When a jury finds a defendant not guilty of a crime, it hasn’t necessarily determined that he or she is innocent. All the acquittal does, in legal terms, is establish that the prosecution didn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. In fact, an acquittal is entirely appropriate
O.J. Simpson was NOT guilty of murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman as judged by criminal court jury. Yet a civil court jury held him legally responsible for their deaths. So, how is the civil court's determination different from the criminal? And is O.J. still NOT guilty of murder?
The many rituals followed in criminal trials have developed over centuries. America's common law heritage makes it possible for all states and the federal government to follow a largely uniform set of trial procedures -- from jury selection to sentencing. Here are explanations of most of the things that will happen at a trial, in the order in which they occur, including jury selection, opening statements, cross-examination, motions to dismiss, and jury instructions.
Though it would seem to go without saying, prosecutors aren’t supposed to introduce evidence they know to be false. But government attorneys sometimes bend—and break—the rules. In that kind of situation, where the prosecution gets a conviction on testimony it knows to be false, the reviewing court