Bifurcated Proceedings

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In some criminal courts, courts may separate the trial into two separate parts which have separate factfinding missions. These are sometimes referred to as bifurcated proceedings. For instance, in the United States, death penalty cases are typically bifurcated proceedings. In the first proceeding, the factfinder determines whether the defendant is guilty of the crime while in the second proceeding, the factfinder determines whether to recommend capital punishment. Cases involving habitual offender statutes also sometimes have bifurcated proceedings in which the factfinder first determines guilt and later determines whether the defendant is a "habitual offender."

In some jurisdictions the defense of mental disease or defect will trigger bifurcated proceedings.


See Sentencing