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61 votes
Accepted

Is "My Cousin Vinny" dismissal actually possible?

This is entirely possible in a number of different motions that could have been made. At this point, Vinny had destroyed the Prosecutor's eyewitnesses by showing they had issues that called their ...
hszmv's user avatar
  • 23k
54 votes

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

A lawyer is obligated to accurately state the law as stated in the jury instructions in closing argument (and also not to make a clear and deliberate misstatement of the facts presented at trials, and ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 218k
51 votes
Accepted

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

Even if unlimited resources were available, in order to have a fair trial, the prosecution and defense both need time to prepare their cases, research the law, conduct investigations, gather evidence, ...
Nate Eldredge's user avatar
47 votes
Accepted

Are witnesses allowed to give private testimonies?

united-states The Sixth Amendment gives a defendant in a criminal case the right to “confront one’s accuser”, and the Supreme Court has taken a notably originalist view of this right, holding that ...
Sneftel's user avatar
  • 1,933
39 votes
Accepted

How can Edward Snowden be denied a jury trial?

The trial at issue is a civil trial over the publication of his book Permanent Record and the non-disclosure agreement that he signed connected to his employment, see the DoJ announcement, which also ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
39 votes
Accepted

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

united-states The jury selection process (voir dire) is normally done in open court. Walter's statements would be heard by anyone present. Reporters can be present, and may choose to publish accounts, ...
David Siegel's user avatar
35 votes
Accepted

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

In the US, the prohibition against double jeopardy provides a hard restriction against re-trial and appeal of an acquittal. The government cannot appeal an acquittal (U.S. v. Sanges, 144 U.S. 310, ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
34 votes
Accepted

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

Your ability to assert your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination is not limited to cases where you are on trial or have been accused of a crime. Your ability to assert that right is also ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
33 votes
Accepted

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

Just like every other contested assertion They hear the testimony (evidence-in-chief, cross-examination, redirect), look at whatever physical evidence and submissions on the law that the party wishes ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 211k
30 votes

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

Yes. Juries aren't terribly accurate. There is an irreducible chance that no matter how clear the outcome should be that the jury will get it wrong. Based upon a review of the academic literature on ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 218k
29 votes

How are expert witnesses motivated?

It’s their job Or, at least, part of their job. For some, like state-employed medical examiners it’s an explicit part of their job description that they will give expert testimony when required. For ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 211k
28 votes

Is "My Cousin Vinny" dismissal actually possible?

Such dismissals are uncommon, but they are permissible. Rules of criminal procedure vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but they will generally permit the government to dismiss charges when it ...
bdb484's user avatar
  • 60.3k
28 votes

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

"The whole truth" is part of a formulaic phrase which has been operationalized to mean merely "don't commit perjury." A witness simply answers the questions asked and is not ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 218k
24 votes
Accepted

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

I am planning on seeing if a video taped testimony to be played at trial would suffice in lieu of actual face to face confrontation with defendant. This does not satisfy the confrontation clause. At ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 218k
23 votes

Do foreign nationals have the right to a speedy trial?

The right to a speedy trial is secured by the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial ...
Jen's user avatar
  • 57.3k
22 votes
Accepted

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

As described at the State of New York Court of Appeals website, the supreme court is the system of trial courts for serious cases. The highest court in New York is the Court of Appeals. It serves the ...
Gerard Ashton's user avatar
19 votes
Accepted

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

A judge has the authority to determine what law applies to a case and to instruct the jury accordingly, and also has the authority to determine which evidence is admissible. Presentation of a defense,...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 218k
19 votes
Accepted

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

Is it possible for a witness to backtrack and claim that their previous statements were wrong because they misremembered? ... Is the witness now allowed to say something along the lines: "Huh. ...
Jen's user avatar
  • 57.3k
19 votes

Do foreign nationals have the right to a speedy trial?

Jen has a solid answer to the first part of the question. I will answer the second part. If yes, at what point in time is the trial late and no longer speedy? The U.S. Constitution does not specify ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 218k
18 votes

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

It depends on what you mean by "doesn't stick." If Mark is acquitted of murder in state court, he can't be tried again in state court for the same act of homicide. If the charges are ...
phoog's user avatar
  • 37.5k
17 votes

How are expert witnesses motivated?

The other answers have covered good reasons, but here's one more: when you serve as an expert witness, it demonstrates that at least some people hold you in high regard as an expert on your subject, ...
kaya3's user avatar
  • 620
17 votes

Are underage people allowed to defend themselves in court?

united-states The Supreme Court has affirmed the constitutional right to self-representation in Faretta v California, but in Godinez v. Moran, the court injected the logically prior question of ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
17 votes
Accepted

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

Sometimes, juries are asked to make pure findings of fact. These are called special verdicts, and they used to be more common, especially when juries decided civil cases. For example, Trustees of ...
sjy's user avatar
  • 9,178
15 votes

Are opening and closing statements part of the record?

Yes. Opening statements and closing arguments are part of the record, but they are not evidence on the merits of the case. Courts often cite them in their rulings on various issues, especially because ...
bdb484's user avatar
  • 60.3k
15 votes

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

If the attorney testifies, they can "cross-examine" themselves, and they would usually do so by simply giving a narrative presentation about whatever facts are necessary. In the united-...
bdb484's user avatar
  • 60.3k
14 votes

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

This really depends if Alice's questions are during Direct Examination or Cross Examination. If direct, Alice called Bob to the stand and Bob is testifying to his account of the events in support of ...
hszmv's user avatar
  • 23k
14 votes

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

united-states For a particular sovereign in the United States, the criminal law test for this is from Blockburger v. United States (emphasis mine) 12 Each of the offenses created requires proof of a ...
IllusiveBrian's user avatar

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