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Phases of a trial - Essay Example

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It is a screening process and is referred to as voir dire. During this phase, the judge explains the principles or law to the prospective jurors; reads them the accusatory instrument and questions them in general and regarding the…
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Phases of a trial

Download file to see previous pages... Based on the potential jurors’ responses to questioning, the judge can excuse them at this stage. In addition, using challenges ‘for cause’ and ‘peremptory challenges,’ both the prosecution and the defense may leave out some jurors at this stage. A judge can use a peremptory challenge to leave out a juror for any non-discriminatory cause. On the other hand, the judge can use a challenge for cause to leave out a juror who has proved that he/she cannot be truthfully objective in the decision of a case (“Trial” 1). Menard explains that the questioning process goes on until all parties’ attorneys become satisfied with the jury’s composition or exhausts all challenges that law permits. To make sure that there are enough jurors for deliberation, alternate jurors are essential. The judge decides when to excuse alternate jurors (9).
After jury selection, the first dialogue at trial is in the form of two opening statements, one from the defense and the other from the prosecutor on government’s behalf. At this stage, no physical evidence is used and no witnesses testify. The prosecutor gives his/her opening statement first and in most cases, it is more detailed than that of the defense since the government has the ‘burden of proof’ as to the guilt of the defendant. In some cases, prior to making its opening statement, the defense may wait until the main case of the government comes to conclusion. During the opening statements, the prosecutor submits the case’s facts, from the perspective of the government, and takes the judges through the proof that the government will make. Additionally, the defense presents its own interpretation of the facts to the jury, and establishes the basis for the presentation of any legal defenses to the charged crime(s) and the rebuttal of key government evidence (“Trial” ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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