This is a jury trial analysis paper in which I am to identify and discuss the steps in a jury trial. I will also discuss the constitutional rights that are enacted during jury trial. I will examine and discuss the selection of a fair and unbiased jury. There are seven steps in a jury trial and I will discuss them all throughout my paper. Step one in a jury trial is Jury selection. In this step about forty individuals are selected to be possible jury members. Each individual is questioned and examined so they can weed through and pick the ones that would fit this jury trial.
This is to make sure the individuals are not prejudice, or related to or know the criminal. This process is always done first. Juries normally consist of eight people that have made it through the weeding out process. The second step is opening statements. This process is where the main points of the case are outlined to the jury by each lawyer. Each lawyer gives the jury the main points so they basically sum up the entire case, so the jury members know what is going on. The third step is the “case in chief” and cross examination.
This process is where witnesses are called to give their statements. They are questioned and cross examined by all lawyers/attorneys. Cross examination is being questioned by each lawyer/attorney they may ask the same questions but in different words. The prosecutor is there to make the jury believe the criminal is guilty whereas the defense attorney is there to make the jury question if the criminal is really guilty. There are also three types of witnesses which are; ordinary witnesses, expert witnesses, and character witnesses.
“Ordinary witnesses can testify only as to their personal observations. Expert witnesses, on the other hand, are allowed to offer their opinions in their area of expertise. Chartacter witnesses may testify only to the general good reputation of the defendant” (Zalman, 2011). The fourth step is closing statements. The defense attorney says what he wants to say because the prosecutor has the last word in the process. The defense attorney is there for the criminal/defendant and to make the juries question all the evidence against the defendant.
The prosecutor is there to give the last word in hopes that the jury can see the evidence for what it is. The fifth step is jury instructions. During this step the “judge instructs the jurors on the laws by defining and explaining the crimes charged, the rules of evidence (especially proof beyond a reasonable doubt), and the possible verdicts that are allowed” (Zalman, 2011). This is done so the jurors know what the laws are, so they don’t make any mistakes. The sixth step is jury deliberations and verdict. This step is to remind the jurors of the laws.
Each juror is to decide if the defendant is guilty or not guilty on each charge. There may be only one charge, but there can be more. If there is five charges against the defendant then the jurors have to decide if the defendant is guilty or not guilty on each charge. They all have to explain why or why not they feel the defendant is guilty on each charge. The seventh step is postverdict motions. This is where the defense can file motions in behalf of the defendant. The defense can argue that the jurors could not have possible found the defendant guilty from the evidence presented.
The constitutional rights in a jury trial are the fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth and fourteenth amendments. The fourth amendment is to protect from illegal search and seizure. The fifth is for self-incrimination, meaning you don’t have to sell yourself out. The sixth is for a quick trial and also the right to represent yourself or have an attorney. The eighth is there to make sure bail, excessive fees are not handed and also to insure no cruel punishments are handed. The fourteenth amendment is there to insure your rights are upheld even against state to state.
The selection of a fair and unbiased jury is to me, meaning they make sure the jurors are not set against a certain crime or dislike any certain races. This meaning if there was someone in the 40 people selected at first, they would make sure the individual was not prejudice or set for the death penalty for any crimes the defendant is being charged with. An example is, I myself am against any sexual predator no matter the situation. So I would not be a good individual to select to be in the jury for a man/ woman that raped someone. I am biased when it comes to that crime and feel all sexual predators should be hung.
In conclusion, there are many steps in a jury trial as well as there is when selecting jurors for a trial. There are many processes and steps for a reason and that is to protect the defendant as well as legal personal. If unfair and biased individuals were selected for jury trial it would end up being an ugly mess and it would take more time for everyone in order to make a decision. Just as if a jury did not follow the steps set, then the trial would end up in a mess as well. References Zalman, M. (2011). Criminal procedure: constitutional and society (6th ed. ) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice-Hall