The George Floyd Trial: What Happens Next?
Right now, the State (prosecution) is presenting their case in chief. This means they call witnesses to testify and present evidence. When a side calls a witness, that side must “direct examine” the witness by asking open-ended questions. Once that side has no further questions, the other side gets to “cross-examine” the witness. During cross-examination, attorneys are allowed to ask “leading questions” such as, “you couldn’t see the police officers standing behind the squad car, could you?” Questions like this are asked in a way which try to lead the witness into answering with a yes or no answer. Right now, the Defense’s job is to cross-examine the State’s witnesses by asking predominately leading questions.
After the State calls all of their witnesses, the State will “rest.” This simply means that the State has completed their evidence and now allows the Defense gets to present their side. Once the State rests, the Defense will call any and all witnesses he wishes to. Based on the opening statements, many predict that the Defense will be calling in some expert witnesses.
Once the Defense is done presenting their side of the case, the Defense will “rest,” just like the State did. At this point, the State will give a closing statement to the jury summing up the case and the Defense will follow by doing the same. The rules of Criminal Procedure also allow the State a rebuttal.