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Office of the District Attorney, Tony Rackauckas, Orange County DA
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Trial

  • Depending on the nature of the case, there may be pre-trial hearings on legal and/or Constitutional issues (confessions, searches, identification, etc.).  The issues are presented to the court through written “motions” (e.g., Motion to Suppress Evidence, etc.).  The judge must determine whether evidence will be admitted or suppressed at the defendant’s trial, whether there is some legal reason why the defendant should not be tried, or decide other ground rules for the trial.
  • The defendant is entitled to a felony jury trial within 60 days of filing the information or an indictment or a reasonable time thereafter if the defendant waives that right.  The defendant is entitled to a misdemeanor jury trial within 30 days of the arraignment (if in custody) or 45 days of the arraignment (if out of custody), or a reasonable time thereafter if the defendant waives his rights.
  • Adult defendants who commit misdemeanors or felonies are entitled to a jury trial.  Minors whose cases are handled in juvenile court are not entitled to a jury trial and will be tried by a judge.
  • At trial, the deputy district attorney’s job is to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt with admissible evidence.  The defendant is not required to prove his or her innocence or to present any evidence, but may challenge the accuracy of the prosecution’s evidence.  The deputy district attorney will give an opening statement, question the victim and/or witnesses, and deliver a closing argument.  The victim has the right to have support persons present in the courtroom during the trial and other hearings.  The defendant’s attorney may also give an opening statement, question witnesses, and deliver a closing argument.  The defendant may, but is not required to, testify.  Based on the evidence presented, the jury will then determine whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty.

 

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