How Courts Work

Steps in a Trial

Motion for Directed Verdict/Dismissal

At the conclusion of the plaintiff's or government's evidence, the lawyer will announce that the plaintiff or government rests. Then, when the jury leaves the courtroom, the defendant's lawyer in a civil case has the option of making a motion for a directed verdict, arguing that his or her client's liability has not been proven by a preponderance of the evidence. In a criminal trial, the defendant's lawyer can ask for a motion to dismiss the charges, arguing that the government has failed to prove its case.

In effect, in both kinds of cases, the lawyer asks the judge to direct a verdict for the defendant. The judge will either grant or deny the motion. If it is granted, the case is over and the defendant wins. If the motion is denied, as it usually is, the defense is given the opportunity to present its evidence.

>>Diagram of How a Case Moves Through the Courts
>>Civil and Criminal Cases
>>Settling Cases
>>Pre-trial Procedures in Civil Cases
>>Jurisdiction and Venue
>>Pleadings
>>Motions
>>Discovery
>>Pre-Trial Conferences
>>Pre-trial Procedures in Criminal Cases
>>Bringing the Charge
>>Arrest Procedures
>>Pre-Trial Court Appearances in Criminal Cases
>>Bail
>>Plea Bargaining
>>Civil and Criminal Trials
>>Officers of the Court
>>The Jury Pool
>>Selecting the Jury
>>Opening Statements
>>Evidence
>>Direct Examination
>>Cross-examination
>>Motion for Directed Verdict/Dismissal
>>Presentation of Evidence by the Defense
>>Rebuttal
>>Final Motions
>>Closing Arguments
>>Instructions to the Jury
>>Mistrials
>>Jury Deliberations
>>Verdict
>>Motions after Verdict
>>Judgment
>>Sentencing
>>Appeals


How Courts Work Home | Courts and Legal Procedure | *Steps in a Trial*
The Human Side of Being a Judge | Mediation

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