August 13, 2013, for Katrema Beasley
The Trial Process
Once the defendant has been arrested the prosecutor will decide to file charges if there is sufficient evidence for the crime, which he or she is charged with. The first step will be the preliminary hearing. This first hearing will establish whether probable cause is sufficient for trial. The preliminary hearing is conducted before a judge, were the prosecutor presents their evidence and witnesses to the judge. The defense counsel has the right to cross-examine the witnesses and to challenge the prosecutor's evidence. Based on the evidence the judge will make a decision if probable cause exists to be bounded over for trial.
An arraignment follows the preliminary hearing. At the arraignment, the judge tells the defendant the charges filed against him/her and appoints a public defender if an attorney has not yet been retained. According to the 6th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the defendant has the right to know the nature and cause of the accusation. The judge at the arraignment must make sure that the defendant clearly understands the charges filed against him/her.
The jury selection is next in this process it could take a few days or a few weeks. There are some challenges when selecting a jury; the attorneys have to question the jurors to see if they are impartial to the case, if they are racist, both sides pick potential jurors and then a final selection is made once the final jurors are picked the trial begins.
The prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney start with the opening statements, the purpose of this is to inform the jury of all the charges and what proof each side has. They do not show the evidence yet but the evidence will soon follow. Both attorneys are bound by good- faith ethical requirements in their opening statements, only the evidence the lawyers believe to be factual will be used in the trial.
The next part of the process is...