Preparing for Criminal Jury Trials in Virginia: Best Practices and Strategic Considerations
Created on December 01, 2020
In Virginia, criminal juries do more than decide guilt or innocence. If a jury finds your client guilty, the jury will also set the sentence via a bifurcated trial. These bifurcated jury trials can lead to unexpected results – with potentially long sentences - and it is critical to prepare your case with potential sentencing in mind. With the goals of beating the offer and protecting the client, attorneys in Virginia must carefully balance the advantages of juries against the serious risks of jury sentencing.
In this program, former public defender and experienced trial attorney Rachel Robinson will guide you through what factors you and your client must weigh when deciding to take a plea or pursue a bench or jury trial. The course will cover best practices in communicating the risks and possible outcomes to your client, and how to create, prepare and execute a winning trial strategy. The program will also discuss practical tips for voir dire, pre-trial and trial motions, how to preserve your objections and recent legislative changes that affect how cases are tried in front of juries.
- Weigh the benefits and risks of a jury trial for your client
- Identify a realistic outcome (total acquittal; partial acquittal; or favorable sentence despite conviction), and evaluate whether it can be achieved with a jury
- Conduct Voir dire with your case theory and ask the non-negotiable questions
- Thoroughly prepare for both stages of a bifurcated jury trial
- Effectively utilize the Motion to Strike stage to preserve your arguments for appeal
- Review recent legislative changes and how they can help you in front of the jury
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