You are on page 1of 25

Mock Trial Procedures

You and the Law

There are 2 sides:


Responsible for proving beyond a reasonable

doubt that the accused committed the crime.


Responsible for finding their client not guilty for

the crime they are being charged with.

Burden of proof!

Reasonable Doubt

The prosecution has a burden.

Their job is harder than the defense.

The burden is called, Beyond a reasonable doubt.

Therefore, the defense just has to create doubt!

So how do they do it?

The trial:

Opening Statements

Prosecution goes first.

Defense goes second.

The trial

Why do you think the Prosecution gets/has to go first?

Direct examinations
Cross examinations

Closing Statements

Prosecution, then defense

Rebuttal by Prosecution. (offering a contrary argument)

Why do they get a rebuttal?

Opening Statements

Imagine a movie preview.

Always phrased, We are going to show you

that or We will prove that or You are
going to see

Give the jury an idea of what is coming.

Never phrase it, We already showed you, or This
person did this
Why? They havent seen the movie yet!

3 minutes long


Prosecution gets to direct examine their witnesses


Direct Examination:

Example of whats right:

Example of whats wrong:

Isnt it true that you loaded the gun the night before you killed
your husband?

The witness has to tell the entire story.

Tell us where you were on the night of or What happened after

you went to your locker? Then what did you do?

The attorney may not Lead the witness in any way/shape/form

to the answer.

Rule of thumb: If the answer is yes/no, then you cannot ask the
question in Direct Examination


Cross Examination:

This is a hostile examination. One sides attorney

against the other sides witness.

They are from opposite teams.

After the direct examination, the witness stays on the

stand, and the cross-examiner approaches.

Control the witness!!! Always ask them to answer all questions

with a yes/no unless asked otherwise.
Examples of what is okay: almost anything!
As long as you are controlling the witness, leading and nonleading questions are OK.


Re-Direct If you still have time (5 minutes

for direct, 3 minutes for cross), then the
direct examiner may re-approach and
clarify anything brought up in the crossexam. Nothing new.
Re-Cross same as Re-directmust have
time remaining.


Sometimes an attorney is breaking the rules:

You need to protect your witness and your case.

Only the attorney responsible for the witness on the
stand may objectnobody else on the attorney teams!!!

Judge can either

Sustain (says its a good objection and doesnt allow the

question to be answered) or
Overrule (says its a bad objection, that question should
be answered.)


First-hand knowledge
Ultimate Issue
Asked and answered
Outside the Scope


Can only be used when a direct examination

is happening.

Asking yes/no questions

Stating a question that has the answer built

in to it so the witness just has to confirm the
attorney is correct or incorrect.


What did you have for lunch?


Not leading

You had a chicken ceasar salad for lunch,

didnt you?



Isnt it true, you have no siblings?


OK in a cross examination

How many siblings do you have?


This is what you would ask in a direct



Arguing with the witness.

Did you do this? No. Are you sure you didnt

do this? Yes. Positive you didnt do this? Yes.
You did this, why arent you admitting to


Arguing with attitude.

Speculation & Foundation

Speculation Asking the witness to try and guess at what

might have happened if circumstances were different.

Lets say you went home insteaddo you think or What do

you think might have happened if

Foundation Only happens on Direct examinations. This is

a big one

If the attorney has not established foundation for a question, they

cannot ask it.
Example: First question of the direct exam, So when you were at
the partywho did you see drinking alcohol?

It hasnt been established that there was a party, with drinking at it,
and the witness was actually at that party and saw people drinking. All
of that must be established first.

Hearsay/First-hand knowledge

Asking questions that the witness doesnt know

from first-hand experience is not allowed.
Was Jeshuan drinking that night?

Well, I heard (Objection! Hearsay.) that he was



So was he?
How do you know?

I heard from Susie

Ultimate Issue

Cannot ask, straight up, with no foundation,

Did you commit this crime? to the
Thats the ultimate issue everyone is here
trying to solve.
EX: the defendants mental state

Asked and answered

Sometimes an attorney will ask the same

question over and over again.

You killed him? Yes

So you really killed him? Yes
Like shot him in the face and he died? Yes

Outside the Scope

Questions asked that do not pertain to the

Can also be called an Irrelevant Question

Establishing a witness as an expert

Only one type of witness may actually speculate

and that is an expert witness.
But they must be established as an expert during
the direct examination.

What are your credentials? Witness lists his/her

background/academic credentials.
Your honor, Id like to establish this witness as an
expert in his/her field.
Judge: Are there any objections from the

If none the witness is declared an expert by the judge and

they may now speculate on certain things.

The rule of 3

You want the jury to hear important things

3 times!
But what objection does this sound like?

Closing statements

Typically written as the trial is progressing.

The attorney giving the closing will know what

his/her side will be proving and attempting to
prove so they can write some of it before the

The end

After the closing, the jury is sent out to

deliberate the verdict.

Lets Review


Get with a partner. The oldest will be

partner A, the youngest is partner B
Partner A puts their notes away and is
quizzed by B. Try and stump them as much
as possible!
After ___ minutes, switch. A tries to stump B.
The A and B who has the best record
(questions correct/questions asked) gets a
prize from me tomorrow.

Lets review

Groups of 3 (1 witness, 1 direct examiner, 1 cross examiner)

Pick a theme (Ex: The Hunger Games,
American Idol) and approve it with me.
Make a 1-2 minute skit including three of
the following objections:

Asked and answered

Being Argumentative

Have fun and be dramatic!