Questions tagged [trial]

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

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25
votes
3answers
9k 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
votes
3answers
8k 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. ...
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
3k 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 ...
11
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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 ...
6
votes
3answers
346 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
votes
1answer
488 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
919 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
votes
1answer
159 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
votes
2answers
553 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
votes
2answers
344 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
432 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
345 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
248 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
346 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
votes
1answer
133 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
votes
1answer
9k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
155 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
votes
1answer
831 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
votes
1answer
888 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?
4
votes
2answers
569 views

Why do lawyers “never” call hostile witnesses for direct examination?

In a novel version of "Perry Mason," the fictitious (mostly TV) lawyer called the actual perpetrator of the crime to the stand, as a direct witness because she had declined to testify for the ...
3
votes
1answer
564 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
1answer
355 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
461 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
116 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
136 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
150 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
2answers
2k 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
192 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 ...
3
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1answer
1k views

UK - how are jurors replaced after having been dismissed?

In England, after a prospective juror has been rejected (say for cause), how is she or he replaced? I see from http://www.inbrief.co.uk/legal-system/jury-selection-process.htm# that The selected ...
3
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0answers
162 views

Can evidence produced in a civil action be excluded from a criminal trial?

Following this question, which is part of a chain of interesting posts exploring the use of civil actions to force liability insurers to pay for unintentional torts of their insureds: Suppose a ...
2
votes
2answers
564 views

Can you be convicted based on the tesimony 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 ...
2
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2answers
111 views

How does a preliminary hearing differ from a full trial?

Apparently "preliminary hearings" are to determine whether or not the defendant should be sent to Superior Court for a "full" trial. (My "source" for this is "Perry Mason.") What exactly is a "...
2
votes
1answer
79 views

How much time is allocated for analyzing case law during a trial

In a rather simple trial (driving infringement, penal court - NOT criminal), how much time is allocated to each party to analyze each others case law? Is it expected to be done during the hearing, ...
2
votes
1answer
199 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
138 views

UK law - what is the process of convicting a defendant of a lesser offence than the charge?

There is already an (unanswered) question on the site regarding this in US law, but I'm asking about UK law, so I felt it appropriate to ask again: Can a jury always convict on a lesser included ...
2
votes
1answer
776 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
230 views

What is law of the case in the us federal court system for district court judges?

Someone recently brought up the apple fbi phone unlock case and I, not being a lawyer, got curious about whether, if a final decision had been reached by that judge, what exactly that would mean. That ...
2
votes
0answers
62 views

What will a Judge do if a witness refers to an event previously stricken from the record? (USA)

Some context. Suppose the prosecutor enters into evidence body camera footage from a police officer. On the tape, the suspect makes a lewd remark, and another officer offers a witty comeback. The jury ...
2
votes
2answers
625 views

Can courts do anything to prevent criminal trials being delayed for many years?

You may remember in the news some time ago a fatal shooting allegedly motivated by the victim texting in a movie theater. Well, a date for the trial has finally been set - more than 5 years after the ...
1
vote
1answer
520 views

Speaking a different language when on trial

If a native English speaking person on trial decides to exercise his right of freedom of speech by speaking in a foreign language (i.e. Chinese), does the court have to hire a translator?
1
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1answer
155 views

Can the victim of a crime throw a court case?

Can the victim of the crime just turn down a lawyer and when asked to testify just plead the 5th so the defendant can not go to jail?
1
vote
1answer
56 views

Inter-jurisdictional arrest issues (USA, UK)

My question centers around this: It may harm your defense if you do not mention when questioned, something you later rely on in court. Which is something I've heard told to arrested suspects in ...
1
vote
3answers
173 views

How could Edgar Ray Killen be tried a second time for the same crime?

Edgar Ray Killen, who recently died, was first found innocent and then re-tried for the killing of three activists. My understanding is that one cannot be tried more than once for the same crime. So, ...
1
vote
1answer
57 views

Whether to disclose substantive evidence vs. using it for impeachment at trial?

What are the factors in weighting whether to disclose substantive evidence vs. using it for impeachment at trial? On one hand, the jury gets to see substantive evidence but the other side is alerted ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Can logical fallacies used in courtroom arguments be challenged?

Imagine a trial where a judge, attorney or witness says something that contains a logical fallacy or some similar form of deception. Can that individual be challenged? In other words, could the ...
1
vote
2answers
127 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
113 views

Is disclosing a trade secret only to a judge in court, as happened in “The Prestige”, something that could happen in reality?

The 2006 film The Prestige begins with a magician drowning while performing a magic trick, with another man accused of murdering him. During the trial, the magician's engineer is asked to reveal the ...
1
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1answer
38 views

What are the conditions surrounding character witnesses in trials?

I'm interested in how certain trials work in US Law, particularly when it comes to Character Witnesses. How do defence teams go about selecting character witnesses, in particular when it comes to ...
1
vote
1answer
78 views

Can a federal judge rule a higher sentence than the state attorney/prosecutor proposed in the US?

Suppose a US federal attorney/prosecutor brought a case before a US federal court and the defendant is accused of committing a federal crime. The law says that the defendant can be imprisoned up to 5 ...