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Describe and discuss the principle of reasonable doubt and the presumption of innocence as they are applied to criminal trials.

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2. A) Look at the dialogue at the trial. Who do the replies A belong to? B) Fill in the gaps describing the rights of the defendant (key words are below). C) Reproduce the dialogue on behalf of the a) judge; b) defendant; c) defence lawyer; d) prosecutor.

Judge:Mr. Rogers, you have just heard your attorney say you wish to plead guilty to burglary. Is that how you wish to plead?

A:Yes sir.

Judge: How old are you?

A: 26.

Judge: Have you ever been treated for mental problems?

A: No sir.

Judge: Are you now under the influence of any alcohol, drugs, or medication of any kind?

A: No.

Judge: You do not have to plead guilty. You have the right to plead not guilty and have the following rights at trial: the rights to a …, to see and hear…testify and have your lawyer question them for you, to call witnesses and present…you want the jury to consider; the right to … yourself or not to testify; the right to require the…to prove your guilt by the evidence before you can be found guilty. Do you understand these rights?

A: Yes sir.

Judge: Do you understand that if I accept your plea, you give up each of these rights, that there will be no trial and all I have to do is sentence you, and that you give up your right to an appeal?

A: Yes sir.

Judge: Mr. Schuffstal, have any agreements been made between the state and the defendant relative to any plea or any sentence?

Counsel: Yes, Your Honour. My client has agreed to plead guilty to a single charge of burglary in exchange for the prosecution’s promise to drop additional charges.

Judge: Mrs. Prosecutor, is this correct?

Prosecutor: Yes, Your Honour.

Judge: Mr. Rogers, has anyone, including your lawyer, or the prosecuting attorney, or anyone else forced or pressured you into entering this plea?

A: No sir.

Judge: Are you pleading guilty because you are guilty?

A: Yes sir.


Key words: jury, prosecutor, evidence, testify, witnesses.

3. Read the extract from “If Tomorrow Comes” by Sydney Sheldon and do exercises.

He came to visit Tracy the following morning. She saw the smile on his face, she knew there was good news.

‘We got lucky’, he exclaimed. ‘I’ve just left Judge Lawrence and Topper, the district attorney. Topper screamed like a dog, but we’ve got a deal’.

‘A deal?’

‘I told Judge Lawrence your whole story. He’s agreed to accept a guilty plea from you.’

Tracy stared at him in shock. ‘A guilty plea? But I’m not-‘

He raised a hand. ‘Hear me out. By pleading guilty, you save the state the expense of a trial. I’ve persuaded the judge that you didn’t steal the painting. He knows Joe Romano, and he believes me’.

‘But…if I plead guilty,’ Tracy asked slowly, ‘what will they do to me?’

‘Judge Lawrence will sentence you to three months in prison with-‘


‘Wait a minute. He’ll suspend the sentence, and you can do your probation out of state’.

‘But then I’ll-I’ll have a record,’

Perry Pope sighed. ‘If they put you on trial for armed robbery and attempted murder during the commission of a felony, you could be sentenced to ten years.’

Ten years in Jail!

Perry Pope was patiently watching her. ‘It’s your decision,’ he said. ‘I can only give you my best advice. It’s a miracle that I got away with this. They want an answer now. You don’t have to take a deal. You can get another lawyer and-‘

‘No.’ She knew that this man was honest. Under the circumstances, considering her insane behaviour, he had done everything possible for her. If only she could talk to Charles. But they needed an answer now. She was probably lucky to get off with a three-month suspended sentence.

‘I’ll – I’ll take the deal,’ Tracy said. She had to force the words out.

He nodded. ‘Smart girl.’


1. Answer the questions:

10. What kind of deal did Perry Pope talk about?

11. What was going to happen to Tracy if she accepted a proposed idea?

12. Did Tracy have any time to think it over?

13. Do you think she was innocent?

14. What was the charge going to be?


2. Describe the situation in which these words were used:

1) to plead guilty; 2) to sentence to 10 years; 3) in shock; 4) miracle; 5) three months in prison; 6) smile; 7) I’m not…; 8) smart girl; 9) another lawyer.


3. Explain in other words:

1) to suspend a sentence; 2) insane behaviour; 3) commission of felony; 4) attempted murder; 5) to take a deal.


4. Predict the end of the story.

4. A crime was reported last night. Look at the list of the objects, then in pairs decide how these objects are related to the incident reported: knife, glass of whiskey, gloves, cigarette. What do you think happened?

You can start with: “It was reported that Mr. Stivenson had been murdered in his apartment last night...”.

5. Read the dialogue. Who are the three speakers? What is meant by “Are all parties in agreement?”

- The court has been informed that the defendant wishes to change her plea from not guilty to guilty. Is that correct?

- Yes, Your Honour.

- Are all parties in agreement?

- Yes, Your Honour.

- The state agrees, Your Honour.


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