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Review Questions Print

1. The jury, and in some instances the judge, must make decisions regarding guilt or innocence in a criminal case. What sources of information do the fact finders use to make these decisions? (SS4.1)

2. Prior to a criminal trial, the prosecuting and defense attorneys have an opportunity to make pretrial motions. Name at least three subjects of pretrial motions. (SS4.2)

3. When a witness on the stand is questioned by the attorneys or judge, the opposing attorney may challenge or object to the questions asked. Under what conditions may the objection be made as to form? As to substance? (SS4.3)

4. The courts have established procedures for presenting evidence in court. In the usual criminal case, what is the order of presenting the evidence? What are the limitations of each party in offering rebuttal evidence and rejoinder evidence? (SS4.4)

5. Why does the prosecution present its evidence before the defense presents its evidence? (SS4.4)

6. If the introduction of evidence is challenged by the opposing party, what is the procedure for offering the objection and for preparing the record to allow for an appeal of a judge's adverse ruling? (SS4.5)

7. Why must an attorney's objection to the introduction of evidence be made in a timely manner? (SS4.5)

8. The judge, jury, witnesses, and attorneys play important parts in evidentiary matters. Name at least five responsibilities of the trial judge in relation to the introduction of evidence. Under what circumstances may a judge make comments to the jury? (SS4.6)

9. What factors are used to determine the propriety of any comment by the trial judge in a jury trial? (SS4.6)

10. What limitations does a judge have when making comments on the evidence? (SS4.6)

11. What is the function of the jury in a criminal case? (SS4.7)

12. What limitations should a jury or a juror observe when sitting or deliberating on a case? (SS4.7)

13. What is the role of the witness--especially a law enforcement witness--in a criminal case? (SS4.8)

14. In 1985, the Supreme Court of the United States, in a very comprehensive opinion, discussed the responsibilities of the prosecutor and the defense counsel. What was the standard of conduct that was established by the Supreme Court for prosecutors? Does the standard of conduct for the prosecution differ from that for the defense? (SS4.9)

15. What are the responsibilities of the prosecutor in a criminal case? (SS4.9)

16. What are the responsibilities of the defense attorney in a criminal case? (SS4.9)

17. Why must a prosecutor give the defense significant evidence prior to trial if the defense asks to see exculpatory prosecution evidence? (SS4.9)

18. In preparing and prosecuting a criminal case, what discretion do prosecutors generally have? (SS4.9)

19. What are the responsibilities of the defense counsel in a criminal case? (SS4.10)

20. In the case of Nix v. Whiteside, the Supreme Court considered the role of the defense attorney when the defendant indicates to his attorney that the defendant plans to commit perjury. What was the opinion of the Court? (SS4.10)

21. Explain the difference between direct evidence and circumstantial evidence. (SS4.11)

22. As a practical matter, is there a difference between the weight given by a jury to direct evidence and circumstantial evidence? Should there be any difference? (SS4.11)

23. Is evidence that is characterized as "circumstantial" admissible at trial in a criminal case? If admissible, is circumstantial evidence less persuasive than direct evidence? Explain. (SS4.11)

24. The Brady doctrine states that it is reversible error for the prosecutor to use evidence that he or she knows or should know is untrue and to withhold exculpatory evidence favorable to the defense. In the case of Maddox v. Montgomery, the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit enumerated four types of situations in which the Brady doctrine applies. What are these four situations? (Maddox v. Montgomery, Part II, and SS4.9)