My Cousin Vinny AMERICAN COURT SYSTEMS

My Cousin Vinny AMERICAN COURT SYSTEMS

Assignment 6: My Cousin Vinny: Trial Techniques and Procedures

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ASSIGNMENT:

1) Bill slips a can of tuna in his pocket and forgets to pay. Is this shoplifting? Please explain how mens rea, actus reus, and corpus delecti are involved in this assessment.

2) Stanley and Bill were interrogated at the police station. Both conceded they were advised of their rights. Name one possible 5th amendment issue with the interrogations.

3) Vinny is seen studying a book about Alabama Laws. His research will have to include both procedural and substantive law. Why does he have to study both types of law? What is the difference between procedural and substantive law?

4) Vinny visits Bill and Stanley in jail. What is this meeting called? Why is it important?

5) Lisa tells Vinny she doesn’t think he is cut out for this lawyering stuff. Do defense attorneys have to meet a certain level of competence?

6) Explain the following legal principles:

a. Competence

b. Due diligence

c. Communication

d. Confidentiality

7) Pretrial Steps

a. What crime are Bill and Stanley accused of?

b. What probable cause justified the arrests?

c. Explain “Initial Appearance”

d. Explain “Preliminary Hearing”

e. Explain “Grand Jury”

f. Explain “Arraignment”

8) What happened during the Arraignment of Bill and Stanley? What does Vinny plead for his clients? (Did you catch that the arraignment and the preliminary hearing were out of order, at least out of the order we discussed in class?)

9) Why is the case introduced as “The People of the State of Alabama” vs Bill and Stanley? Why is the victim not a party in the case?

10) Explain the discovery process.

a. What is discovery?

b. Why is it necessary?

11) Describe the part of the movie when Vinny claims he wants discovery (disclosure), but doesn’t know the process for it. How does he find about the discovery process?

12) The Prosecution askes the jury members “Can you participate in an endeavor in which the ultimate disposition might be execution?” What is this process called?

13) Explain the jury selection process.

14) Does trial proceed with a jury trial or a bench trial? Explain the difference.

15) What are the key points offered in the prosecution’s opening statement?

16) What are the key points offered in Vinny’s opening statement?

17) The Prosecution presents its case first and gets to present its witnesses first. When the Prosecution calls its witnesses they call them for Direct Examination.

a. What are the characteristics of Direct Examination?

18) Once the Prosecution calls a witness and goes through Direct Examination then Vinny, the Defense, gets to Cross-Examine the witness

a. What are the characteristics of Cross-Examination?

19) Summarize the following testimonies. What happened on the stand?

  Direct Examination Testimony Cross-Examination Testimony
Old Lady    
Fat Man    
“Redneck” Dude    
Deputy Sheriff    

20) What is impeachment?

21) Which of the prosecution’s witnesses were impeached? Explain.

22) What is an expert witness?

a. How are expert witnesses different from “regular” witnesses?

b. What do you have to demonstrate to present someone as an “expert”?

23) How does Lisa get introduced as an expert witness? What are Lisa’s qualifications for testifying?

24) What are the key points offered during Vinny’s last witness exchange (essentially, his closing statement)?

25) Were any jury instructions offered to the jury?

26) What was the ultimate verdict of the case in My Cousin Vinny?

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