The Court System

Sarah Reeves

The Basics

Answer these questions;

  • Are you being charged?
  • Who are you charging and why?

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The case...

If you are being charged, you are known as the defendant which means a complaint has been filed against you. If you are pressing charges, you are known as the plaintiff. You will be summoned to go before the judge for trial of your case. The trial begins with the pleadings, which is the formal statement of the cause of an action or defense. The judge, known as an arbitrator, and the jury will mediate (come to a decision) what the verdict will be. There is a pretrial conference between the lawyers and the judge to discuss which matters should should be presented to the jury, to review evidence and witnesses, to set a timetable, and to discuss the settlement of the case. If the defendant loses, there is the option to appeal, which means you can apply to a higher court for a reversal of the decision of a lower court. If there is evidence, it will be assessed by the judge and the preponderance of evidence ( value and relevance) will be evaluated.