Motion to strike: This request asks the judge to exclude a portion or even all of the complaint by the prosecution or the answer by the defense. It is basically used to have a complete cause of action stricken from the court record. When this motion is made orally during trial, although a favorable ruling by the judge may be realized, the testimony or object involved has already been seen or heard by the jury. In this case, the judge will admonish the jury to ignore such evidence, but even though those instructions are asserted, the inference has already been placed in the mind of the jury and may or may not weigh in the foundation of their deliberations and concluding verdict.
Motion for a directed verdict: This motion states that there is no need for the defense to present evidence or testimony after the plaintiff has rested its case prior to the defense continuing. It is a statement that suggests that the prosecution has not proven the case and there is no need to continue. If granted, the court would dismiss the case.
Motions frequently presented by the defense:
Motion for discovery: This is a formal request asking the prosecutorial body to turn over all evidence they have on hand including any expert witnesses, their occupational phone numbers and addresses as well as all copies of written reports, field and bench notes made by the assumed experts, opinions formed, summaries of their anticipated testimony, any factual data, records and statistics or fundamental information upon which the experts' opinion were, or are presumed to be based on, as well as a complete listing of their qualifications.
Motion for speedy trial: This can be used to accelerate the trial process, preventing prosecutorial bodies from refusing to release a defendant from custody, but at the same time, not brining the individual to trial for the charges lodged against them within a reasonable interval of time. Counsel for a defendant who has been hindered from the initiation of the commencement of trial within this reasonable timeframe may act as the movant, asking the court for an Order which would dismiss the entire Complaint on the grounds that their client's right to a speedy trial has been violated.
Motion to disclose identity of an informant: This allows the defense to attack the reliability and credibility of an informant's testimony and motives if the Motion is granted by the court.
Motion to examine police personnel file: If granted, this motion would allow scrutiny of a law enforcement officer if their history and/or past conduct, relevant to the defendant's pending charges can be brought into question due to a possible personal vendetta or previous confrontations, as well as the history of their testimony based on similar cases.
Motion to suppress evidence: One of the most important Motions that can be requested by the defense. If this Motion is granted, it can alter the overall outcome of a trial. If a judge agrees to this Motion, the defense can have certain parts of evidence excluded from ever appearing during trial. Some reasons that a request such as this could be granted are the evidence was obtained illegally or tainted in some manner as well as testimony being coerced. To read further details on this issue click here to read the final paragraph on the Evidence Presentation page of this Website.
There are many other Motions available to the defense such as Motion to reduce charges, Motion to modify bail, Motion for change of venue, etc. which are basically self-explanatory by their wording. However, the list goes on interminably for other Motions used by the defense that would require extensive explanation.
The prosecution also has a variety of Motions to entertain. Motion for Nolle Prosequi is basically a best case scenario for the defense but yet a Motion presented by the prosecution. It is a proclamation made to the judge by a prosecutorial body either before or during the course of a trial, signifying the charges against the defendant are being thrown out. A declaration of this sort is basically an admission that the charges against the defendant can't be proved or the evidence accumulated has either demonstrated blamelessness or a fatal flaw in the prosecution's claim that has thus far been established. It can also be presented if the accused's innocence has become apparent to the prosecution. Nolle Prosequi, translated from Latin plainly means unwilling to pursue.
However, the prosecution has a diversity of motions accessible to them prior to, and throughout the trial process that are not so sympathetic to the defendant.
Generally, the large part of motions filed by the prosecution involves issues of evidentiary material. A prosecution's pretrial Motion to exclude could consist of a prohibition of a witness who would be beneficial to the defense based on many variables such as age, physical condition eyesight quality and other characteristics which would nullify them and make them not legally competent to testify. Additionally, many of the defense Motions listed above could be used in a contrary technique to hinder the defense as well. A prosecutor may file a motion to compel to induce the defense into revealing material evidence to them. Prosecutorial motions mostly depend upon the exclusive particulars of each individual case and there are no set amounts of motions a prosecutor is under obligation to file. In many cases the need to file any motions can be limited, if both parties agree to stipulate issues of conflict without intervention by the court.
To read additional content on this subject, click here where further explanation and examples are discussed on a separate page of this Website.