LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Rohn Conan Barrow | Feb 19, 2011

STRUCTURE OF A CALIFORNIA CRIMINAL TRIAL

You show up first thing in the master calendar court.

You wait for an open trial courtroom.

Then you get sent out.

The attorneys have a conference with the trial judge. The discussion will include possible settlement, 402 motions regarding evidence, issues specific to your facts.

Then a potential jury panel will be brought in.

The Judge will have some remarks for the potential jurors.

The clerk will swear in the potential jurors.

Then the “voir dire" will begin

The judge will ask questions.

The lawyers will ask questions. People will be removed for cause (bias) or because the attorney may not like answers he or she got during questioning.

A panel of 12 jurors and several alternate jurors will be selected.

The clerk will swear in the jury

The clerk will swear in the bailiff. The bailiff is now responsible for the jury.

The court will read some opening jury instructions.

There will be opening statements – 1st People, 2nd Defense.

The people will proceed with their case in chief.

There may be a motion to dismiss because the people failed their burden.

Defense may proceed with their case in chief or rest.

The people may put on a rebuttal case.

Then there are closing statements -1st People, 2nd Defense, and 3rd People’s Rebuttal.

The Judge will read more jury instructions and the law as it applies to this particular case.

The case will be given to the jury.

Then the waiting.

Then the verdict.

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