How Courts Work

Steps in a Trial

Verdict

After reaching a decision, the jury notifies the bailiff, who notifies the judge. All of the participants reconvene in the courtroom and the decision is announced. The announcement may be made by either the foreperson or the court clerk.

Possible verdicts in criminal cases are “guilty” or “not guilty.” In a civil suit, the jury will find for the plaintiff or the defendant. If the jury finds for the plaintiff, it will also usually set out the amount the defendant should pay the plaintiff for damages, often after a separate hearing concerning damages. The jury will also make a decision on any counterclaims that may be part of the case.

The lawyer for either party may ask that the jury be polled , although the request usually comes from the losing party. This means each juror will be asked if he or she agrees with the decision, as announced. This is to make sure that the verdict announced is the actual verdict of the jury. After the decision is read and accepted by the court, the jury is dismissed, and the trial is over.

>>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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