We just learned about the order a trial proceeds in last week! I'll walk you through it!
Did you hear that George robbed a bank the other day?!
What?! No way! So what happens to him now?
First, there's the arrest, booking, complaint, and first appearance. If George was arrested in his home, then the arresting officer would have to have a warrant. But any officer worth her salt would get a warrant anyways just to ensure that she has proper probable cause. Otherwise George's attorney might be able to get the charges thrown out.
Second, there's the information/preliminary hearing or the indictment by grand jury. Indictments are for felony crimes, so George will get that option. The prosecutor will have to present her evidence to a grand jury of 16-23 people, and between them and the judge a decision will be made as to whether or not the city has a justified case against George. But the prosecutor will most likely try to save the government some money by having a proffer session with him. Try to get him to take a plea bargain instead of going through to a trial.
Sure is! The arraignment is where George will officially be notified by the judge of the charges placed against him. He can plead guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere which translates to no contest. Next up is the trial phase! We can break that phase up into 6 parts: jury selection, opening statements, prosecutor's case-in-chief, defendant's case-in-chief, closing arguements, and jury instructions/deliberation/verdict.
Is this where the arraignment and pleading comes in?
Jury selection is pretty self-explanatory: both attorney's get a set number of objections to a juror so long as they have a good reason. Opening statements are given first by the prosecution and then by George's attorney. Not only is evidence presentation a no-no here, it can lead to a mistrial if the judge thinks that the jury has been prejudiced in any way! The prosecutor's case-in-chief & the defendant's are the meat of the trial: it's where the lawyer's call their expert witnesses, present their evidence, and really make their cases.
Closing arguements are concluding statements from the lawyers. They're allowed to reference any evidence or testimony that was presented earlier. And lastly, we have the jury instructions from the judge, the jury deliberation, and the verdict.
It's pretty easy to understand once you get the hang of it! So far George has only been arrested and booked. So what comes next?
Lastly, we have sentencing. This will be based off which charges the jury finds George guilty of, his criminal record, the mitigating factors, and the aggravating factors.