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
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