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Ch 11: The Criminal Trial in the U.S. Justice System: Help and Review

About This Chapter

The Criminal Trial in the U.S. Justice System chapter of this Intro to Criminal Justice Help and Review course is the simplest way to master an understanding of the criminal trial in the U.S. justice system. This chapter uses simple and fun videos that are about five minutes long, plus lesson quizzes and a chapter exam to ensure students learn the essentials of the criminal trial in the U.S. justice system.

Who's it for?

Anyone who needs help learning or mastering introductory criminal justice material will benefit from taking this course. There is no faster or easier way to learn introductory criminal justice. Among those who would benefit are:

  • Students who have fallen behind in understanding the elements of a criminal trial or the criminal trial in the U.S. justice system
  • Students who struggle with learning disabilities or learning differences, including autism and ADHD
  • Students who prefer multiple ways of learning criminal justice (visual or auditory)
  • Students who have missed class time and need to catch up
  • Students who need an efficient way to learn about criminal trials in the U.S. justice system
  • Students who struggle to understand their teachers
  • Students who attend schools without extra criminal justice learning resources

How it works:

  • Find videos in our course that cover what you need to learn or review.
  • Press play and watch the video lesson.
  • Refer to the video transcripts to reinforce your learning.
  • Test your understanding of each lesson with short quizzes.
  • Verify you're ready by completing the Criminal Trial in the U.S. Justice System chapter exam.

Why it works:

  • Study Efficiently: Skip what you know, review what you don't.
  • Retain What You Learn: Engaging animations and real-life examples make topics easy to grasp.
  • Be Ready on Test Day: Use the Criminal Trial in the U.S. Justice System chapter exam to be prepared.
  • Get Extra Support: Ask our subject-matter experts any question about criminal trials in the U.S. justice system. They're here to help!
  • Study With Flexibility: Watch videos on any web-ready device.

Students will review:

In this chapter, you'll learn the answer to questions including:

  • What are the elements of the criminal trial?
  • What are the constitutional requirements of a criminal trial?
  • How are pretrial activities of a criminal trial conducted?
  • What are the stages of a criminal trial?
  • In what ways can criminal charges be defended?

55 Lessons in Chapter 11: The Criminal Trial in the U.S. Justice System: Help and Review
Elements & Purpose of the Criminal Trial

1. Elements & Purpose of the Criminal Trial

In this lesson, we will learn about criminal trials. We will look at what the purpose of the criminal trial is and the elements that make up the trial process from the beginning to the end.

Constitutional Requirements of a Criminal Trial

2. Constitutional Requirements of a Criminal Trial

In criminal court, a defendant will rely heavily on his constitutional rights to a fair trial. These rights, specifically the Fifth and Sixth Amendment Rights provide the requirements for a criminal trial. Some rights include right to a speedy trial, right to counsel and a right to an impartial jury. There are several other equally important rights that this important amendment protects.

Writ of Habeas Corpus & Reasonable Doubt in a Criminal Trial

3. Writ of Habeas Corpus & Reasonable Doubt in a Criminal Trial

In a last ditch effort to be free, a person in custody, after exhausting all appeals and motions, may file a writ of habeas corpus requesting further investigation of his constitutional rights in an attempt to be set free.

Pretrial Activities of a Criminal Trial: Steps, Purposes & Importance

4. Pretrial Activities of a Criminal Trial: Steps, Purposes & Importance

In this lesson, we will learn about the pretrial steps before a criminal trial. We will look at what these steps are, why they are done and what they mean in a criminal case. We will then look at some specific examples of each.

Stages of the Criminal Trial: From Voir Dire to Verdict

5. Stages of the Criminal Trial: From Voir Dire to Verdict

In this lesson, we will learn about the stages of the criminal trial. We will look at what these stages from the beginning of the trial during voir dire through the verdict. We will also look at some specific examples of each stage.

Types of Defense Against a Criminal Charge

6. Types of Defense Against a Criminal Charge

In this lesson, we will learn about possible defenses against a criminal charge. We will look at what these defenses are, how they are presented and what they mean in a criminal case. We will then look at some specific examples of each defense.

Criminal Trial Post-Trial Steps: Appeals, Reviews & Processes

7. Criminal Trial Post-Trial Steps: Appeals, Reviews & Processes

In this lesson, we will learn about the post-trial steps after a criminal trial. We will look at what these steps are and what the appellate review process entails. Then, we'll explore some specific examples of each.

What is Double Jeopardy? - Definition & Overview

8. What is Double Jeopardy? - Definition & Overview

In this lesson we will learn about the meaning of double jeopardy. We will take a closer look at the term is defined in various countries and applied here in the United States of America.

What is the 6th Amendment? - Definition, Summary & Court Cases

9. What is the 6th Amendment? - Definition, Summary & Court Cases

In this lesson, we'll look at what the 6th Amendment states, how it has been interpreted, and famous court cases that have dealt with the 6th Amendment. We'll also examine the famous case that gave us Miranda rights.

What is the 8th Amendment? - Definition, Summary & Cases

10. What is the 8th Amendment? - Definition, Summary & Cases

The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States is one of the shortest amendments, but its interpretation has caused many debates. In this lesson, we'll review how the Supreme Court has interpreted its various clauses.

Burden of Proof: Definition & Cases

11. Burden of Proof: Definition & Cases

Burden of proof refers to a party's duty in a criminal or civil trial to prove that a claim is true. This lesson introduces the general concept of a burden of proof, and discusses the related legal standards and Supreme Court cases.

Real Evidence in Law: Definition & Types

12. Real Evidence in Law: Definition & Types

Real evidence describes any physical object that has a direct connection to a crime or civil action. This lesson will introduce you to some examples of real evidence and explain how real evidence is used in trials.

Peremptory Challenge: Definition & Law

13. Peremptory Challenge: Definition & Law

A peremptory challenge is used by attorneys in the jury selection process to excuse potential jurors without providing a reason why. In this lesson you will learn about the use of peremptory strikes, as well as the laws designed to protect the integrity of the process.

Challenge for Cause: Definition & Criminology

14. Challenge for Cause: Definition & Criminology

Challenge for cause is a practice that allows attorneys to remove prospective jurors who can't render a fair and impartial verdict. This lesson discusses the practice of using challenges for cause and the ways the practice is used by attorneys to use jury selection to the client's advantage.

The Presumption of Innocence: Definition & Overview

15. The Presumption of Innocence: Definition & Overview

You have probably seen a television show or movie that depicts a trial. In this lesson, you will learn more about why trials work the way they do, including the important concepts on presumption of innocence and burden of proof.

Standard of Proof in Law: Definition & Cases

16. Standard of Proof in Law: Definition & Cases

Standard of proof refers to the amount of evidence required to prove a legal claim or assertion. This lesson will introduce you to the different standards of proof and some of the cases associated with those standards.

Andrea Yates Court Case: Summary

17. Andrea Yates Court Case: Summary

Five children drowned in a bathtub in a suburban Texas home - and the killer was their own mother. Learn about the Andrea Yates murder case, some reasons for the tragedy, and the legal outcome of two highly-publicized trials.

Corpus Delicti: Definition & Rule

18. Corpus Delicti: Definition & Rule

Corpus delicti is a common law rule that was initiated over 300 hundred years ago in order to protect those in England who were innocent or even confessed to crimes that they never committed. Read on to learn more about this rule and then take a quiz.

Direct Examination: Definition, Examples & Criminology

19. Direct Examination: Definition, Examples & Criminology

This lesson will discuss direct examination, a procedure within the criminal trial process in the United States. We will define this concept and then offer examples to highlight what is involved in direct examination.

Hearsay: Definition, Examples & Exceptions

20. Hearsay: Definition, Examples & Exceptions

In this lesson, we'll learn about the concept of hearsay in the courtroom. We'll explore the definition of hearsay and some examples as well as some of the important exceptions that make hearsay admissible in court.

Trace Evidence: Definition, Analysis & Examples

21. Trace Evidence: Definition, Analysis & Examples

Forensic science is made up of several different 'sub-disciplines' or smaller categories of study. Trace evidence is one of these categories. This lesson will explain what trace evidence is and how it is used to help investigate crimes.

What is a Conviction? - Definition & Meaning

22. What is a Conviction? - Definition & Meaning

In this lesson, we will define the concept of a conviction, as it relates to criminal trials, and provide examples of convictions in the United States' criminal court system.

Prima Facie Case: Definition & Examples

23. Prima Facie Case: Definition & Examples

A prima facie case is presented at a pretrial hearing to determine whether a case merits going to trial. The prima facie case needs to show that the charges likely have merit, but it does not have to prove that the defendant is guilty.

Testimonial Evidence & Law: Definition & Examples

24. Testimonial Evidence & Law: Definition & Examples

What are the rules governing what types of information witnesses can testify about? What restrictions are there on what witnesses can say during a trial? This lesson covers the basics of testimonial evidence.

What is the Chain of Custody? - Definition, Procedures & Importance

25. What is the Chain of Custody? - Definition, Procedures & Importance

When police officers collect evidence, that evidence has to be stored and protected. But how do they do this? This lesson will explain what chain of custody is, how it's created, and why it is so important.

Witness: Definition & Role in Criminology

26. Witness: Definition & Role in Criminology

A witness has an intrinsic role in a trial. This lesson with define the different types of witnesses, their roles, and the aspects that could damage their credibility.

What is a Public Defender? - Definition & History

27. What is a Public Defender? - Definition & History

Public defenders have a challenging job - providing legal services for people involved in a criminal proceeding who cannot afford their own private attorneys. These public servants deal with a heavy caseload and limited resources. The hard-working attorneys provide an essential service in the American justice system: protecting the fundamental right to a fair trial.

Inadmissible Evidence: Definition & Law

28. Inadmissible Evidence: Definition & Law

What evidence can be used in court of law? This lesson explains what evidence is inadmissible and reasons why certain types of evidence cannot be used in court.

Nolo Contendere Plea: Definition & Meaning

29. Nolo Contendere Plea: Definition & Meaning

In this lesson, we learn about the plea of nolo contendere, which is a different plea from guilt or innocence in the American legal system. This lesson helps to better understand the complexities of our criminal court.

Direct Evidence: Definition, Law & Examples

30. Direct Evidence: Definition, Law & Examples

In the criminal law context, direct evidence refers to direct proof of a fact. This lesson discusses the basic definition of direct evidence, as well as the laws governing this type of evidence and some examples of how the evidence is used.

What is a Prosecutor? - Definition & Meaning

31. What is a Prosecutor? - Definition & Meaning

This lesson will explore the role and duties of a prosecutor in the criminal justice system. An overview of prosecutorial discretion and its relationship to the power of the prosecutor will also be discussed.

Scienter: Legal Definition & Requirement

32. Scienter: Legal Definition & Requirement

Did you ever hear the term 'scienter' while watching a television program involving the law? Learn what constitutes scienter in legal terminology. Review the definition of scienter as well as the requirements for proving scienter.

O.J. Simpson Trial: Evidence, Summary & Timeline

33. O.J. Simpson Trial: Evidence, Summary & Timeline

This lesson discusses the infamous O.J. Simpson trial, exploring the evidence presented at the trial as well as the timeline of the trial itself. Quiz questions follow the lesson to review the key concepts presented.

Mistrial: Definition & Motions

34. Mistrial: Definition & Motions

A mistrial is where a trial is ended prior to a verdict being read. This lesson discusses the full meaning of a mistrial as well as why it can happen.

Mitigating Factors in Law: Definition & Examples

35. Mitigating Factors in Law: Definition & Examples

In this lesson we will discuss what mitigating factors are in our legal system and provide some examples of how they function in the criminal justice process.

Aggravating Factors in Law: Definition & Sentencing

36. Aggravating Factors in Law: Definition & Sentencing

In this lesson, we will define an aggravating factor in our criminal justice system. You'll also be provided with several examples of how aggravating factors work in sentencing, and then you can test your knowledge with a quiz.

What is a Summary Offense? - Definition & Examples

37. What is a Summary Offense? - Definition & Examples

This lesson discusses the meaning and potential implications of a summary offense. Examples of specific types of summary offenses will be presented. A short quiz to test your knowledge follows the lesson.

Jury Trial: Process & Definition

38. Jury Trial: Process & Definition

Here, we will define a jury trial, consider the process of selecting jurors, and learn about the jury's responsibility in court. This lesson is useful to understand the American legal system for both criminal and civil cases.

Forensic Evidence: Types, Definition & Cases

39. Forensic Evidence: Types, Definition & Cases

The term 'forensic' actually means 'relating to law and science'. In this lesson, we'll review different types of forensic evidence. We will also look at real world cases where forensic evidence was used to solve crimes.

Physical Evidence: Definition, Types & Law

40. Physical Evidence: Definition, Types & Law

Evidence at a crime scene that is tangible is considered physical evidence. This lesson discusses physical evidence, the varieties of evidence, and how it pertains to the law.

Arraignment: Definition & Process

41. Arraignment: Definition & Process

After you complete this lesson, you will understand the process of an arraignment, which occurs after an arrest and before a courtroom trial. Test your learning with a brief quiz at the end of this lesson.

Bailment: Definition, Types & Cases

42. Bailment: Definition, Types & Cases

Once you complete this lesson, you should understand what constitutes a bailment. You will explore the different types of bailments as well as review a few famous bailment cases.

Circumstantial Evidence: Definition, Types & Examples

43. Circumstantial Evidence: Definition, Types & Examples

For years, civil and criminal cases have been won or lost based on circumstantial evidence. Learn more about the definition of this term and common types of circumstantial evidence, looking at specific examples.

Closing Argument: Outline, Themes & Example

44. Closing Argument: Outline, Themes & Example

Learn what constitutes a closing argument. Review the points which should be included in a closing argument. Examine closing argument themes and then review several examples.

Criminal Insanity: Cases, Law & Defense

45. Criminal Insanity: Cases, Law & Defense

Criminal insanity is a legal defense that may be used to avoid criminal responsibility. This lesson will introduce you to the concept of criminal insanity and provide examples of notable cases involving the defense as well as the tests used to determine if a defendant is criminally insane.

Cross Examination: Definition, Techniques & Examples

46. Cross Examination: Definition, Techniques & Examples

Lawyers have the ability to ask witnesses questions in the courtroom, which is cross examination. This lesson will define cross examination, discuss cross examining techniques and provide examples.

Eyewitness Testimony: Accuracy & Reliability

47. Eyewitness Testimony: Accuracy & Reliability

After completing this lesson, you will be able to understand what constitutes eyewitness testimony. Moreover, you will examine the accuracy and reliability of eyewitness testimony and how this relates to providing proof in court and in legal documents.

False Confessions: Causes, Consequences & Implications

48. False Confessions: Causes, Consequences & Implications

This lesson will discuss false confessions. We will discuss the causes of false confessions and the consequences and implications of false confessions.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty: Origin, Law & Meaning

49. Innocent Until Proven Guilty: Origin, Law & Meaning

The principle of 'innocent until proven guilty' is a legal concept which guarantees that the guilt of an accused person cannot be presumed. This lesson takes you through the origin, law, and meaning of this ancient tenet.

Opening Statement: Definition & Examples

50. Opening Statement: Definition & Examples

After you complete this lesson, you will have an understanding of what constitutes an opening statement. Moreover, you will review some examples in order to gain a heightened understanding of opening statements.

Preliminary Hearing: Definition, Purpose & Process

51. Preliminary Hearing: Definition, Purpose & Process

Once you complete this lesson, you will understand what constitutes a preliminary hearing. You will review the definition, examine the purpose and review the procedure of a preliminary hearing.

Preponderance of Evidence: Definition & Standard

52. Preponderance of Evidence: Definition & Standard

Once you complete this lesson, you will understand what constitutes the preponderance of the evidence standard. You will examine the definition and review the standard utilized in court.

The Insanity Defense: Definition, Famous Cases, Pros & Cons

53. The Insanity Defense: Definition, Famous Cases, Pros & Cons

This lesson will review the insanity defense. You will first examine the definition of the insanity defense. Then you will look at several famous insanity defense cases. Finally, you will review the pros and cons of the insanity defense.

Acquiescence in Law: Definition & Concept

54. Acquiescence in Law: Definition & Concept

Acquiescence is important to understand when it comes to a party's legal rights. Inaction and silence can be held against someone in certain situations, and protecting one's rights may entail speaking up and taking action. This lesson will cover five key areas to be considered regarding acquiescence in the law.

Acquiescence Bias: Definition & Examples

55. Acquiescence Bias: Definition & Examples

How does the phrasing of a question impact how people answer? In this lesson, we'll look at acquiescence bias, including what it is, how it can influence testimony, and how to avoid it.

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