Questions tagged [trial]

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

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43
votes
2answers
10k views

Are lawyers allowed to lie about the law during closing arguments?

In his closing arguments during the Kyle Rittenhouse case, the prosecution said (full quote) that “You lose the right to self-defence when you’re the one who brought the gun, when you’re the one ...
30
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4answers
5k views

Can a prosecutor hold back charges so they can try again?

Assume I was alleged to have been involved in a bank robbery gone wrong - guns were fired, people were killed and injured, some robbers were arrested at the scene, some escaped etc. Obviously, there ...
25
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3answers
10k views

USA: Can a witness take the 5th to avoid perjury?

Lawyer Alice is questioning witness Bob. Bob is not on trial, and no one has accused him of a crime. Alice demands Bob answer a particular question with either a "Yes" or a "no." Bob believes that ...
22
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3answers
9k views

How can Edward Snowden be denied a jury trial?

Is the US right to a trial by jury a conditional right which can be revoked preemptively? It was my understanding the US Constitution allowed anyone accused of a crime to be judged by a peer jury. ...
21
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5answers
4k 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 ...
18
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3answers
3k views

Does pre-trial detention exist only because of a resources constraint?

A lot of people are talking about alternatives to cash bail recently, which made me wonder, why does pre-trial detention exist in the first place? My layman's understanding of pre-trial detention is ...
13
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3answers
10k 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 ...
13
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1answer
2k views

How does the law guarantee true disregard by jurors?

How can the court and public guarantee disregard by jurors when they're instructed to do so? I doubt that a verbal instruction suffices, when judges themselves can be biased. What forestalls or ...
12
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2answers
4k views

Has a verdict of 'not proven' ever had a different effect to one of 'not guilty'?

In Scotland there are three verdicts available in criminal trials: guilty, not guilty, and not proven. In modern use there is no practical difference between not guilty and not proven: the defendant ...
11
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1answer
2k views

What is the basis that allows a judge to reject a defense in a criminal trial in the USA

I have another question inspired from watching Law and Order. Often, a defense attorney will give notice of a defense, and both the defense lawyer and prosecutor will be in the Judges chambers making ...
11
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3answers
5k views

Does killing witnesses before trial suppress them?

If a witness is killed, or dies, before formally testifying at a criminal trial in what manner, if any, can his relevant statements be admitted or used against a defendant? For example, if sworn ...
10
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3answers
5k views

How do civil courts handle denial of evidence as forged, tampered, or claims that 'I did not sign it' or 'That's not me'?

In a Civil Trial, how do courts handle scenarios when evidences presented are denied (by plaintiff/defendent) as forged, tampered, or claims that 'I did not sign it' or 'That is not me'?
8
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2answers
446 views

Judge to jurors: "I cannot give you a trial transcript; no such transcript exists" So, what is the court recorder doing?

After the closing statements in the Chauvin murder trial, the judge says the following to the jury before they retire to consider their verdict: "You will take with you into the jury room, ...
7
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1answer
509 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
821 views

How can Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity and Guilty but Insane exist in the same legal system?

I was reading about the two types on insanity pleas, known as NGBI and GBMI. For example, a good excerpt is here on Google Books. However, something very obvious is bothering me: How can you have a ...
7
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1answer
636 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 ...
6
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3answers
639 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 ...
6
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2answers
546 views

Can a lawyer compel a witness to read something aloud in court?

Often on shows like Law and Order, a lawyer might ask someone on the stand to read something aloud. An example might be an academic putting forward one opinion, being asked to read an excerpt from a ...
6
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2answers
497 views

Can a judge increase the speed on a traffic ticket?

I had a trial de novo today for a 22349(a), cited for 80 mph. At court when discussing the case, the officer gave his introductory statement and alleged that his radar clocked me at 90 mph but that he ...
6
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1answer
1k views

Can someone compelled to testify intentionally ruin the credibility of their testimony so long as they don't perjure themselves?

Lets say that Vic is on trial for murder, and Bob was present when Vic made some incriminating statement or action which implicates Vic and Bob's testimony is crucial to convincing a Jury of Vic's ...
6
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1answer
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 ...
5
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2answers
2k views

Can the accused change their mind about testifying mid-trial? USA criminal law

As I understand it, under US criminal law, a defendant may decline to testify in their own trial. Suppose a defendant elects to testify in their own trial but decides that it is no longer in their ...
5
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3answers
238 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 ...
5
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1answer
172 views

Is trial courtroom layout prescribed by rule or law?

In the United States, in general criminal trial courtrooms, I have always seen the defense positioned furthest from the jury and the witness stand. However, I gather that not only is there no law or ...
5
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2answers
782 views

If the superior sovereign deports an individual, is that a defense for failure to show up to court?

I am specifically thinking in the context of the United States, but other jurisdictions where there is a notion of federalism and competing priorities for different sovereigns are also interesting. ...
5
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2answers
642 views

Can a person appear in court pro se with counsel?

I already know about the possible folly for doing this, so my question is not how wise would this be, but rather: In some criminal trials, defendants have multiple attorneys working the case. In OJ ...
5
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1answer
28k views

What does it mean to have a case vacated?

What does it mean, and what are the implications of having a trial vacated? Importantly, I would like to know whether this means that the current case is ditched and the prosecution has to lay down ...
5
votes
1answer
434 views

Why does the prosecutor get both the first and the last word at trial?

In the U.S., rules of court have the prosecutor in a criminal trial giving the first opening statement, followed by the defense's opening statement; and then the final closing statement, after the ...
5
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1answer
404 views

Is it a criminal offense for a defendent to introduce inadmissable evidence in a criminal case?

Consider a criminal trial by jury. If the defendant attempts to introduce inadmissible evidence, is there any penalty preventing them from doing so? For example, under Rape Shield laws, an accuser's ...
4
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3answers
428 views

How do I look up the trial experience of a lawyer?

I want to review the trial experience of a particular plaintiff lawyer in Ontario. Where can I get this information? . . . no answer Then how does one look up a lawyer's trial record in other ...
4
votes
1answer
439 views

When can a defendant in a criminal trial introduce evidence?

I was watching a criminal speeding trial in Texas a few weeks ago. The defendant was acting pro se. A police dash-cam video apparently existed of the incident and the defendant was in possession of it....
4
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1answer
180 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 ...
4
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1answer
245 views

Hypothetical Trial and Conviction

This question deals with how a hypothetical crime would be tried. Hypothetical situation: The police find two people who have been locked in a room for the past 6 hours. In the room with them is a ...
4
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1answer
888 views

How does a prosecutor determine intent?

When prosecutors look at a statute, how do they determine the requirements to prove intent? For example, look at this statute: “Whoever knowingly and with intent to defraud, accesses a protected ...
4
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1answer
1k views

What does "No Order on Count" mean as an disposition of a charge?

I'm looking at some case histories from the Cook County, IL criminal courts, and some charges have a disposition of "No Order on Count." What might that mean?
3
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2answers
2k views

Can you be convicted based on the testimony of the victim alone?

I am reading a book called "Gender Stereotyping - Transnational Legal Perspectives", which says that: The second case, R. v. Ewanchuk36 (“the Ewanchuk case”), concerned the role of sexual ...
3
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1answer
640 views

Why there was no trial for Michael Cohen

I am reading in the news that Michale Cohen will be sentenced today, however, I haven't seen any information about trial. Is that because conviction is related to perjury plea, hence there is no need ...
3
votes
2answers
275 views

Lawyer knows trial is hopeless but tells client they can win

(Hypothetical) Rob is charged with a crime. His lawyer, upon receiving discovery, realises that they are very unlikely to win the trial if they plead not guilty, that the best course of action for Rob ...
3
votes
1answer
632 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
278 views

Who is to examine the witness who is the self-represented plaintiff or prosecutor?

Bob is a self-represented plaintiff in a civil case (or, say, private prosecutor in a criminal case). He is also a witness. If the trial is judge-alone aka bench (not jury), he is able to conduct it ...
3
votes
2answers
233 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
500 views

Under what circumstance is trial by jury suspended in the UK?

The most obvious example I can think of is a Diplock court, where juries are suspended and the case presided over by a single judge. This arrangement was created in response to terrorism during The ...
3
votes
1answer
124 views

What if someone's testimonial account changes and contradicts itself?

I am curious to know what happens if someone gives testimony in Court 2 times, and there are contradictions or discrepancies between the two statements. As an example, how might the following two ...
3
votes
1answer
81 views

How would the amount of "latitude" that is allowed a defense attorney be determined under the following?

This situation is seen most often on TV legal shows like Perry Mason and Matlock, but is seen from time to time in real life. The prosecution is trying to show that Y killed X. The usual means are to ...
3
votes
1answer
236 views

Is there a limit to the number of trials on a criminal charge permitted due to hung juries?

In a jury trial for a criminal charge, SCOTUS recently ruled that a guilty verdict must be unanimous. In (almost) every state a verdict to acquit a criminal defendant must also be unanimous. If a jury ...
3
votes
1answer
511 views

Can multiple lawyers speak for the same party at trial?

I know that sometimes a party in a civil or criminal trial will show up with multiple lawyers. Can any of their lawyers speak at the trial? For example, if an objection is made to questioning of a ...
3
votes
1answer
62 views

Trying a foreigner in the United States - praticalities

I am reading this press release of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California. The attorney states that: Mason Sheppard, aka “Chaewon,” 19, of Bognor Regis, in the United ...
3
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1answer
353 views

Mistake of Law: Requisite of Intent - Distinguishing Nuance

Background: I am not a law student, I am a graduate student in mathematics who intermittently enjoys reading about law because I find it axiomatic, deductive and occasionally creative - similar to ...
3
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2answers
3k views

What are the effects if a law changes while on trial?

Say you are on trial for crime A. Legislation on crime A is edited/updated/changed in some way during your trial... Does this start the trial over? Do you continue under old or new law? Is the trial ...
3
votes
1answer
227 views

Timing of precedent setting: when exactly do precedents take "effect"?

When a high court rules on a matter, when does the precedent take effect? Say a case is in progress in a lower court which asks the same question as what was just decided on the same day in the high ...