Newsletters

Types of Pleas and Withdrawal of a Guilty Plea

When an accused has been charged with an offense, he has a choice of whether to enter a not guilty, a no contest, or a guilty plea. A not guilty plea is a plea in which the accused does not accept responsibility for the charged offense. After the accused has entered a not guilty plea, the matter is set for trial. Pre-trial procedures and trial preparations then begin.

Wiretaps and Electronic Surveillance Devices

Under the United States Code wiretaps are permitted after a proper application has been made for their usage. A wiretap is defined as a form of electronic surveillance whereupon law enforcement officers listen to phone conversations or other communications of certain individuals. States have enacted their own statutes that cover the procedures and issuance of permits to conduct a wiretap.

A DEFENDANT'S RIGHT TO A JURY TRIAL

A defendant in a criminal prosecution is guaranteed the right to a jury trial under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution unless the prosecution is for a petty offense. A petty offense is defined as an offense that carries a penalty of no more than six months in jail. The right to a jury trial applies to federal and state offenses. In addition, most states have enacted constitutional provisions and statutes that guarantee a defendant the right to a jury trial.

A DEFENDANT'S RIGHT TO A PUBLIC TRIAL

A defendant is guaranteed the right to a public trial under the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The right to a public trial is also an element of the defendant's due process rights, which rights are guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. In addition, states have enacted provisions in their constitutions that guarantee a defendant's right to a public trial. The public also has a right to attend criminal trials under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

JURY INSTRUCTIONS ON APPLICATION OF THE LAW TO THE FACTS

A jury's role in a criminal case is to determine the guilt or innocence of a defendant. In accordance with this role, the jury must also judge the facts of the case. In order to make its factual determination, the jury is instructed on the law by a trial court. The trial court sets forth the law in written instructions that are delivered to the jury before the prosecution and the defense make their closing arguments. The jury is not permitted to receive the law from any source other than the trial court.


LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbel

Attorney Advertising. This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. [ Site Map ] [ Bookmark Us ]