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Chapter 8: Pretrial Procedures & the Criminal Trial
Transcript of Chapter 8: Pretrial Procedures & the Criminal Trial
**Plea Bargaining, why pick it??
Prosecutors: it means certain conviction
Defense: client is known to be guilty, quickens the process
Defendants: level of control over his or her own fate
Victims: mixed feelings; escape an emotional trial and continue with recovery
Each state decides if a jury is required for misdemeanors. A 'bench trial' is when just a judge is present.
Prosecutor establishes Probable Cause
1. Preliminary Hearing: "mini-trial"; usually no witnesses, can challenge evidence against defendant for discovery. Can also be waived.
2. Grand Jury: closed session (3 months and under) is where the prosecutor presents evidence
informed of charges and rights
public defender appointed
bail set: 'preventive detention'
Bail Alternative: Release on Recognition (RoR)
bail bond agent
During the Trial
Indictment is when probable cause is found against the defendant, which then becomes the formal charge (99% indicted)
Exclusionary Rule does not apply, but it will later during the trial
Case Attrition: prosecutors have the discretion of whether or not to prosecute cases. 1/2 of felony cases dismissed through nolle prosequi [Why?] --> the screening process involves some factors...
Guilty or Not Guilty
State must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense can:
1. gain a more favorable plea bargain
2. challenge some of the evidence
3. submit affirmative defense
unanimous for acquittal or conviction (Louisiana and Oregon are exceptions!)
18 or older
no felony convictions
read, write in English
jury pool comes from voter registration or drivers licenses
Challenges for Cause
limited number; not required to give a reason
legal reason needed; unfit for trial
Batson v. Kentucky (1986)
Defendant must prove that prosecutor's peremptory challenges were racially motivated by:
1. prima facie case that discrimination took place
2. show that defendant is a member of a racial group AND that prosecutory used peremptory challenge to remove this group from the pool
3. relevant circumstances that show prosecutors removed solely because of race
If the court accepts charges, then burden goes to the prosecutor to show that their challenges were race neutral
TEB v. Alabama ex rel TB (1994)
extended to cover gender bias
Prosecutor presents testimonial and real evidence.
lay vs. expert witnesses
direct vs. circumstantial evidence
all evidence must be relevant; it can be excluded if it distracts the jury or only draws on an emotional basis
must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt by presenting corpus delicti
direct examination of witnesses, then a cross examination by the defense, THEN a redirect examination by the prosecutor
Defense presents the defendant's case.
option to 'rest' and not present, since the burden of proof is on the prosecutor
goal is to create doubt in the prosecutor's case (just need to convince ONE juror!)
-Prosecutor can bring new evidence forward now ("rebuttal")
->Defense can cross-examine this and present new evidence of its own ("surrebuttal")
-"motion for a directed verdict" is asked by the defense for a judge to find in defendant's favor (typically rejected)
Closing Arguments: Defense, then Prosecution
Jury Deliberation and Verdict
Jury is given a charge, or a summary by the judge of the case.
granted if defendant can show the trial court acted improperly
not available to the prosecution (double jeopardy!)
Exceptions: a different state/federal government can prosecute the same crime; civil court can take up a different crime, same case
The burden of proof is shifted; defense must prove that the conviction should be overturned.
Habeas Corpus: filed by someone who is imprisoned; commands a corrections officer to bring prisoner before the federal court so they can hear the claim that they are being held illegally