The fourth and final part of Attorney Derek Reams, video series on some of the finer parts of the civil trial process here in the state of Florida has been posted on iTunes. The following are some excerpts.
Once the examination phase of the trial is completed and both sides have presented their evidence and their respective witnesses, the closing arguments are given. The plaintiff, who again is the party that has actually filed the lawsuit, goes first. During the plaintiff’s closing argument this is their opportunity to argue when he or she believes the evidence has shown during the trial of the case. This is also where they attorney will ask the jury to compensate our client for that monetary damages being sought. The defense attorney’s closing argument, just like the plaintiff’s, is to argue what he or she believes the evidence has shown during the trial of the case.
Once the defense attorney’s closing argument has been given, the plaintiff’s attorney actually has a second closing argument which is what’s called a rebuttal. The rebuttal argument is the chance for the plaintiff’s attorney to refute each point the defense attorney has made in his or her closing argument.
Once the closing arguments are finished, the judge will instruct the jury, if he or she has not already done so on what the law that applies to that particular case include and what the jury’s job is going to be during the deliberation. At this point, the jury’s asked to leave the courtroom, to retire to a special room and begin their deliberations. In this private room the jury is permitted to discuss the details of the case, the evidence that’s been presented, and the witnesses that they’ve heard from. Here in Florida, all six jurors must agree and reach their verdict. Even if one juror disagrees with the other five they must either continue discussing the details of the case or ask to talk to the judge. The judge may instruct the jury to continue deliberations or if the judge declares a mistrial then a new trial will be scheduled at a future date. This means the whole trial process will begin again.
You never know what a jury is going to do in any given case which is why it’s so important for our clients and us as the attorney to be fully prepared in any trial.
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