Courtroom Procedures And The Role Of The Prosecution

1206 words - 5 pages

During a trial, there are many rules, procedures, and codes of conduct that must be observed. These are in place to allow a trial to proceed more efficiently and fairly for both the defense and prosecution. According to one author, “Police, prosecutors, and criminal court Judges see too much crime, so they tend to see crime everywhere. We need rules to control their conduct, Judges to carefully apply those rules, and other Judges to review those decisions (law-article.net).” Courtroom procedures are important because, without them, defendants and prosecution alike could be treated unfairly. These procedures give a standard format for trials that must be followed to ensure that all parties have an equal opportunity to present their case.
There are two sides when it comes to a trial: the defense, and the prosecution. The defense, as the name suggests, is in charge of defending the accused party. They don’t exactly have to prove that their clients are innocent; the defense only has to make enough holes in the case of the prosecution to cause the jury to have reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. The prosecution, however, must provide evidence to argue beyond any doubt that the accused party is guilty of their crime. A prosecuting attorney will often be a government worker whose job is to carry out legal action against someone accused of a crime (WiseGEEK). They often work with investigators and the police in order to collect evidence they can use to solidify their case in advance for the day of the trial. A prosecuting attorney determines how severe of a charge will be brought against the accused, and sometimes will offer a lighter charge to the defendant if they will plead guilty or no contest. Someone seeking a career as a prosecuting attorney would need to earn a bachelor’s degree, as well as at least four years of law school, and pass several legal exams such as the Bar test (WiseGEEK).
Courtroom procedures begin before the day of the trial arrives. In a criminal case, the pre-trial proceedings vary based on the severity of the crime. With a simple misdemeanor case, which could only result in minor jail time or a fine, the pre-trial procedures are short and simple. Usually, the defendant is called to a pre-trial hearing where they are read the charges pressed against them and are asked to give either their plea of guilty and be given a sentencing date, not guilty and be given a trial date and bail amount, or to plead no contest (American Bar Association). However, in a felony case that could lead to a serious incarceration sentence, the procedure becomes more complex. There is a first hearing that is similar to that of a misdemeanor, except that a plea is not given. This is done at the second preliminary hearing to determine if there is actually enough evidence to charge the defendant with a crime. If there isn’t enough, the charges are dropped, but if there is, the case moves along in the process (American Bar...

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