Man in courtroom

This is the next post in my series on the handling of Peoria, Illinois embezzlement cases. My last article discussed the differences between state and federal embezzlement charges. It is important for a defendant to understand that, if they have been charged by the US government, that they should retain a criminal defense attorney who is both licensed and qualified to handle such matters. In this article I will discuss what an accused should expect from the trial process. If you or a loved one are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

The trial process will begin with the selection of the jury. The jurors will be selected out of a pool of candidates from our local community. These candidates will be asked a number of questions (a process known as voir dire), by the attorneys for each side. The Judge may also ask questions. If a potential juror’s answers make it clear that they cannot be impartial, then the Judge will remove them from the pool of candidates for “cause.” The attorneys for each side will also be given a certain number of challenges with which they may remove potential jurors from the pool. It is important to understand, however, that challenges may not be used to remove a candidate if the motivation for that removal is something that would violate the United State Constitution. Examples of unconstitutional challenges would be those motivated by ethnicity, gender, religion, or some other protected characteristic. If it is shown that a juror was wrongfully removed from the pool, and the defendant is convicted, then the accused may raise the issue on appeal.

After the jury has been selected then each side will make an opening statement. This is not a time for argument. Instead, opening statements are a time when each side will tell the jury the evidence which they may expect to hear. The prosecution will then present their witnesses and evidence. The defense will follow by presenting their case. The prosecution will then present “rebuttal” evidence and witnesses. The prosecution may not use rebuttal to raise new arguments. They may only use this portion of the case to present facts which directly respond to claims made by the defense. After all evidence has been presented, each side will make closing arguments. The jury will be given their final instructions and will deliberate. Once a verdict is reached then they will present their finding to the Court. In the event that the defendant is convicted, a later date will be set for sentencing.

One point I cannot stress enough is that trial is a complicated process and that the rules of evidence will be strictly enforced. Retaining an attorney who is not experienced in these procedures can potentially result in the jury not considering all of the facts. It is, therefore, vital that you retain counsel who is experienced in taking cases to trial. I am a former prosecutor who believes that everyone is entitled to aggressive representation. My firm is founded on the belief that everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt as well as the highest levels of respect. Contact us today to speak with a Peoria embezzlement lawyer.

We also service the cities of Bloomington, Decatur, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington. We also serve the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford. Additional areas where we handle federal cases include Benton, Chicago, East St. Louis, Springfield, and Urbana.