What Happens During the Trial
Events in a trial usually happen in a particular order, though the order may be changed by the judge. The usual order of events is set out below.
Step 1: Selection of the Jury.
Step 2: Opening Statements. The lawyers for each side will discuss their views of the case that you are to hear and will also present a general picture of what they intend to prove about the case. What the lawyers say in their opening statements is not evidence and, therefore, does not help prove their cases.
Step 3: Presentation of Evidence. All parties are entitled to present evidence. The testimony of witnesses who testify at trial is evidence. Evidence may also ...view middle of the document...
It is your duty as a juror to decide the weight or importance of evidence or testimony allowed by the judge. You are also the sole judge of the CREDIBILITY OF WITNESSES, that is, of whether their testimony is believable. In considering credibility, you may take into account the witnesses' opportunity and ability to observe the events about which they are testifying, their memory and manner while testifying, the reasonableness of their testimony when considered in the light of all the other evidence in the case, their possible bias or prejudice, and any other factors that bear on the believability of the testimony or on the importance to be given that testimony.
Step 4: The Instructions. Following presentation of all the evidence, the judge instructs the jury on the laws that are to guide the jury in their deliberations on a verdict. A copy of the instructions will be sent to the jury room for the use of jurors during their deliberations. All documents or physical objects that have been received into evidence will also be sent to the jury room.
Step 5: Closing Arguments. The lawyers in the closing arguments summarize the case from their point of view. They may discuss the evidence that has been presented or comment on the credibility of witnesses. The lawyers may also discuss any of the judge's instructions that they feel are of special importance to their case....