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Mock Trial Basics. By: Margaret Flynt, Esq. The Purpose of Law. Georgia Court System. Magistrate County courts that issue warrants, hear minor criminal offenses, and civil claims of $15K or less Probate Wills and administration of decedents’ estates Juvenile State

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mock trial basics

Mock Trial Basics

By: Margaret Flynt, Esq.

georgia court system
Georgia Court System
  • Magistrate
    • County courts that issue warrants, hear minor criminal offenses, and civil claims of $15K or less
  • Probate
    • Wills and administration of decedents’ estates
  • Juvenile
  • State
    • Jurisdiction within one county. Misdemeanors, preliminary hearings, and civil matters not reserved for superior courts.
  • Superior
    • Civil and criminal jurisdiction. Felony trials.
georgia court of appeals
Georgia Court of Appeals
  • Court of “first review” for many civil and criminal cases.
  • Corrects errors of law at trial level.
  • Does not alter jury verdicts or bench trials.
georgia supreme court
Georgia Supreme Court
  • State’s highest court
  • Reviews criminal and civil cases decided by a trial court or by the Court of Appeals
  • All constitutional questions and all death penalty cases.
solutions provided by law
Solutions Provided by Law
  • Clarification of rights of the parties
  • Determination of Right and Wrong
  • Determination of Guilt or Innocence
  • Direct one party to compensate another
  • Fine and/or sentence as punishment
settling disputes without a trial
Settling Disputes Without a Trial
  • Negotiation
  • Mediation
  • Arbitration
what is a trial
What is a Trial?
  • “Adversary process”
  • “Impartial” third party—Judge or Jury
  • Bench trial: Judge is “trier of fact” and “trier of law”
  • Jury Trial: Judge is “trier of law” and jury is “trier of fact”
the facts of the case
The Facts of the Case
  • A disagreement over the facts of an incident forms the basis for a trial.
  • “Trier of fact” determines which version of facts is correct.

Raffles v. Wichelhaus,

2 H. & C. 906, 159 Eng. Rep. 373 (Ex. 1864).

  • Testimony
  • Documents
  • Physical Evidence
burden of proof criminal
Burden of Proof (Criminal)
  • The State (prosecutor) has the burden.
  • “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt”
burden of proof civil
Burden of Proof (Civil)
  • Plaintiff has the burden.
  • “By a preponderance of the evidence.”
    • “More likely than not.”
    • 51%
  • Present evidence that prevents the plaintiff or prosecutor from meeting the burden of proof.
    • Alternative explanation
    • Alibi
    • Self-defense
    • Insanity



Testimony given out of court.

Attorneys for both sides are usually present

Recorded by a court reporter for later use in court.

  • Written statements of the facts, made and voluntarily sworn to, usually before a notary or other person who can administer oaths
trial order
Trial Order

Overall Structure

Testimony of Witnesses

Direct of P witnesses

Cross by D of P witnesses

Redirect of P witnesses

P rests case.

Direct of D witnesses

Cross by P of D witnesses

Redirect of D witnesses

D rests case

  • Plaintiff Opening Statement
  • Defense Opening Statement
  • Testimony of Witnesses
  • Closing Arguments
  • Deliberation
  • Theory of the Case
    • Facts beyond dispute
    • Law
    • Common sense
    • Emotionally
    • Leads a jury/judge
    • To your conclusion.
  • Theme of the Case
    • Word, phrase, or sentence
    • Controlling or dominant emotion of the case
    • Brief and easily remembered
theory of the case
Theory of the Case
  • When called into the Quik Trip, John was shocked to discover his friend, Paul, had shot the Quik Trip clerk and was now pointing a gun at him. Terrified and confused, John, fearing for his life, obeyed Paul’s commands to take the money and give it to Paul. Under these circumstances, John is not guilty of any crime because he was coerced into participating in the robbery.
theme of the case
Theme of the Case
  • Frightened, forced, and falsely accused
  • Frightened, forced, and framed
  • Coerced to crime
  • Two Victims
  • Unwilling Accomplice
  • Puppet of Fear