Jul 152013
 

Zimmerman case goes to the jury  

Jurors in the George Zimmerman found the defendant not guilty of all charges because he was acting in self defense. The trial took three weeks and consisted of testimony from many witnesses such as police, neighbors, friends, family members and even Zimmerman himself. Many wonder why these criminal trials take so long and cost so much. The Jodi Arias trial cost the state almost two million dollars. The Zimmerman trial will most likely go over the one million dollar mark.

What exactly happens during a criminal trial? Let’s review the basic steps in a criminal trial to better understand the process. If it is a jury trial, the trial begins with jury selection. Opening statements, while not evidence, introduce the jury to the facts in question. The prosecution opens first, and presents its case because it has the burden to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt. After each witness is examined by the prosecution, the defense has the opportunity to cross-examine. When the prosecution closes, the defense has the opportunity to make a motion for a required finding of not guilty, indicating to the court that the prosecution failed to meet its burden. If allowed, the trial is over and the case is dismissed. If not allowed, the trial goes forward and the defense has the opportunity to call witnesses, including the defendant, who can then be cross-examined by the prosecution.  The defense is not required to call any witnesses and the defendant is not required to testify.  After the defense closes its case, each side has an opportunity to address the jury one last time in a closing argument. The closing is not evidence.  After the judge charges the jury, it retires to deliberate and, hopefully, comes to a verdict. If the verdict is not guilty, the case is dismissed and the defendant is released. If the verdict is guilty, the defendant may be scheduled for sentencing or may be sentenced immediately.  

So do you want to learn more? If so, then sign up for the AIPS Criminal law online paralegal class!  To find out more information on the Criminal law online paralegal class visit the curriculum page of the AIPS website (www.aips.com) at  http://www.aips.com/advanced-courses/course-descriptions/

 

Janet Russeth, J.D. AIPS Instructor

Janet Russeth, J.D.
AIPS Instructor

  •  July 15, 2013
  •  Posted by at 3:58 pm
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