Bar Media Manual

Bar Media Manual

CHAPTER 12: OUTLINE OF A TRIAL - Table of Contents

12.1 - Introduction12.2 - Pretrial Matters12.3 - Jury Selection12.4 - Opening Statement12.5 - Prosecution Case-in-Chief12.6 - Motion For Judgment of Acquittal/Directed Verdict12.7 - Defense Case-in-Chief12.8 - Rebuttal and Surrebuttal12.9 - Witness Examination12.10 - Jury Instructions12.11 - Closing Argument12.12 - Jury Deliberations12.13 - Motions For Mistrial12.14 - Miscellaneous Issues


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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