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Questions tagged [trial]

For questions about trial in a court of law -- customs, procedures, and rules.

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9 votes
3 answers
5k views

Why *must* a defendant be present during a criminal trial?

The Sixth Amendment guarantees: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury.... I recently discovered that, in general, these ...
feetwet's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
1k views

How is a judge to evaluate a witness's credibility?

How is a judge to evaluate a witness's credibility?
Jen's user avatar
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21 votes
5 answers
5k views

How are expert witnesses motivated?

As a party to a court case, how can one motivate to testify a person who has the wanted expertise? Offer them $$$? (Let's not consider those expert witnesses who make living by testifying / actively ...
Greendrake's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
3k views

Can I surprise the prosecution with an alibi defense at trial?

Let's say I've been accused of a murder. Throughout the investigation I've plead the Fifth as to where I was when the crime happened. Eventually I'm put on trial, still pleading the fifth as to my ...
dsollen's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
315 views

Is it required for a defendant to be in court?

Say that Nathan is on trial for 100 murder charges. He already knows his life is over, so every time they bring him into court, he starts screaming expletives out of turn. They charge him 1000 times ...
chausies's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
3k views

Can a jury always convict on a lesser included charge?

There is a question on movie stack exchange regarding the Few good men movie (spoilers) regarding why some people were not found guilty of first degree murder but only of a factually fully different ...
DRF's user avatar
  • 306
42 votes
3 answers
12k views

Is "My Cousin Vinny" dismissal actually possible?

In one of my favorite films of all time, 1992's My Cousin Vinny, at the end of the trial when it's abundantly clear the prosecution will lose, at least that's the conclusion the filmmakers want the ...
Scott's user avatar
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23 votes
3 answers
5k views

What remedies can a witness use to satisfy the "all the truth" portion of their oath?

Hypothetical: A witness took an oath to tell the whole truth. The adversarial cross-examiner abruptly cuts off the witness's testimony in the middle of a statement, leaving the train of thought ...
Mindwin Remember Monica's user avatar
21 votes
7 answers
5k views

Why are jurors still asked to apply the law if their primary role is to find facts?

Why do juries get asked whether the defendant is guilty or not instead of simply whether certain alleged facts took place? Say Rob is being tried for the murder of Bob, but there's also a possibility ...
Greendrake's user avatar
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17 votes
3 answers
12k views

Are juries able to ask questions during a trial?

One thing I keep seeing on TV crime dramas like Law and Order is that the defense and prosecution ask questions of those at the bench for the sake of the jury, at times trying to trigger emotional ...
Memor-X's user avatar
  • 423
17 votes
3 answers
5k views

Is there any merit in continuing to fight a trial despite an overwhelming chance of losing and there being no plea deal?

For example, if the evidence is overwhelmingly against them and the defendant knows they are guilty and there is no chance for a lesser sentence or a plea deal (happens in certain jurisdictions), is ...
user avatar
10 votes
4 answers
7k views

If a defendant is found guilty, they can usually appeal to a higher court. Is the plaintiff appealing an acquittal also allowed?

Say Adam the accuser is taking Dave the Defendant to court. If Dave loses in his local district, I've heard that he can appeal the decision and be re-tried in a higher court (all the way to the ...
chausies's user avatar
  • 4,055
7 votes
1 answer
742 views

How do lawyers find expert witnesses?

When a lawyer needs an expert witness I assume he looks for three things: Unimpeachable credentials Motivation to support his case The ability to favorably impress a jury, via a compelling demeanor ...
feetwet's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
40k views

What does it mean for a trial, or other hearing, that has been listed to be “vacated”?

What does it mean, and what are the implications of having a trial (or other hearing) vacated? Does it more strongly suggest that it will have been dispensed with finally, or that it will be ...
Stacker-flow's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
951 views

When and why are jury trials preferred to bench trials of criminal charges?

A jury trial consists of a judge, who is the arbiter of law, and a jury, which is the "fact-finder." A bench trial consists only of a judge, who determines questions of both law and fact to ...
feetwet's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
251 views

Are motions to censure opposing counsel used?

Is it common, considered a good tactic, or even allowed, to move a court to censure – or even hold in contempt – the opposing counsel? If one has a reasonable argument for why the ...
feetwet's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
1k views

Recourse for prosecution whose witness suddenly changes their story on the stand

Say prosecution has a witness who saw the defendant do the crime and is happy to testify it on the stand. But when they take the stand, they suddenly surprise the prosecution by saying they did not ...
Greendrake's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
358 views

What does it mean that a trial in a US court is "Public"?

This question is based on this answer to Constitutionality of outlawing recording of court proceedings in the United States and relates comments. The Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution provides, ...
David Siegel's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
727 views

How to handle Traffic Court ignoring basic rights

I requested a trial by jury in WA state for a traffic ticket (I know not a standard or suggested move as I understand, but I figured if I was going to court, I might as well have the satisfaction of ...
lilHar's user avatar
  • 165
3 votes
2 answers
335 views

Can defense request findings of fact before resting?

Hypothetical scenario: A victim is identified with documented injuries consistent with having been struck with a weapon. The police find and charge a person (now "Defendant") that they claim ...
feetwet's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
323 views

In a criminal trial, is the prosecution allowed to discuss its plea bargaining with the defendant?

Suppose that someone is charged with a crime. Before they are arraigned, they negotiate with the prosecution about a potential plea bargain, but do not reach one and instead go to trial. During the ...
Very Tiny Brain's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
392 views

What percentage of jury trials are unclear verdicts at start, vs cases where defended really should have plead for lesser charges?

My, limited, understanding of the US legal system is that pretty much everyone will be offered a plea bargain before going to trial. That would imply to me that the only people that end up in trial ...
dsollen's user avatar
  • 8,470
2 votes
1 answer
454 views

Consequences of introducing inadmissible evidence to the judge and jury

Evidence may be inadmissible, but that doesn't necessarily mean it will be ineffectual in its influence of the jury, and the judge. For example, evidence proving a horrendous crime done by the accused,...
user110391's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
289 views

Can NGROI defense be argued after a guilty verdict?

tl;dr: In the U.S., can a "not guilty by reason of insanity" (a.k.a., NGRI or NGROI) defense be offered after a guilty verdict but before sentencing? In criminal prosecutions in the U.S. it is common ...
feetwet's user avatar
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