**Quote: “I’m writing a book and there is going to be a scene involving a trial for manslaughter. Now I know very little about court systems.”
Quote: “How is a jury chosen to attend a trial? When the jury says that the defendant is guilty, can they decide a punishment between themselves? Can a judge, even when it is not a bench trial (a trial without any jury) decide if the defendant is guilty or not? Can a judge decide the punishment to be imposed on the defendant? What is a mistrial? When can it be made? How is a court divided?”**
Hi! It’s wonderful that you are inspired to be so creative. It must be fantastic to have such a talent, and I am glad you seem to derive so much pleasure and enjoyment from the act of being creative. I’m sure that creativity must be a gift from God Himself. If so, be humble, as it is God’s gift, be prayerful and seek guidance how you use it.
Writing books is a precarious business, only a few really are successful commercially, and the number of Celebrated Authors incredibly small in relation to the number of books released to the market. If you are interested in The American Legal System it may be that the books of John Grisham may be of interest to you. Grisham was a Lawyer and his books set in the Southern States are extremely successful worldwide and have even been made into Films. Tom Cruise was in one.
jgrisham.com/books/ As you can see they are all involve The American Legal System. I do not endorse their content or otherwise. Reading a couple, may help you, I trust they will be of benefit to you.
Which brings me to the point of my responding to your post. If you intend writing a book, intend it to be a good book, enjoyably readable and successful in commercial terms, my recommendation to you would be to write on a subject that you are completely and utterly cognisant with. Otherwise readers, whose experience of life may be broader than yours, will remain thoroughly unconvinced by portrayals of circumstances far beyond your actual acquaintance. And thus, unable to employ the suspension of disbelief necessary, to deliver a powerfully dramatic plot, with the absorbing verve and aplomb, that is the reserve of great writers, that will grip and inspire the imagination of the reader.
Every person has a good book inside themselves somewhere. But few have the talent to express that in writing, though sometimes their story, can be teased out, by an extremely talented interviewer. With respect, the classic recommendation to people in your position, is to first write about a subject matter that you really know about, and set that story in circumstances and surroundings, you are extremely familiar with. The edge of authenticity and aestheticism that this will give your work in convincing realism, can work symbiotically with the plot, to the mutual benefit of Author and reader alike.
There’s lot’s that I could write about this, having links in my past to a number of tremendously successful Authors. Most of whose work has been made into Blockbuster Films or developed into successful T.V. Series. Do not be in any way discouraged by the comments above, that would be to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. But when you wrote “I know very little about court systems” it raises fundamental questions regarding the advisability of beginning to write, ones first work concerning such a highly specialised, incredibly detailed field. Translating a convincing dialogue alone, will be an impossible task, to a non native of America. It’s not as if they speak English!
**I truly believe, this is the very best advice or guidance that anyone could ever give you.
Write about what you know!**