Site Tree: Common Pleas Court > Juror Information > Stages of a Trial
1. The judge instructs the jurors on their conduct during the trial, and may give some preliminary instructions to assist the jury in understanding the proceedings and receiving the evidence.

2. The lawyers for the parties make opening statements, outlining the evidence they expect to present. A party has the option of omitting the opening statement.

3. The plaintiff presents evidence to prove its case.

4. The defendant may present evidence to disprove the plaintiff's case and to prove the defendant's claims. In a criminal case, the defendant is not required to present any defense. The prosecution has the burden of proving the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

5. The plaintiff may call rebuttal witnesses to counter the defendant's evidence.

6. The lawyers present closing arguments.

7. The judge instructs the jury on the law applicable to the case.

8. The jury retires to deliberate.

9. The jury returns its verdict.

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