Most criminal trials in Louisiana involve a process called “discovery.” This process allows the court to learn more about the case and gather important context. Typically, this involves witnesses, specialists and character witnesses testifying in court.
What could the court learn during the discovery process?
To prepare their criminal defense, a criminal law attorney might call witnesses to the stand. The prosecution might also call witnesses if they think it’ll help their case. The most common type of witness is someone who saw the crime take place. This testimony could help the defense or prosecution depending on what they saw.
During the discovery process, the prosecution or defense might also call on an expert witness. This is someone who didn’t see the crime take place but is an expert in their field. They might be able to shed more light on whether the crime could have possibly taken place or not.
Finally, the defense might ask character witnesses to testify on the defendant’s behalf. These people didn’t witness the crime, but they know the defendant personally and could vouch for their character. On the other hand, the prosecution might call character witnesses who could talk about how the crime affected the victim.
During the discovery process, the prosecution must also give the defense information about the case that they’re preparing. This helps the defense prepare for the trial so they won’t have to deal with surprises in court. If the prosecution finds evidence that might damage their case, they have to give this information to the defense as well.
Can you call witnesses during your trial?
Your attorney could tell you if you need to call any witnesses for your trial. If so, they might talk to your witnesses beforehand to see what they plan in court. This could prevent your witnesses from saying something unexpected.