to form a case

tangmagno

New Member
Cantonese - China
"The attorneys for the defense and prosecution begin forming a case, witnesses are questioned, forensic scientists and criminologists help formulate theories."

Can anyone explain how exactly to put the phrase "forming a case" in Chinese? It is tempting to adopt the phrase "立案", but "立案" seems to be performed only by the court or other authorities, not attorneys.

Is forming a case another way of saying making arguments?
 
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  • Skatinginbc

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Is forming a case another way of saying making arguments?
    I think "forming/building a case" is about "putting together the evidence to make a case against someone". To me, "making arguments" puts more weight on verbal presentation of a theory, whereas "forming a case" on gathering of evidence. In court, attorneys are allowed to "build a case" but prohibited to make explicit arguments (except for the "closing argument", a time when attorneys are finally free to present their theories based on evidence).
     
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    Ben pan

    Senior Member
    chinese
    tangmagno. Your suspicion about rendering forming a case as 立案 is very reasonable. I have a different opinion from the fomerer posters. In my view, forming a case including evidences, direct or indirect, facts, but most important, a coherent narrative to link them up. Coherence and reasonableness is the essence of a case. If you want to form a case, you have to choose those evidences that can form a strong argument. So, the process of selecting evidences and facts is inseparable from the construction of a theory. The criminologists and forensic scientists are just helping the attormey to form a case, they are helpers, auxillaries. Therefore argument teased out by those experts are to de adopted and adapted by the attorney to form a solid case before he show up in the court.
     

    Skatinginbc

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Building a case = an attempt to build up supporting evidence and discredit opposing evidence during the cross-examination of evidence (e.g., eye witnesses, forensic evidence, expert testimonies, etc.)
    Making a case/argument = an attempt to persuade (by giving reasons) the jury or the judge of a particular verdict during the closing argument.
    Attorneys have access to all evidence prior to the trial and therefore come to the court with some theories in their minds. Likewise, eye witnesses, law officers, forensic scientists, and other experts have their own theories as well. But the thing is: During the cross-examination, none of them are allowed to "make a case" for a particular verdict (i.e., explain why a certain verdict should be made).
    "The attorneys for the defense and prosecution begin forming a case, witnesses are questioned, forensic scientists and criminologists help formulate theories."
    If this sentence is describing the pretrial process, "forming a case" cannot mean "making arguments" because at that point there is no audience (i.e., the jury or the judge). By the way, the attorneys are prohibited to formulate theories with the witnesses. That's called witness contamination and is against the law. There are certain regulations regarding what a prosecutor can ask and say during a pretrial witness interview.
    If this sentence is describing the process during the trial, "forensic scientists and criminologists help formulate theories" means "the testimonies given by forensic scientists and criminologists help the jury or the judge formulate theories in their minds."
     
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    Ben pan

    Senior Member
    chinese
    If this sentence is describing the process during the trial, "forensic scientists and criminologists help formulate theories" means "the testimonies given by forensic scientists and criminologists help the jury or the judge formulate theories in their minds."

    I think it is obvious that this is about the starting of the prosecution process. Theory is not yet proposed before the judge and the jury. The original excerpt means that when the attorney starts building up a case, the forensic scientists provide expert advices to him so that he can form a perfect and powerful case before showing it to the judge and the jury.
     
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