A snapshot of the trial process can go a long way to help people who have a civil trial scheduled get a basic understanding of some of the critical issues that are present when a civil case is filed. In many cases, especially from the birth injury or medical malpractice standpoint, a settlement may occur. However, this is not always the case and the requirement for a jury to sort out the issues is needed.
The focus of this educational article is from the standpoint of how things are done in Maryland. If you are not in Maryland, but have a civil trial upcoming, you should direct your specific questions to your attorney, as your attorney is in the best position to deal with your questions. The information that we have provided in this article, and supporting video is general in nature.
WHO ARE THE PLAYERS IN A TRIAL?
Before talking about a snapshot of the trial process, it is important to understand who are the participants in a trial. One of the more notable people in a trial is the judge. A judge can fill different roles depending on whether there is a jury trial, or whether there is a bench trial. In a jury trial, the judge is there to make rulings on the law and instruct the jury as to what law to use. On the other hand, if the trial is a bench trial then the judge will do what I mentioned above and decide the facts of the case. He or she will handle the law and the fact-finding function.
The other people who may be in your trial is a court reporter, who is there to make sure there is a record of everything that is said during the trial. There may also be a courtroom clerk who will be sure to handle the marking of exhibits and other administrative matters in the courtroom. Finally, the parties to the case, with there attorneys (assuming not pro se) will be present.
A SNAPSHOT OF THE TRIAL PROCESS…
If you are having a jury trial, jurors will be selected from pool of jurors who have gotten letters in the mail to show up as potential jurors. They will meet in the courthouse in a separate area and be ushered into courtrooms, as directed by the judge.
You will then be able to screen the potential jurors as to whether they would be a good fit for your case by asking certain questions of the jurors. In Maryland, in general the judge will ask questions of the pool of potential jurors, with input from both sides’ attorneys. Jurors will either be accepted or struck as potential jurors. The judge will decide of how many alternate jurors will be needed based on the length of the trial.
Once the jurors are seated, then the trial will move forward. During the trial, the jury will make fact determinations in the case. Issues of fact will be left to the jury. Credibility will also be included in the analysis by the jury. For example, if there is contradicting evidence, the jury will decide what to believe.
At the conclusion of the evidence, the judge will direct the jury as to the law to use to apply the law to the facts of the case. Attorneys for both sides, along with the judge, will hash out the applicable law for the jury to use. Once the jury has deliberated and reached a verdict, the judge will be informed, and the verdict will be read in open court.
In its basic sense, this is a snapshot of the trial process.
Marcus B. Boston, Esq.
2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815
1-833-4 BABY HELP