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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27492
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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My son-in-law stole over $10,000 of our belongings while

Customer Question

My son-in-law stole over $10,000 of our belongings while living with us. He's now charged with grand larceny. He is in the process of getting a medical discharge from the army. The police found most of our belongings at a pawn shop. The owner had a copy of my son-in-laws military identification. The trial starts on January 5, 2016. Is it possible the judge will make a decision on the same day the trial starts?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.


Will the trial be a judge or a jury trial?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It's in district court so I guess a judge.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.

I'm not sure you understood my question. Grand larceny is a felony, which means he has a Constitutional right to a trial by jury. Of course, there would be a judge presiding, but it's the jury who would determine guilt or innocence. Sometimes a felony defendant will agree to waive a jury and have the case tried directly to the judge. So I was actually asking if he was going to have a jury trial.

If so, it is very unlikely that the trial will end on the same day the trial starts. It could take a whole day to empanel and choose prospective jurors. And then there would be opening statements, all the state's witnesses would have to testify and be cross examined, and then the defense may or may not put on witnesses too. Then there are closing arguments, followed by the judge's charge to the jury before they deliberate. How long the jury would take to reach a verdict is nothing one can guess at. Figure a jury trial for something like this, start to finish could run 4 or 5 days.

With a trial directly to the judge, a lot of the formality gets dispensed with because the judge is already familiar with the evidence. It is possible that the trial could be held and the verdict rendered in one day, depending upon how many witnesses have to be heard from, but it might take another day or two all the same because judges don't clear their entire calendar for a bench trial. They tend to see other cases during the day as well, unlike with a jury trial.

A final possibility is that there will be no trial at all, and on the day of trial your son in law will agree to a plea bargain. That's fairly common, particularly when the defendant knows he has a weak case but has been hoping all along that the complainant won't really press charges.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I really don't know much about the situation. I received a subpoena as did my step daughter. She is not speaking to my husband and I. My husband has not received one but when I called the states attorney's office they said one was issued for him. I left a message for the states attorney but have been out of town this week and haven't picked up my messages.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.

You would be expected to comply with the subpoena. You may or may not actually have to testify depending, as I said, upon whether your son-in-law is going to take a deal after all right before the jury is selected -- a fairly common occurrence -- or he really wants to go to trial. You can reach the states attorney on Monday.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have another question that's not related to my previous one. It's about the deed to our house. Would you be able to answer that one as well?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.

No. I am a criminal lawyer. I have never practiced any real estate law.

You'd need to post that as separate question where someone who practices in that legal area can assist you.