Hot answers tagged

59 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 ...
  • 17.5k
53 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 ...
  • 145k
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, ...
38 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 ...
  • 170k
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 ...
  • 162k
30 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 ...
  • 170k
28 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 ...
  • 162k
27 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 ...
  • 46.5k
20 votes
Accepted

Are juries able to ask questions during a trial?

First, while Law and Order should not be taken as an accurate depiction of a New York trial, it especially should not be taken as an accurate depiction of an Australian trial. Australian law, while it ...
  • 21.2k
18 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,...
  • 145k
15 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, ...
  • 278
14 votes

How does the law guarantee true disregard by jurors?

You can't guarantee a juror's disregard, and some attorneys might utilize the "once it's said, it can't be unsaid" strategy because they know that the jury will still keep it in the back of their mind ...
  • 4,205
13 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 ...
  • 17.5k
13 votes

How can Edward Snowden be denied a jury trial?

A judge only trial (aka a bench trial) is possible in the United States, though it must be requested by the defense (essentially the defense waives its right to trial by jury, in which case the judge ...
  • 17.5k
13 votes

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

Normally, the prosecution case will not rely upon the testimony of the defendant. Instead, the prosecution will call all of its witnesses until its evidentiary case is complete. Then, the defense case ...
  • 145k
13 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 ...
11 votes
Accepted

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

There actually is a practical effect to a "not proven" v. "not guilty" verdict in Scotland, but it is mostly sociological or social in nature rather than legal. If your question is, are there future ...
  • 10.9k
11 votes

Why there was no trial for Michael Cohen

Cohen plead guilty to a number of charges. If you plead guilty with any charges, then there is no need to go forward with a trial.
  • 801
11 votes
Accepted

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

No Federal law and most states have an notice of alibi rule that requires a defendant to identify witnesses who will testify as to their alibi and where the defendant claims to have been. The validity ...
  • 162k
11 votes

How are expert witnesses motivated?

Or because they have to. The other answers are all correct. In practice, @DaleM is "most correct" because the lion's share of expert witnesses either voluntarily agree to do so because they ...
  • 145k
11 votes

Verbose sustain/overrule objection in Depp's case

It doesn't really matter exactly what the judge says as long as it's clear whether the judge is sustaining or overruling the objection. With that said, in movies you'll rarely see the person asking ...
10 votes
Accepted

Speaking a different language when on trial

Not necessarily. The right to a translator is derived from the 5th, 6th and 14th Amendments, and the prohibition against discrimination based on national origin (the Civil Rights Act). However, SCOTUS ...
  • 170k
10 votes

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

Jurisdiction: england-and-wales It is not permissible to lie in court in England and Wales. See rule 1.4 of the SRA's Code of Conduct: You do not mislead or attempt to mislead your clients, the court ...
  • 4,993
9 votes
Accepted

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

Without being omniscient, it is impossible to pin down an exact percentage, and there are a lot of context specific reasons why some kinds of "easy" cases are more likely to go to trial than ...
  • 145k
8 votes
Accepted

Is trial courtroom layout prescribed by rule or law?

There is no such law mandating this layout, nor is there any law permitting the defendant to demand a change to it. The arrangement seems most likely to have been driven by security concerns when ...
  • 46.5k
8 votes

Meaning of "Strike from the Record" in legal code? Is there *any* memory/record once "stricken"? By who/what handled/processed? Proof of striking?

My understanding is that "the record" only refers to the official record of the proceeding, e.g. the transcripts that would be kept on file and used as the basis for formal decisions. Such ...
8 votes

How are expert witnesses motivated?

It's not their job So you need to give them something of value to them. Money might be a motivator. Or, the subject matter might be the motivator. I'm omitting the third category of people with a work-...
  • 170k
8 votes

Can the defense claim that the defendant isn't the defendant? And if so, how is the case handled?

This is, in effect a defense of mistaken identity, and an assertion that the person on trial is not in fact the person who committed the crime. It is not legally significantly different from a case ...
7 votes
Accepted

Does killing witnesses before trial suppress them?

There are instances when the testimony may still be admitted. For example, a deposition may be admitted at trial either for impeaching or when a witness cannot attend, which involves the circumstance ...
  • 1,994
7 votes

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

Yes. The jurisdiction I am familiar with is England and Wales. Conviction requires evidence (witness testimony is evidence) which proves the case "beyond reasonable doubt". It is open to the jury ...

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible