DC federal sex crimes trials follow a specific order and process. Knowledge of this process is important in building an effective defense against sex crimes charges. A DC federal sex crimes lawyer can use this knowledge and understanding of the trial process to aid a person charged with a sex crime in their defense.
When a DC federal sex crimes trial first begins, both the government and the defense get the opportunity to make an opening statement to the members of the jury. An opening statement is restricted to what each side believes the evidence will show. The opening statements are meant to be strictly facts, without argument. Obviously each side of the case will highlight the facts that they think are important and beneficial to their cause. In that way, the opening statements can indicate what to look for when the evidence is presented. The prosecution will present its opening statement first, followed by the defense.
After the opening statements in a DC federal sex crimes trial are presented, the prosecution will present its case. The prosecution gets to present all of its witnesses and evidence before the defense. However, the prosecution is also allowed to call rebuttal witnesses, if it wishes to refute evidence that the defense presents later on.
While the prosecution presents its case, the defense attorney will be crafting questions to ask the prosecution’s witnesses during cross examination. The DC federal sex crimes attorney will be listening carefully to the prosecution’s testimony so that they can expose credibility issues or holes in the investigation or evidence, and so they can object to improper questions or evidence.
The prosecutors will call law enforcement witnesses, typically all law enforcement officers who were involved in the investigation and arrest of your client. The prosecutors will also call any complaining witnesses so they can present their side of the story to the jury, as well as any witnesses who may have seen or had knowledge of the alleged crime.
In a DC federal sex crimes trial, the primary goal of the defense is to keep the prosecution from meeting their burden of proving every single element beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense will attack each element that the prosecution is trying to prove and show the jury how there is in fact reasonable doubt. Depending on the facts of the case, the DC federal sex crimes attorney may try to defend the case by arguing either that the defendant was not the person who committed the offense, or by arguing that there isn’t enough evidence to convict the defendant of the offense.
During the presentation of the defense, the prosecution will be re-evaluating any questions they had already planned on asking the defense’s witnesses during cross-examination. They also may be planning out which witnesses to call if they want to rebut any testimony that defense witnesses provide.
Closing statements, more correctly referred to as closing arguments, are presented by each side at the conclusion of the presentation of evidence. The government presents its argument first, followed by the defense, and then the government gets to give a short rebuttal argument. Closing arguments are not to be considered as evidence by the jury, but they are each side’s strongest points that they want the jury to consider.
After closing arguments are presented by each side, the case is submitted to the jury. This means that the jury begins deliberations in order to decide whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty. If the defendant is found guilty of the offense, the defendant will later be sentenced by the judge.
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