Criminal Trial Procedural Steps

Criminal trial entails imposing public behavior codes as exemplified by the laws, where the accused are prosecuted by the government. Government in criminal case brings charges over an individual suspected to have perpetrated the crime. The case starts by filing of the complaint by the victim, or witness among others based on the case. The case is investigated, and when enough evidence is gathered against the offender, the police may make an arrest with warranty or just an arrest if found in process of committing the crime (Americabar.org, 2017). The court may also give summon to the defendant through mail, or by sending a server in special process. Summon informs the offender of the lawsuit filed against them. The defender is then provided with a particular time period to provide the response to the filed complied by denying or admitting the complaint. This response will determine if the case will be taken to trial (Law.cornell.edu, 2016).

In case of arrest warranty, the offender is taken to the court immediately for the first appearance where the magistrate the lower court reads the charges and explains the penalty. The offender is then advised on the right to trial and to jury trial if preferred as well as right to a lawyer. In case the defender asks for a lawyer, the judge appoints one. The right to trial and a lawyer are normally employed in the criminal justice system to ensure that justice prevail in any criminal trial (Americabar.org, 2017). With the help of a lawyer, the offender enters a plea for either guilty or not guilty. In case one pleads guilty a sentencing date is set. Bail is given in case one pleads not guilty while allowed, and the next hearing is set. In case the defendant does not file for plea, the case is taken to preliminary hearing, where the prosecutor tries to convince thejudge that the defender has committed a crime worth trial. In case the judge is not convinced the case is closed (Cali.org, 2015).

The case trial begins by opening statement where the complaint and defender sides tell the judge or juror their facts regarding the case. These facts have to prove that the accused is guilty beyond a judicious doubt.  This is followed by direct witness examination where complaint lawyer or the prosecutor calls witnesses and ask them direct questions to extract circumstantial and direct evidence. Only facts are provided by witness at this stage. This is followed by the cross examination by the defendant lawyer. The lawyer is constrained within the issues raised in the direct examination (Justice.gov.uk, 2014).

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After listening to all witness and evaluating all evidence, the jury is instructed by the judge on the relevant laws to employ while making their deliberation on the case. Lawyers are then allowed to make their last argument regarding the case based on the provided evidence and testimonies. After this is done and instructions are given, jury gets to jury room where they start the process of deliberation. A presiding juror may be elected to guide the deliberation process especially the voting process and ensuring no external interference during the deliberation process. This assist in ensuring no fraud enacted to change jurors stand (Courts.state.va.us, n.d.).

In case a decision is reached, the jury informs the sheriff’s officer, who informs the judge. All the case participants are gather again in the court to announce the decision, which is read by the presiding juror or the court clerk If a verdict is not reached by the jury, the case may be tried before another jury in the future. In case the offender is imprisoned, the judge sets the sentencing date (Americabar.org, 2017). Investigation is carried out before this to ensue suitable sentencing is done. After sentencing, one may appeal the case. However, this should only be done if there was identified error during trial. In this case, the appeal court may just consider using the case written material to identify the error and order for novel trial in case an error is identified. Other rulings include reconsidering new evidence, modification of correction of ruling (Americabar.org, 2017).

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