Voir dire most of which may not have any apparent

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voir dire ) – most of which may not have any apparent relationship to the lawsuit. The judge and attorneys will then remove certain members from the panel until a group of six or twelve jurors (depending on the court), and usually one or more alternate jurors (to serve in the event of illness or other emergency), is chosen to serve as the jury.
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RULES OF EVIDENCE Evidentiary Matters: Since much of the trial is directed toward proving or disproving facts, and facts are gleaned from the evidence, it is important to understand a couple of basic concepts: Relevance: Evidence is relevant if it tends to prove or disprove a disputed fact or to establish the likelihood of a disputed fact. Even highly relevant evidence may be disallowed by the court if its probative value is outweighed by the prejudice it would likely cause to the opposing party’s case. Hearsay: Any oral or written testimony given in court about a statement made by someone else. Courts recognize numerous exceptions to the rule against hearsay – indeed, most law students spend the better part of a semester on that one subject.
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STAGES OF A TRIAL - PT. I (1) Opening Statements: Counsel are permitted to present to the jury an overview of their case and the reasons they believe their client should prevail. In some instances – and in most instances in criminal trials – the defendant’s counsel may reserve her opening statement until immediately before presenting her first witness. (2) Examination of Witnesses: The plaintiff (or, in a criminal case, the State), who has the burden of proving her (its) case, presents her witnesses first. Direct Examination: Questioning of a witness by counsel for the party who called the witness. Cross-Examination: Questioning of a witness by counsel for the opposing party. Re-Direct and Re-Cross: More of the same, typically limited in scope to issues raised by opposing counsel’s questioning. (3) Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law: A motion for the judge to take the decision out of the jury’s hands and direct a verdict for the moving party because the non- moving party has failed to provide sufficient evidence to prevail on its claims.
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STAGES OF A TRIAL - PT. II (4) Closing Argument: After both sides have presented all of their witnesses and evidence and the judge has determined that the case should proceed to the jury, counsel for each party is permitted to summarize the evidence for the jury and argue why the evidence proves or disproves the plaintiff’s case. In most cases, counsel for the plaintiff will argue first and last – that is, plaintiff’s counsel will give an “opening” jury argument, followed by defense counsel’s argument, ending with a “rebuttal” argument by plaintiff’s counsel. (5) Jury Instructions: The judge instructs the jury on the issues they must decide and the law governing the case. Counsel for all parties are permitted to submit proposed issues and instructions and to object to incorrect or inappropriate matters.
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