Case in chief: That part of a trial in which the party with the initial Burdon of proof presents his evidence after which he rests. Blacks Law Dictionary.
A directed verdict: This is generally reserved for a civil trial, a suit. In a criminal trial is generally used only where there is a Jury. The reason being is that if the Judge considers that the evidence is insufficient to warrant a plaintiffs victory the case should be dismissed before burdening a Jury with a decision. Or a Jury, not esoteric with the law may bring a wrong verdict which the facts of the case do not merit.
A Judge as a trier of fact considers himself or herself superior in determining evidence weight and as such no such request for directed verdict is generally used in a case where there is no Jury.
A directed verdict can only be asked for after the party with the Burdon of proof has presented it's case and rested. In general this is AFTER the defense has finished all cross examination.
HOWEVER THIS IS A SPEEDING TICKET TRIAL: The prosecution will present the evidence and then leave you with the witness. If you do not cross examine the witness the prosecution in effect has rested. If the witness failed to present the critical facts that you mention in your request The judge knows that it is improbable that that item will be forthcoming in cross examination. You would be a fool to try and bring it out in cross because you have already and your point and can only run the risk of the officer presenting the information if you ask for it.
Far to many defendants have had their case dismissed early by making this motion for directed verdict for me to not include it in the new revised Tipmra. For example: When the witness failed to state the speed limit in the zone where you were clocked you would be a fool to ask for it in cross examination. The Judge knows that or should and he or she has a chance to end the trial early because a critical element is missing by granting your your motion.
The Judge also knows that you are not a trained lawyer and probably don't know that the prosecution rests after you finished with your cross examination. He or she may enlighten you of the fact or just drop it.
Most of all this brings to the forefront some aspects of your case. You made no opening statement and neither did the prosecutor. By making these motions you are making in effect an opening statement that the prosecutor can't counter. You have gained an unfair advantage just by making these motions because the questions will be on the Judges mind when you examine the officer.
On occasion the Judge will tell you that to have the prosecution rest that you can't cross examine the officer. Don't get flustered! Just say "Your Honor, to expedite the directed verdict Defense waives cross examination of the officer and allows the prosecution to rest and calls Officer Whatever his Name to the Stand as Defendants Witness if the Directed verdict is not favorable to the Defense." JUST DON'T TELL THE JUDGE THAT YOU REST ALSO!
Remember for your defense you can call any witness you want. If the officer is there, which he obviously is he can't refuse to take the stand as your witness. You can ask to examine him as a hostile witness because he obviously is a hostile witness. Examining him as a hostile witness is the same as cross examining him.
The Bottom Line: You don't have to ask for a directed verdict if you don't feel comfortable doing so. You can't hurt your case either by asking the questions and then being shot down by the Judge. these questions have no direct bearing on the rest of your defense. However history shows that there are many times the Judge will end the trial right there ans as a first shot across the bow, this is a good one.
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