Jury Trial & Bench Trial
The court instructs the attorneys to present an opening statement. The opening statement is a summarization of the facts and evidence the jury can expect to review during the testimony. When the opening statements are over the prosecution presents their case.
The defendant is always presumed innocent throughout the jury trial. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant is guilty. They attempt to overcome this burden by presenting testimony and evidence. Again, the defendant is guaranteed the right to confront witnesses that testify against the defendant. When the prosecutor is done questioning their witness the defense attorney is allowed to cross examine. At the conclusion of the prosecutor’s case, the government will announce they rest.
Now it is time for the defense to present testimony or evidence supporting the presumption of their client’s innocence. However, there are instances when the prosecution does not present sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant’s guilt. On these occasions the defense will rest, and both parties will proceed to closing argument.
Closing argument allows both attorneys to connect the law and facts of the case supporting their positions. At the conclusion of closing arguments the jurors begin their deliberations. Finally, the jurors reach a decision and render a verdict. The defendant always desires a two word verdict; NOT GUILTY. If the jury returns a guilty verdict the defendant can expect a sentencing hearing in the near future.