerk, on the other hand, has the task of taking the witnesses’ oaths. He also ensures that court orders are maintained in the trial.
The one responsible for keeping order in the court during trial is called a deputy sheriff.
The Five Stages of the Trial
1. Jury Selection
The trial usually starts with the process of selecting the jury. The judge, as well as the lawyer of the plaintiff and the Los Angeles criminal lawyer of the defendant, ask questions for each and every juror to decide on the 12 jurors who will act as the panel in the trial itself. The jurors are first submitted to questioning before a decision is made to weed out those who may find it hard to render an impartial verdict to a specific case.
2. The Giving of Opening Statements
The defendant’s Los Angeles criminal attorney, as well as the plaintiff’s lawyer, will each give their opening statements which consist of the information and facts about their views on the case. These statements, of course, aim to ‘convince’ the jury and the judge to believe in their clients and reach a conclusion in favor of the people they are representing.
The plaintiff’s lawyer will be the first to speak during the trial, followed by the Los Angeles criminal lawyer of the defendant. Take note that these attorneys are not regarded as witnesses and the statements they give out will never be seen as evidence.
3. Putting Forward the Collected Evidence
The 3rd stage of the trial involves the presentation of the evidence collected by both parties. Aside from the hard evidence such as photographs, physical objects, fingerprint data, x-rays, etc., the statements of the witnesses are also considered as evidence.
The witnesses who root for the plaintiff will testify first, followed by the defendant’s witnesses. Other witnesses, specifically the rebuttal witnesses will be asked to testify last. All witnesses will first be sworn to tell only the truth prior to direct examination.
Witnesses are questioned by each of the parties Los Angeles criminal attorney and examined in order to garner proper evidence for the case.
4. The Giving of Closing Statements
The 4th stage of the trial, referred to as the giving of the closing statements, is the last chance of the defendant’s Los Angeles criminal attorney and the plaintiff’s attorney to address the jury and the judge. This is the stage wherein both lawyers state their final arguments and do all they can to get the results they want from the hearing.
Again, the plaintiff’s legal counsel goes first, followed by the defendant’s legal counsel.
5. Deliberation of the Jury
The 5th and final stage of the trial is known as the jury deliberations wherein the judge informs the jury on the kind of law they have to apply based on the specific case. The jury will then leave the courtroom to hold their ‘secret deliberation’. They will then tell the deputy sheriff that a decision has been made and head back to the courtroom.
The verdict is then announced to both parties, which signals the end of the trial.
Aside from upholding the rights of both parties, a trial also focuses on providing a fair judgment.