CHAPTER 12: OUTLINE OF A TRIAL - Table of Contents
12.1 - Introduction • 12.2 - Pretrial Matters • 12.3 - Jury Selection • 12.4 - Opening Statement • 12.5 - Prosecution Case-in-Chief • 12.6 - Motion For Judgment of Acquittal/Directed Verdict • 12.7 - Defense Case-in-Chief • 12.8 - Rebuttal and Surrebuttal • 12.9 - Witness Examination • 12.10 - Jury Instructions • 12.11 - Closing Argument • 12.12 - Jury Deliberations • 12.13 - Motions For Mistrial • 12.14 - Miscellaneous Issues
12.2 PRETRIAL MATTERS
Before the parties can intelligently pick a jury, they want to know as much as possible about what evidence the jury will hear. Therefore, as many pretrial matters as possible should be resolved before the process of jury selection begins. These include any motions to suppress evidence on constitutional grounds (which should have been resolved in a hearing in advance of trial), any motions involving other evidentiary issues (or at least those that are capable of resolution before trial), any remaining discovery issues, and other miscellaneous matters relating to evidence issues or trial procedures.
These pretrial motions should be resolved outside the presence of the jury. Some of these evidentiary issues cannot be resolved in a pretrial setting; the judge may need to hear other evidence, and look at the disputed evidence in context before an intelligent ruling can be made.
Sometimes, if the prospective jurors are waiting, the trial judge will want to pick a jury first, then resolve these issues. If the judge does so, the attorneys may ask for a ruling that none of the unresolved matters will be mentioned to the prospective jurors during jury selection.
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