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Indictment (in-DITE- ment ): a formal accusation that a person has committed a crime. A short, plain statement of the time, place & manner in which the defendant is alleged to have commit the crime Each crime a person is accused of committing is described in a separate count.

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indictment in dite ment a formal accusation that a person has committed a crime
Indictment (in-DITE-ment): a formal accusation that a person has committed a crime
  • A short, plain statement of the time, place & manner in which the defendant is alleged to have commit the crime
  • Each crime a person is accused of committing is described in a separate count
whether or not to indict an individual suspected of a crime is decided in one of two ways
Whether or not to indict an individual suspected of a crime is decided in one of two ways:

Grand Jury:

  • A group of jurors (often between 16 to 23) who evaluate the evidence of the prosecution
  • Hears prosecution evidence ONLY
  • No defense testimony at this time
  • Meets in secret

Accusation by an Information

  • A process to replace a Grand Jury (to save strain on the jury system)
  • A judge is presented with the prosecution’s evidence and the judge decides if it is good enough to justify a trial
  • Faster, cheaper
jury selection voir dire
Jury Selection: Voir Dire
  • A preliminary examination to determine the competency of a witness or juror
  • In order for the lawyers for both sides to decide whether someone is suitable for a jury, the lawyers must learn as much as the realistically can about the potential jurors
  • This information gathering process is called “voir dire” (French; literally “to see, to say”)
  • Process is done through written questionnaires and oral interviews
rejection of potential jurors
Rejection of potential jurors

Challenge for Cause

  • Lawyers for either side must cite specific evidence that leads them to conclude that a potential juror cannot be impartial in the case
  • Unlimited number of these allowed for either side

Peremptory Challenge

  • Lawyers have a guess or feeling that a potential juror will not be impartial
  • No evidence needs to be cited in these cases
  • Each side is given a limited number of these to use, so they must be more cautious about who they reject on this basis