Jury Trials

Under the Sixth Amendment, a defendant in a criminal case has the right to a jury trial, which consists of twelve unanimous people. There are many stages of a jury trial. Each side has the right to conduct voir dire of the jury in order to determine whether there are any members of the potential jury that may have any bias or predisposition about the case. Once a jury has been selected, the prosecution has the right to make an opening statement, followed by the defendants opening statement. Then the government begins its presentation of evidence and at the conclusion, the defendant has a right to make a motion to dismiss the governments case on the grounds of it being insufficient to justify conviction. Usually, the court denies that motion and the defendant then has the right to present his or her evidence.

The government may not call the defendant to the witness stand. Only the defendant can make the decision if he or she wants to testify. If the defendant chooses to testify however, he or she is subject to cross-examination by the prosecutor.

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