Questions tagged [trial]

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

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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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42 votes
2 answers
11k 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 ...
Ryan_L's user avatar
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30 votes
4 answers
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 ...
Dale M's user avatar
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28 votes
3 answers
11k 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 ...
GridAlien'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
22 votes
3 answers
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. ...
steampowered's user avatar
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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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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20 votes
5 answers
5k views

Are underage people allowed to defend themselves in court?

Bob is underage, yet commits a severe criminal act that's worthy of going to trial. Normally, one is allowed to represent themselves in court, however ill-advised that may be. But is Bob, underage as ...
chausies's user avatar
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19 votes
3 answers
5k views

Is a potential juror protected for what they say during jury selection?

Walter and Bob are potential jurors for the same trial for a white supremacist. Walter happens to believe in white supremacy. Bob happens to be Walter's boss (or even just a potential employer). ...
chausies's user avatar
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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
17 votes
3 answers
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 ...
somebodyisakoala's user avatar
16 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
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14 votes
4 answers
5k views

Are witnesses allowed to give private testimonies?

Alice's grandpa Greg is on trial. Alice's testimony is crucial to get Greg convicted. But, for some reason or another, Alice doesn't want to appear in court as a witness in front of Greg to badmouth ...
chausies's user avatar
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14 votes
4 answers
4k views

If you try to charge someone for something and it doesn't stick, can a less severe charge be made as a follow-up?

Say Mark is charged with A (let's say Murder), but the charges don't stick because e.g. he didn't do it on purpose. Can Mark then charged as a follow-up for B (e.g. involuntary manslaughter)? Or does ...
chausies's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
4k views

Can I ask for a Judge Trial - UK

In the UK, at least by my understanding, most trials are heard in a magistrates' court without a jury. Only the most serious crimes are heard in the Crown Court and require a jury verdict. However, if ...
ScottishTapWater's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why are trials on "Law & Order" in the New York Supreme Court?

On the TV show "Law & Order", when they cut to the trial it's usually accompanied by a chiron (along with the trademark "dun-dun" sound) saying something like "New York ...
Barmar's user avatar
  • 1,990
13 votes
1 answer
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 ...
user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
6k 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 ...
feetwet's user avatar
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12 votes
4 answers
2k views

Why does Art. 103 of the German Basic Law forbid a second trial after an acquittal?

The German Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgerichts) recently ruled that a second trial (due to new evidence) after a previous acquittal violates the German constitution: BVerfG urteilt zur ...
sleske's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
3k views

If a witness asks for their lawyer during a trial, how is it handled?

A criminal trial is going on. Andy the Attorney asks Walter the Witness some questions. After a while, Walter realizes he's been an idiot, and says he wants his Lawyer Larry. How does the court ...
chausies's user avatar
  • 3,819
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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12 votes
2 answers
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 ...
Flup's user avatar
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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
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10 votes
3 answers
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'?
user1034912's user avatar
  • 1,501
10 votes
3 answers
3k views

Can two people be tried together?

Bob and Carl are both accused of the same murder of Alice. Are they supposed to be tried together as one party in a single trial? be separately tried in two simultaneous trials? be tried one after ...
chausies's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
3k 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 ...
Jake Rankin's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
2k 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, ...
chasly - supports Monica's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
dsollen's user avatar
  • 8,430
9 votes
2 answers
3k views

Is it possible to go to trial while pleading guilty to some or all charges?

I understand that when a defendant is charged with one or more crimes, one of the following outcomes almost always occurs in practice: either 1 . They plead not guilty to all charges and go to trial, ...
Very Tiny Brain's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is cross examination strictly confined to the subjects that the original examination pertained to, or can the opposing party make their own points?

Pretty straightforward question, really: what are the topical constraints of cross examination with reference to examination? Suppose party A calls witness W to the stand to ask them questions about ...
TylerDurden's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
2k views

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

I was reading about the two types on insanity pleas, known as 'NGRI' (Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity) and 'GBMI' (Guilty But Mentally Ill). For example, a good excerpt is here on Google Books. ...
CodyBugstein's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
3k views

How literally do courts in USA interpret face to face confrontation right of defendant under sixth amendment?

I will soon be a major witness in a criminal trial of another in the USA. I was present at the scene and was asked by state to testify at criminal trial. The defendant is facing felony charges against ...
Anthony's user avatar
  • 367
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Are opening and closing statements part of the record?

Lawyers are permitted to say things (e.g., "rhetorical flourishes" and "excusable hyperbole") during opening statements and closing arguments that would not be permitted during the ...
feetwet's user avatar
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8 votes
3 answers
4k views

Is it possible for a witness to backtrack and claim that their previous statements were wrong because they misremembered?

One of the Youtube channels I'm following is running a series of videos about an ongoing lawsuit (within reason, of course). The latest video has an interesting point that got me wondering. Suppose ...
Vilx-'s user avatar
  • 1,005
8 votes
2 answers
257 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
  • 3,819
7 votes
2 answers
2k views

What would happen if one side in a trial called the other side's sole attorney to the stand?

Would they have to cross-examine themselves, and if so, how?
Purple P's user avatar
  • 516
7 votes
2 answers
3k views

Can a defense attorney face any serious repercussions for trying to induce jury nullification?

Say the prosecution has irrefutablly concrete evidence that the defendant commited the crime of which he is accused. Knowing this, the attorney of the defendant plays on empathy and convincing the ...
Ethan's user avatar
  • 1,750
7 votes
2 answers
2k views

On Trial ; do you need to be there?

Please consider the following hypothetical situation: A person has been indicted for a criminal violation of the law. He has made bail and is not in custody. He claims he/she is innocent and he does ...
Bob's user avatar
  • 1,163
7 votes
2 answers
2k views

Can a private contract obligate someone to exercise their right to a jury trial?

Say I think my local DA is pursuing too many low-quality cases, and pressuring people into plea deals, when they don't really have the evidence to convict. Can I and several thousand of my closest, ...
interfect's user avatar
  • 3,471
7 votes
3 answers
3k 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
  • 21.8k
7 votes
3 answers
1k views

How is the quality of an expert witness judged?

When bringing in an expert to testify something, obviously that expert doesn't have to bring in their resume and go through 3 rounds of interviewing with every member of the jury, as if they were ...
chausies's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
feetwet's user avatar
  • 21.8k
7 votes
1 answer
739 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
  • 21.8k
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
6 votes
3 answers
899 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
  • 21.8k
6 votes
2 answers
239 views

Are there any limits on being "overly selective" during Jury Selection?

Say Andy the attorney is trying to defend Nathan the Nazi in a criminal court case. During Jury Selection, where potential jurors are vetted, what is stopping Andy from saying that every Nazi-hater is ...
chausies's user avatar
  • 3,819
6 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
Jake Rankin's user avatar
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
2 answers
706 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 ...
maylae's user avatar
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