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Mock Trial Outline

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by

Michael Baranick

on 26 April 2018

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Transcript of Mock Trial Outline

Courtroom Members
Judge
Bailiff
Prosecutor #1
Prosecutor #2
Defense Attorney #1
Defense Attorney #2
Jury Member (x12)
A "leading" question is one that suggests the answer desired by the questioner, usually by stating some facts not previously discussed and then asking the witness to give a yes or no answer.
Questions and answers must relate to the subject matter of the case; this is called "relevance."
Hearsay
"Hearsay" is something the witness has heard someone say outside the courtroom. Also, any written statement made outside the courtroom is hearsay.
Opinions
Unless a witness is qualified as an expert in the appropriate field, such as medicine or ballistics, the witness may not give an opinion about matters relating to that field.
Narration occurs when the witness provides more information than the question called for.
Other Rules You Need to Know
Objections during the testimony of a witness must be made only by the direct examining and cross-examining attorneys for that witness
Mock Trial Outline
Cast of Characters
For the United States
Detective Dana Hughes
Tony Williams, Former Director, New Columbia Domestic Violence Shelter
Jordan Bright, Dominique Stephens’ sibling
For Defendant, Dominique Stephens
Dominique Stephens, Defendant
Sidney Miller, M.D., Physician, New Columbia Hospital Center
Dr. Bobby Phoenix, expert on Battered Woman Syndrome
Leading Questions
Leading questions may not be asked on direct or redirect examination. Leading questions may be used on cross-examination.
Ex: "So, Mr. Smith, you took Ms. Davis to a movie that night, didn't you?"
How to Object
Objection: "Objection, Your Honor, counsel is leading the witness."
Possible Response: "Your Honor, leading is permissible on cross-examination," or "I'll rephrase the question." For example, the question can be rephrased: "Mr. Smith, where did you go that night? With whom did you go to the movies?" (This would not suggest the answer the attorney desires.)
If the attorney refuses to rephrase the question, the judge will determine if the objection is "Sustained" or "Overruled"
Narration
Ex: Question - "What did you do when you reached the front door of the house?"
Witness - "I opened the door and walked into the kitchen. I was afraid that he was in the house -- you know, he had been acting quite strangely the day before."
Witnesses' answers must respond to the questions. A narrative answer is objectionable.
How to Object
Objection: "Objection, Your Honor, the witness is narrating."
Response: "Your Honor, the witness is telling us a complete sequence of events."
Judge will then determine of objection is sustained or overruled; Jury CAN NOT base decision on evidence that has been objected to and the objection sustained
Relevance
Questions or answers that do not relate to the case are irrelevant.
Ex: (In a traffic accident case) "Mrs. Smith, how many times have you been married?"
How to Object
Objection: "Your Honor, this question is irrelevant to this case."
Response: "Your Honor, this series of questions will show that Mrs. Smith's first husband was killed in an auto accident, and this fact has increased her mental suffering in this case."
Judge will then determine of objection is sustained or overruled
Example: "Harry told me that he was going to visit Mr. Brown."
Hearsay evidence is objectionable. However, there are two exceptions to the hearsay rule for purposes of the mock trial. If an exception applies, the court will allow hearsay evidence to be introduced.
Hearsay evidence is allowed when the witness is repeating a statement made directly to the witness by one of the witnesses in the case.
Hearsay is also allowed if one of the witnesses is repeating a statement made by an individual who is no longer alive.
How to Object
"Your Honor, the witness this is hearsay."
The judge must determine if the statement is hearsay and either sustain or overrule the objection (if it meets one of the exceptions)
Opinions are objectionable unless given by an expert qualified in the appropriate field.
Example: (Said by a witness who is not a doctor) "The doctor put my cast on wrong. That's why I have a limp now."
Objection: "Objection, Your Honor, the witness is giving an opinion."

As an exception to this rule, a lay witness may give an opinion based on common experience
Example: "It looked to me like Harry was drunk that night. I’ve seen him drunk and have seen other drunks before.”
Objection: "Objection, Your Honor, the witness is giving an opinion."
Response: "Your Honor, the witness may answer the question because ordinary people may judge whether or not a person appeared drunk based on the witness’ experience."
Defendants are NOT allowed to make comments unless on the stand
A short redirect examination, limited to no more than two questions, will be allowed following cross-examination, if an attorney desires
Questions on redirection are limited to the scope of the cross-examination
If an attorney (on direct or cross-examination) repeatedly asks a witness to discuss the exact same matter, opposing counsel may object to the question as being “asked and answered.”
Witnesses must be treated with respect by opposing counsel. If an attorney continuously, and for no valid purpose, takes a disrespectful tone with the witness, the opposing counsel may object that the questioning attorney is “badgering the witness.”
Trial Process
Opening Statements
An opening statement is intended to be an overview of what either side believes the evidence will be or show
Prosecutors may explain the nature of the charges against the defendant and how they believe that the evidence will support a finding of guilt.
The defense goes next and typically the defense will tell their side of the story to explain how they plan to defend the case
PROSECUTION PRESENTS ITS CASE
This is typically the longest part of the trial; the prosecution calls witnesses/experts to build their case against the defendant
After the prosecutor is finished questioning a witness, the defense attorney may cross-examine the witness, asking as many questions as they like
After the defense asks their questions, the prosecution can again ask (up to 2) questions on a redirect
After
all questions have been asked of a witness, the judge dismisses them and the prosecution calls their next witness until they have called on all of them
DEFENSE PRESENTS WITNESSES
After all witnesses for the prosecution are called, the defense is allowed to call witnesses
The Defense is NOT REQUIRED to call witness; the burden of proof is entirely on the prosecution
If they can create enough reasonable doubt during cross-examination, they won't call any (for our case, you will)
The Defense is the only one who can call the defendant to testify
Closing Arguments
Closing arguments are conducted once all the testimony and evidence has been given to the jury
A
ttorney
s
use the closing arguments to convince the jurors to vote their way
Prosecutors explain to the jury why their witnesses should be believed or why the physical evidence shows the defendant's guilt
Defense attorney explains why the evidence is lacking or witnesses were not credible and the appropriate verdict is not guilty
Jury Deliberation
After closing statements, the jury is taken to a room to discuss the trial and decide on a verdict (guilty or not guilty)
A jury's decision must be unanimous (all 12 must vote the same way)
If the jury can't reach a unanimous decision, the case is declared a mistrial due to a hung jury, and must be tried all over again with a new jury
When they reach a decision, they will write the decision down, come back to the courtroom and one person will read the verdict
Full transcript