Steps in a Trial; use your own words. 2-5 sentences each square.

 

Handout 4 
Steps In
A Trial - Overview

1.     Opening of the Court -- The clerk of the court opens the court by announcing that the court is ready to begin. He or she also introduces the judge.

2.     Swearing in the Jury -- The clerk of the court or the judge asks the jurors to take their seats. He or she then announces the case, asks them to swear or affirm that they will act fairly in listening to the case, and reads aloud some instructions about the case.

The judge asks counsel (the attorneys) to introduce themselves.

3.     Opening Statement by the Plaintiff's Attorney (or Prosecuting Attorney) -- This lawyer begins by telling the jury the important information about the case. This includes the parties in the case and the facts that led to the lawsuit. The plaintiff's attorney presents an overview of the complaining party's version of the case (or the prosecuting attorney presents an overview of the prosecutor's or government's version) to the judge or jury.

4.     Opening Statement by the Defendant's Attorney -- This lawyer begins by stating his or her name and the defendant's name. The jury is told that he or she will prove that the plaintiff's attorney or the prosecutor does not have a valid case. The defense attorney then presents an overview of the defendant's side of the case to the jury.

5.     Plaintiff's (or Prosecution's) Direct Examination of Their Witnesses -- The plaintiff's attorney calls the witnesses for their side (or the prosecuting attorney calls the witnesses for the government) one at a time to the front of the room. The clerk of court asks each witness to swear or affirm to tell the truth. The attorney then asks questions of the witness. The questions are based on the facts the witness has to offer.

6.     Defense's Cross-examination of the Plaintiff's (or Prosecution's) Witnesses -- During cross-examination, an attorney tries to get the other side's witness to admit something that will help his or her client. The attorney may also try to show that a witness is not dependable.

7.     Defense's Direct Examination of Their Witnesses -- The defendant's attorney calls the witnesses for their side one at a time to the front of the room. The clerk of court asks each witness to swear to tell the truth. The attorney then asks questions of the witness. The questions are based on the facts the witness has to offer.

8.     Plaintiff's (or Prosecution's) Cross-examination of the Defense's Witnesses -- During cross-examination, an attorney tries to get the other side's witness to admit something that will help his or her client. The attorney may also try to show that a witness is not dependable.

9.     Judge's Instructions to the Jury -- The judge explains to the jury what the principles of law are in the case. He or she asks the jury to make a fair decision about the case.

10.  Closing Arguments -- Each attorney sums up the main points that help his or her client's case. The attorney talks about the evidence that was put in evidence and how that supports their case. The plaintiff's attorney (or prosecuting attorney) is the first to present the main points. The defendant's attorney then makes an argument. Finally, the plaintiff's attorney (or prosecuting attorney) has a chance to react the defense's comments; this is called rebuttal.

11.  Jury Deliberations and Verdict -- The jury talks about and makes a decision in the case. In a real trial, the jury leaves the courtroom and goes to a separate room to discuss the case. Once the jury makes a decision, it reports back to the courtroom and the judge announces the verdict. If the defendant waived a jury trial, the judge issues a verdict.