The stages of a jury trial are of immense importance in any line of law enforcement. The moments spent in the court room decide whether or not it is justifiable to strip a suspect of the rights he has been guaranteed his entire life. Because if the prosecution can prove, without any reasonable doubt, that the suspect is indeed the individual responsible for the crime being investigated, the jury will move to convict; thus diminishing the suspect’s rights promised in the constitution. It is because of the severity of this transgression that the stages and procedures of a jury trial as meticulous and thorough as possible.
First, opening statements are made by both, the prosecution and the defense. According to our text, opening statements have limited scope: they attempt to outline the case that each side hopes to prove. These statements are not intended to prove the case, by any means (Samaha, 2012). They are intended to be a briefing on the case at hand for the courtesy of the judge, jury, and all of those in attendance.
The second segment of the trial is the largest portion. It is the phase in which all evidence is presented. The prosecution presents first because they have the burden of proof if they wish to gain a conviction. The phase encompasses all evidence; from eyewitness testimony to physical and scientific proof for both the prosecution and the defense. This portion also includes all cross examination (Samaha, 2012).
In the third phase of the process, both sides present their closing arguments. This allows a summation of the cases that have been presented by both sides. No new evidence is allowed to be presented. The prosecution closes first, giving the defense a chance to hear the argu...
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... the defense and the jury. This requires showing that counsel’s faults were as serious as to deny the defendant a fair trial, whose result is reliable (Strickland v. Washington, 1984). This differs however, from when the court itself makes an error. These circumstances were addressed in what is known as the harmless error rule.
This rule comes into use when a litigant appeals the verdict of a judge or jury, arguing that an error of law was committed at trial, resulting in an improper verdict. The appellate court must then decide whether the mistake was serious enough to reconsider the decision made in court. If an error is held to be substantial, the appellate court is able to invalidate the decision of the trial court as well as order a new trial. If the court decides that the error was ‘harmless’, the appellate court may affirm the lower court 's initial decision.
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