Trial: The Trial
At the start of the trial, the prosecutor will read the charging instrument to the jury. The prosecution must then make an opening statement. The defense lawyer may make an opening statement or postpone it until later. An opening statement must not contain arguments; rather, the opening statement must only describe the facts that the prosecutor and defense lawyer believe the evidence to be presented will show.
After opening statements, the state will present evidence through its witnesses. The defense will have an opportunity to cross-examine the state’s witnesses. After the state finishes its case, the defense may elect to present evidence. After the defense finishes its case, the state can call rebuttal witnesses. The defense can then follow with other rebuttal witnesses.
Once all the testimony is finished, the judge will prepare a jury charge. The charge contains law and instructions to help the jury decide the verdict. The charge is prepared outside the presence of the jury.
The charge is then read to the jury. The prosecutor and the defense counsel then make their closing arguments to the jury. The jury is given a copy of the charge and they decide the verdict in secrecy.