Essay about Stages of a Criminal Trial

2710 Words Jan 23rd, 2012 11 Pages
Stages of A Criminal Trail Nancy Jane Strayer University

One stages of a criminal trial is the presentation of evidence, first the state is given the opportunity to present evidence intended to improve the defendant’s guilt. After prosecutors have rested their case, the defense is afforded the opportunity to provide evidence favorable to the defendant. Types of Evidence Evidence can be either direct or circumstantial. Direct evidence believed, proves a fact without requiring the judge or jury to draw inferences. For example, direct evidence may consist of the information contained in a photograph or a videotape. It might also consist of testimonial evidence provided by a
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In one recent case, a new trial was ordered when photos of the crime scene were projected on a wall over the head of the defendant as he sat in the courtroom. An appellate court found the presentation to have prejudiced the jury. Sometimes evidence is found to have only limited admissibility. This means that the evidence can be used for a specific purpose but that it might not be accurate in other details. Photographs, for example, may be admitted as evidence for the narrow purpose of showing spatial relationships between objects under discussion, even if the photographs were taken under conditions that did not exist when the offense was committed (such as daylight). When judges allow the use of evidence that may have been illegally or unconstitutionally gathered, there may be grounds for a later appeal if the trial concludes with a “guilty” verdict. Even when evidence is improperly introduced at trial, however, a number of Supreme Court decisions have held that there may be no grounds for an effective appeal unless such introduction “had substantial and injurious effect or influence in determining the jury’s verdict. Called the harmless error rule, this standard places the burden on the prosecution to show that the jury’s decision would most likely have been the same even in the absence of the inappropriate evidence. The rule is not applicable when a defendant’s constitutional guarantees are

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