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Mock Trial Notes

Intro to Forensics Mini Mock Trial
by

Rebecca Helms

on 25 October 2012

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Transcript of Mock Trial Notes

Judicial Debate Mock Trial Juries hybrids of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and European jury customs Modern Day Juries Provide mean by which community values and sentiments are injected into the judicial process The Arbiters regarding conflict of facts and evidence as presented in criminal and civil trials Help increase the public's acceptance of legal decisions. The 6th Ammendment: Guarantees a speedy and public trial by jury Jury Responsibilities Due Process 2 Elements:
1. Notice shall be given to a person concerning matters of the court
2. Person shall be given opportunity to be heard and defend self in an orderly proceeding This means: no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, property or any right granted by statute unless the matter involved shall first be adjudicated in a trial or hearing conducted according to the rule of law Elements of due process are contained in the
Constitution of the United States . Amendment 5 and 14, section 1 of the US Constitution One of the Basic American Constitutional Rights Courts and Trials Courts have 2 jobs 1. to decide what the facts are when there is a dispute between 2 (or more) people. 2. to decide what law apply to the facts. There are 2 types of cases: 1. Civil 2. Criminal Civil case: involves a disagreement between 2 people; people and companies; or people and government agencies. examples of a civil case:
damages from an automobile accident
divorce
breach of any kind of contract Criminal Cases: actions brought by the State or
Federal Government against an individual charged with
committing a crime. examples of a criminal case:
arson, assault, burglary, fraud, murder,
and selling/using illegal drugs. What are important terms we need to know? Acquit: To find not guilty in a criminal trial. Affidavit: a written statement of fact, signed a sworn to before a person having authority to administer oath Affirm: the declaration of the Appellate Court that the judgement of a lower court is correct and should stand. Allegation: the assertion, declaration, or statement of a party to a cause made to the court in a pleading, stating what the party expects to prove. Answer: a written statement by the defendant in a case, wherein the plaintiffs' claims are admitted or denied. Appeal: process by which a case is brought from one court to a higher court for review. Appearance: the formal proceeding by which
a defendant submits to the jurisdiction of the court. Appellate Court: a court that reviews matters
brought before it on appeal from lower courts, and having the authority to affirm or reverse lower court decisions. Arraignment: in criminal cases, a court hearing where the defendant is advised of the charges and is asked to plead guilty or not guilty. Bail: an amount of money determined by the judge and posted with the court as security to ensure the defendants appearance in court at a specific time. Bond: A written and sealed obligation, especially one requiring payment of a stipulated amount of money on or before a given day; a sum of money paid as bail or surety. Burden of Proof: obligation of a party to prove facts at issue in the trial of a case. In criminal cases, the state has the burden of proof. Cause: a suit, litigation, or action civil or criminal Challenge for Cause: excusing a juror from a trial for a stated, specific reason, such as the juror knows the parties or witnesses in a case. Each side has an unlimited number of challenges for cause. Chamber: a judge's private office. Charge: formal accusation against an individual suspected of having committed a criminal offense. It is not evidence. Civil Case: when one person, group of persons, or corporation sues another for persona injury, damages, to property, or failure to complete a contract. Civil Complaint: initial document filed by the plaintiff in a civil case stating the claims against the defendant. Criminal Case: this is an action brought in the name of the State or Federal Government contending that a crime has been committed. Cross Examination: questioning of a witness during a trial, or during the taking of a deposition, by the party opposed to the one who produced the witness. Criminal Complaint: the formal accusation charging that a person has committed an offense. It is not evidence Defendant: in a criminal case, this is the person charged with committing a crime. In a civil case, it is the person(s) or corporation from which the plaintiff wants to collect damages. Direct Examination: questioning of a witness in a trial, by the party for whom the witness is testifying Due Process: the constitutional guarantee that an accused person receives a fair and impartial trial. Evidence: any form of proof presented by a party for the purpose of supporting its arguments before the court. Exhibit: the paper, document, or physical object received by the court as evidence during a trial. Hearsay: evidence based on what a witness has heard someone else say rather than what the witness has personally experienced. Impeachment of a Witness: an attack on the credibility of a witness. Inadmissible: that which, under the established rules of evidence, cannot be admitted or received in court. Motions: oral or written requests made by a party to an action and brought before a judge prior to, during, or after a trial. Objection: statement by an attorney in opposition to testimony, or the attempt admission of evidence, and oppossing its consideration as evidence Overruled: The court's denial of any motion or objection; To overturn or void a decision in a prior case. Plaintiff: in a civil case, the person(s) or corporation asserting a claim for damages allegedly sustained a result of the conduct of the defendant. Probable Cause: reasonable cause; having more evidence for than against; a reasonable belief that a crime has or is being committed is the basis for all-lawful searches and arrests. Redirect examination: following cross-examination and is exercised by the party who first examined the witness. Stipulations: voluntary agreement by the attorneys and parties on opposite sides of a case regarding any matter in the trial proceedings, so as to eliminate the need for proof of the matter Testimony: the sworn evidence presented by witnesses. Verdict: formal decision made by a jury, read before the court, and accepted by the judge. Participates in a Trial Judge: insures a fair and orderly trial. Sets the schedule and rules. Unbiased and rules on objections and motions within the means of a trial. Attorneys: Lawyers employed by the parties to a case or appointed by the court, Advises clients on law and all aspect of the trial. Witnesses: experts or individuals who have knowledge of the matters being discussed and are called by either side to be questioned to bring out evidence. Jurors: listen to evidence and arguments presented and are the judges of the trial on the facts. Custom vs. Law Customs: rules of conduct based on habit or tradition, ie; manners, holiday festivities, and etiquette. Law: rules of conduct set forth and enforced by a governing authority. ie; traffic laws, property laws, etc... Take the Custom or Law quiz on Edmodo Now Law and Responsibility Why do we have laws? What is your responsibility of following laws, even if you don't know them? Do Laws give us ALL our responsibilities in society? Do the Law and Responsibility Quiz on Edmodo, NOW THE GOAL IS TO TELL A STORY THROUGH THIS WITNESS ABOUT IMPORTANT FACTS REGARDING THE CASE. Direct Examination ASK THE WITNESS ONLY OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS: WHO WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY, HOW?

THE WORDS MUST COME FROM THE WITNESS, OTHERWISE THE OTHER TEAM WILL OBJECT THAT THE ATTORNEY IS LEADING OR PUTTING THE WORDS IN THE WITNESS MOUTH.

THE ATTORNEY ASKS QUESTIONS AND PUTS THE FOCUS ON THE WITNESS. MAKE THE WITNESS SHINE, LOOK BELIEVABLE AND HONEST. STICK TO THE TRUTH. THE ATTORNEY SHOULD LAY PROPER FOUNDATION. THIS MEANS ASK QUESTIONS IN WHAT I CALL "BABY STEPS".

ONE IDEA LEADS LOGICALLY AND SEQUENTIALLY FROM ONE IDEA TO THE NEXT. KEEP QUESTIONS SHORT AND TO THE FACTS CONTAINED WITHIN THE WITNESS STATEMENT.

AVOID LONG-WINDED NARRATIONS.

DO NOT ASK QUESTIONS THAT CALL FOR IMPROPER OPINIONS OR STATE CONCLUSIONS.

DO NOT INVENT INFORMATION OR FACTS. YOUR STORY WILL BE BROKEN UP BY OBJECTIONS FROM THE OTHER TEAM.
YOU MAY ALSO BE PENALIZED BY THE JUDGES FOR GOING OUTSIDE THE SCOPE OF YOUR WITNESS STATEMENT. REMEMBER, THE ATTORNEY'S ROLE IS TO ASK QUESTIONS AND NOT TESTIFY! Cross Examination THE ATTORNEY SHOULD ONLY ASK LEADING QUESTIONS. QUESTIONS THAT PUT WORDS IN THE WITNESS MOUTH AND CAN ONLY BE ANSWERED "YES" OR "NO". USE THE WITNESS STATEMENT AGAINST THE WITNESS BY USING THEIR EXACT WORDS AGAINST THEM.

DO NOT ALLOW THE WITNESS TO CHANGE WORDS OR ADD INFORMATION.

OTHERWISE, IMPEACH THEM OR USE THEIR STATEMENT AGAINST THEM BY ASKING THEM TO SHOW YOU WHERE IN THE STATEMENT IT SAYS THE INCONSISTENT STATEMENT OR MADE UP INFORMATION. CONTROL THE WITNESS IN A STRONG, YET POLITE WAY. THE GOAL OF CROSS EXAMINATION IS TO DISCREDIT THE WITNESS TESTIMONY. DO THIS BY SHOWING BIAS, LYING, INABILITY TO SEE THE SITUATION, ETC. THE GOAL IS TO POKE HOLES IN THEIR STORY AND CREATE DOUBT. TO DO THIS:
- KNOW THE WITNESS STATEMENT INSIDE AND OUT.

- KEEP YOUR SENTENCES SHORT AND NOT COMPOUND.

- HIT YOUR MAIN POINTS AND SIT DOWN. THINK ABOUT WHAT THE WEAK POINTS ARE FOR THIS WITNESS AND FOCUS ON THOSE.

- DO NOT REVIEW ALL THE GOOD POINTS THE WITNESS MADE IN DIRECT EXAMINATION. - PUT YOUR QUESTIONS IN SETS/CHAPTERS THAT SHOW OFF YOUR POINTS. THE ATTORNEY DOES NOT HAVE TO ASK QUESTIONS SEQUENTIALLY.

- DO NOT ASK A QUESTIONS YOU DO NOT KNOW THE ANSWER TO AND WOULD ALLOW THE WITNESS TO WIGGLE OUT.

- REFRAIN FROM ASKING THAT ONE TOO MANY QUESTION THAT CALLS FOR A CONCLUSION. EXAMPLE: THE ATTORNEY GETS THE WITNESS TO ADMIT SHE DID NOT HAVE HER GLASSES ON, THAT IT WAS RAINING, THAT THERE WERE NO LIGHTS, THAT SHE ONLY SAW A FIGURE AND COULD NOT TELL WHETHER THE DRIVER WAS MALE OR FEMALE....THE THEN ATTORNEY SAYS THE ONE QUESTION TOO MANY...SO, YOU COULD NOT REALLY SEE WHAT WAS GOING ON!! WHAT SO....OF COURSE THE WITNESS IS GOING TO SAY, "YES" I COULD SEE...I SAW.....AND THEY GO THROUGH EVERYTHING THEY COULD SEE. SO...OR CONCLUSIONS ARE FOR CLOSING.

- NEVER EVER ASK AN OPEN ENDED QUESTION BECAUSE A GOOD WITNESS WILL JUMP AT THE OPPORTUNITY AND HIGHLIGHT ALL THEIR POSITIVE POINTS.
- IF THE ATTORNEY HAS DONE HIS OR HER JOB, THE WITNESS SHOULD SEEM LESS CREDIBLE BY THE TIME THE ATTORNEY WALKS BACK TO THE TABLE. REMEMBER,THE ATTORNEY DOING THE CROSS EXAMINATION SHOULD BE THE STAR.

-THE ATTORNEY WANTS THE JUDGE OR JURY TO BE LOOKING AT HIM OR HER AND TOTALLY LOSE FOCUS ON THE WITNESS.

-THE ATTORNEY SHOULD MAKE HIS/HER CASE WITH PASSION, YET STILL WITH MANNERS AND RESPECT. OTHERWISE, JUDGES OR JURIES CAN BE OFFENDED. Witnesses Give the facts of the story: The evidence! Don't let the cross attorney dictate your testimony Opening Statement Open the case with an overview Point out any holes in your case before your opponent can bring them up. Closing Statement Sum up your case showing why you are correct. Show why the other side is not correct.
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