Trials and Litigation
Trials and litigation are an important part of the everyday operation of the United States justice and legal systems. Trials are an event in which two parties, a plaintiff and a defendant, appear in a courthouse to dispute information with evidence in front of a jury, a judge, and the public. Not all trials are open to the public but a good majority of them are open to the public. Trials can last anywhere from one day to over a year at a time. Litigation is the process of
carrying on a legal contest by judicial process.
There are two forms of trials; bench trials and jury trials. A bench trial is when the trial is presided over by a judge and typically ends in a quick manner. A jury trial is a trial that is held before a group of community members that have been chosen for that particular trial.
Jury selection for a trial can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a handful of weeks. Attorneys from both sides of the case will submit questions for each juror in order to choose a fair representation of the community. The judge for the case will also preside over the jury selection process. Jurors know they have to appear for jury duty because they will receive notice of their appearance in the mail. If someone does not appear for jury selection they can be fined and even sent to jail. There are certain instances whereby citizens may be excused from jury duty.
The types of trials vary depending on the type of matter that is involved. There are criminal trials, civil trials, administrative hearings. A criminal trial originates when the government accuses a person of committing a crime. All criminals in the United States have the right to a trial by a jury of their peers. The government is attempting to deprive the accused of life, liberty and property guaranteed to them by the United States Constitution. In a civil trial, a trial is held for disputes between two parties. For instance, a civil trial could include a woman suing her ex-husband for spousal support or child support because he is not paying.