We love to watch court cases in TV serials and movies because they are interesting and most of the time we see the “good guy” win over the “bad guy.”
However, the reality is not exactly how it is presented on the screen! And, if we were to get involved in a legal battle, it can be quite difficult to deal with!
Here are a few facts about a court trial that one can familiarize with:
What is a Court Trial?
A court trial is a structured process where the prosecutor presents the facts of the case to a jury and judge in a courtroom in an endeavor to prove the defendant in the case guilty of the charges against him/her.
The prosecutor substantiates his case with the help of evidence and witnesses to prove the defendant guilty.
The defendant is represented by an attorney who tells his side of the story and supports it with the evidence and witnesses who back the defendant.
There is a jury of 8 to 12 people comprising of local citizens. The jury decides whether the defendant is guilty or not based on the evidence presented.
The judge decides what evidence can/cannot be admitted in the courtroom. He also assesses the verdict of the jury based on legal aspects. In some cases, the judge has the power to overturn the ruling of the jury.
What Happens in a Court Trial?
Step 1: Opening Statement
A court trial begins with opening statements by both attorneys. The prosecuting attorney makes his opening statement first where he presents the sequence of events in brief and how the defendant is responsible for the crime/wrongdoing. The lawyer of the defendant then makes his opening statement where he outlines his representation of how the crime was committed and the defendant is not guilty.
The opening statements are precise and indicate what the lawyers intend to prove during the trial. No evidence or witness is presented during the opening statement.
Step 2: Presentation of the Case
The prosecutor calls his witnesses on the stand and begins the direct examination where he asks relevant questions that bring about answers that prove the guilt of the defendant. The defense attorney cross-examines the witnesses in an attempt to prove that they do not point to the guilt of his client.
The prosecutor may also present the documentary, video, or digital evidence to support his case. The defense lawyer can challenge any of this evidence.
After the prosecutor’s presentation, the defense attorney can present his witnesses and go for a direct examination to prove the innocence of his client. The defense attorney can cross-examine these witnesses to prove his point.
Both attorneys have the right to raise objections during the direct or cross-examinations.
Step 3: Closing Arguments
After both lawyers have presented the case, both attorneys give their closing arguments which are more like a summary of their entire presentation. Each lawyer presents his closing statement to the jury asking them to give the verdict of guilty/not guilty.
If you need to fight a legal battle either as a plaintiff or defendant in a case, trust the lawyers at Johnson & Autrey Law Firm! We have a team of experienced lawyers who can represent clients in different types of cases.