Key Terms: T - W

  • Trial - A criminal trial is a formal examination of evidence before a court of law or a jury to determine whether a defendant is guilty of the charges brought against him beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Verdict - The decision that the judge or jury makes at a trial after hearing all of the evidence presented in a case.
  • Victim Impact Statement - Victim impact statements are written or oral information from crime victims, in their own words, about how a crime has affected them. Its purpose is to allow crime victims, during the sentencing phase or in some cases at a parole hearing, to describe to the court or parole board the impact of the crime. A judge may use information from these statements to help determine an offender's sentence, and a parole board may use such information to help decide whether to grant parole and, if so, what conditions to impose in releasing an offender.
  • Voir Dire - Voir dire is the name given to jury selection process. In the Circuit Court, 12 jurors and 2 alternates are chosen. When prospective jurors are brought to the courtroom, the judge will explain certain principles of law and question the prospective jurors. The defense attorney and the ASA submit written questions that they want the Judge to ask the prospective jurors. The defendant must be present during this process. Once the prospective jurors have answered all of the questions, in the presence of the jurors, the attorneys will excuse jurors they believe should not sit on the case. This selection process is done using rules and law for jury selection. The defense attorney, with the help of the defendant, and the ASA select 12 jurors and at least 2 alternates from the pool of prospective jurors. The 12 members and alternates are then sworn in.
  • Warrant - A judicial writ authorizing an officer to execute a search, seizure, or arrest.