Criminal Trial Proceedings Serving the Quincy and Boston Areas
Talk to a Keegan Lawyer Before Your Trial Deliberations
In a criminal trial by jury, it all comes down to the verdict. Once all evidence and arguments have been heard and the jury has received its instructions, the jurors will retire to the jury room to begin deliberations. At this point, a head juror, foreperson or presiding juror may be elected to oversee deliberations. This person presides over discussions, oversees juror votes and often delivers the verdict in open court.
If jurors cannot come to a decision by the end of the day, they may be sequestered, which means they may be housed in a hotel and secluded from contact with other people and from news reports. In most cases, however, jurors are allowed to go home and return the next day to continue deliberations. They will go home with instructions to refrain from discussing the case with anyone and to avoid watching the news or reading news reports regarding the case.
A verdict is defined as a decision made by a jury in a trial; a judgment or opinion about something. In a criminal trial, a verdict must be unanimous. If a jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, this is referred to as a hung jury and the judge may declare a mistrial. The case may be tried again at a later date in front of a new jury. If the jury must decide upon more than one issue, such as multiple counts or multiple charges filed against a defendant, the jury may enter one verdict for each count or charge. The jury will return the verdict/s to the judge in open court and will file a verdict slip with the clerk.
Depending on the jury verdict, a defendant may then face sentencing. If a defendant is found not guilty, he or she will be free to go. If a defendant is found guilty, however, sentencing must take place. The approach to the determination of a defendant’s sentence will vary depending on the classification of the crime. With misdemeanors, the judge will often issue the defendant’s sentence immediately after the verdict. With felonies, the judge will typically order a sentencing hearing for a later date.
The sentence for a particular crime will vary broadly depending on the severity of the offense, the number of counts, the defendant’s criminal history (if any) and other factors, though the parameters of a sentence are often set forth under Massachusetts law. A sentence may include imprisonment in jail or prison, fines, probation, community service, restitution, counseling or rehabilitation.
Ask a Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you would like to learn more about criminal proceedings and the measures a Boston criminal defense attorney can take to protect your constitutional rights and freedom, please do not hesitate to call our firm. At Keegan Law, we understand just how much is at stake in criminal cases, from first time OUIs to violent crimes like assault or even murder. You need a professional to fight for you, inside and outside the courtroom. We are prepared to take on the most complex and serious cases. Contact our firm today to see how we can help you.