Criminal Trial Procedures: An Overview
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.
The Bill of Rights provides certain rights to criminal defendants throughout the criminal process, from arrest to appeal.
After a criminal trial ends in a conviction, the defendant can file a motion for a new trial.
Anyone accused of a criminal offense has the right to a public trial under the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Competence to stand trial relates to the defendant's ability to understand the criminal proceedings, not the crime itself.
Acquittals by Judges in Jury Trials
If a prosecutor's evidence is insufficient to prove a defendant's guilt, the defense can ask the judge to grant a motion for acquittal and dismiss the case.
Joint Trials for for Codefendants
A joint trial of codefendants (also known as “joinder”) occurs when a judge merges the cases of two or more defendants.
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What's the Difference Between an Acquittal and a "Not Guilty" Verdict?
A verdict of not guilty constitutes an acquittal. In other words, to find a defendant not guilty is to acquit.
What's the difference between a civil judgment and a criminal conviction?
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?
Can a Judge Who Once Prosecuted the Defendant's Case Preside Over It?
The U.S. Supreme Court announced a new rule on judicial bias in 2016.
Do All Countries Have Trial by Jury?
In some ways, trial by jury may be the most fundamental feature of the American criminal justice system. But even in the U.S., the right to a jury is limited. According to the U.S.
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The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the constitutions of the individual states guarantee the right to a speedy trial.
Continuances in Criminal Cases
A continuance is a grant of additional preparation time before or during a trial.