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The importance of the trial process: Fair and impartial?

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  1. Introduction
  2. The case in criminal offenses
  3. Importance of understanding the cause
  4. Purpose of opening statements
  5. Presentation of the case
  6. The trial process
  7. Conclusion
  8. References

The American legal system exists for the purpose of enforcing the laws created by the legislature. The trial process does not exist only because common law and American law deems it necessary. The processes that are involved are necessary for the enforcing the law. Each of the parts are defined and performed ritually for every case. Aside from just being an elaborate ritual, the process is also an exercise in protecting the substantive portion of law. Each part works to ensure that law is enforced by trial, that guilt is determined and that, if found guilty, appropriate punishment is served. To observe the trial process, it is necessary to delve into the pretrial, trial and post-trial procedures. For all intents and purposes, this look into the trial process will focus on criminal trial cases.

In criminal cases, the pretrial can be where it is determined whether or not the case will even go to trial. The first thing that happens is the formal pressing of charges. It is up to the prosecutor's discretion to press the charges that are originally filed by the complainant or the police. In a preliminary hearing, a judge decides whether or not the prosecutor's case is strong enough to go to trial. In some hearings, the judge is required to approve the case to go to a grand jury who then agrees to the indictment of the accused (Scheb & Scheb, 2002, p. 330).

[...] While the jury is sitting in the jury box, they must discern what they believe of the witnesses' testimony, if anything and whether or not they will be able to rely on this testimony to support charges against the accused. After the prosecutor directly examines the witness, the defense has the right of cross-examination. It is a right that both parties are given to exercise after the other's direct. In the process of cross examination, the defense is able to ask leading questions that would not be allowed on direct. [...]


[...] The purpose of opening statements is to introduce the jury to the case and outline how the trial will go (Scheb & Scheb p. 296). The parties lay out themes that will be referred to again and again during the trial (Lisnek 188). This part of the trial is imperative because it is the first impression of the case that the jurors get. It is at this point where many jurors begin to pick sides and listen for evidence that supports their side (Lisnek 175). [...]

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