Evidence Law and Opening Statements Phase Essay

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James O’Connor
Period 1
Civil Trial Procedures During the section of a civil trial known as the opening statements phase, plaintiff and defendants parties will discuss in the courts a number of facts and matters related to the case at hand and attempt to give all parties present an idea of the disputes in contention. Throughout a civil trial, plaintiffs will seek to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that defendant parties somehow committed wrongdoing in the dispute being heard by the judge and jury. In attempting to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that a defendant or defendants committed wrongdoing, plaintiffs have two forms of evidence that are permissible in the courts, including direct and circumstantial evidence. Factual evidence is known as direct evidence, which is seemingly prima facie in itself. Circumstantial evidence, however, attempts to infer or insinuate facts to a judge and jury and may suggest the wrongdoings of defendant parties. As part of the presentation of evidence by plaintiffs, witnesses will be called to the stand for direct examination. During this phase, plaintiff attorneys will pose questions to witnesses surrounding the dispute in contests, as well as in some instances, solicit the opinions and conclusions of expert witnesses on a specific matter. During the cross examination of witnesses, defendant attorneys will seek to impeach, or otherwise discredit, the testimony of witnesses in a number of manners including questioning their moral turpitude, or history of being honest. Additionally, attorneys cross-examining witnesses may produce leading questions that will attempt to promote inconsistencies in a witness’ testimony during the direct examination phase. At the conclusion of the plaintiff’s presentation of evidence, the defense will attempt to motion for dismissal or a directed verdict of the suit by the judge for the inability of the plaintiff to produce a preponderance of the evidence proving their liability. Typically, a judge will deny this motion, and the defense must proceed in presenting their contentions and evidence. Additionally, defense attorneys in a civil case can present witnesses, directly examine them, and re-cross examine previous witnesses. Following the