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1.1-2 Description of the Order of the Trial

Revised to January 1, 2008

It is useful for you to know what the various parts of the trial are so that you may be aware throughout the trial what stage of the proceedings is in progress and what comes next.

The trial starts with opening statements by the lawyers.  They will state the nature of their factual and legal claims.  Opening statements are not proof or evidence; they are merely statements of the claims of the parties, so that you will be aware as you hear the evidence of what legal claims each party is trying to establish through the evidence.

After the opening statements, the plaintiff will present (his/her) evidence by calling witnesses. The lawyers for the defendant [and other parties] may cross examine each witness. After the plaintiff has presented all of (his/her) witnesses, the defendant [and other parties] will have an opportunity to present witnesses if (he/she) chooses to do so.  Any witnesses presented by the defendant [and other parties] may be cross examined by the plaintiff's lawyer.  I may vary the order of the trial if necessary to keep things running smoothly.

Once all of the witnesses and evidence have been presented, the lawyers will make closing arguments to you.  These closing arguments, like the opening statements, are not evidence.

The final step is that I (the judge) will tell you what the legal principles are that apply to the claims that have been made and the evidence that has been presented.  That instruction is known as the charge to the jury.

At the end of the charge, I will explain the process you should use for your deliberations and for delivering your verdict.


Practice Book 15-6.


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