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The Order of Trial is Important to Remember - Part 4 - Trial Strategy

Posted by attorney Theodore Robinson

Next comes your Opening which you must give after the Prosecutor gives their Opening and tells the jury all about how your client did this horrendous crime and now its your turn to step up to the podium and have something to say. This is where many lawyers can begin to lose their case. They get up and say something innocuous and general like "keep your minds open" and "don't forget that my client is cloaked in the presumption of innocence until the jury concludes otherwise" and stuff like that that nobody understands or cares about much. Instead, sometimes the best thing to do is stand up and yell loudly "Whoaa, to listen to DA there is no question that my client did everything he/she said. If that is the case, then I might as well not say anything and sit down now. - But that's not why I'm here. I'm here to confront every witness and cross-examine them just as if each of you were doing the job yourselves. In fact, if you think I'm asking too many questions, remember I have to ask all the questions that everyone in the jury might have, so I may be a little longer than you might like because you're already satisfied, but they may not yet be satisfied. So that's my first job. My second job is to demonstrate to you that the prosecution's case makes no sense and is not enough to justify convicting my client. I expect to do exactly that by showing you how things don't make sense and don't fit together to erase all reasonable doubt from each of your minds. By introducing the concept of reasonable doubt at this stage, they are to get the idea that they must not have any doubt of your client's guilt if they are to convict him/her and that's a very high level of confidence. My third job is to assure them they will have absolutely no confidence in the prosecutor's case by the time the entire case is finished. My fourth and perhaps most important job on opening is to expose my defense without giving everything away to the DA who still has investigative police available to him/her to go out and try to disable your defense. You just want to give away enough to make them think and keep their minds open until they've heard both sides of the story. My fifth job is to point out that since I must go last, I have the job of questioning everything the DA presents to check whether it holds water or not. If not, then they should disregard it and not hold it against my client. My sixth job is to inform the jury that the prosecutor normally thinks they wear a big white hat like the Lone Ranger and the stand for goodness and justice. I then tell the jury that I wear an even whiter hat because its my job to hold the prosecution to its proof and make them prove everything they just said they would prove and if they don't prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, then their case should be denied and my client found not guilty. This also reinforces the fact that I had every member of the jury answer "Not Guilty" in answer to a question I asked during jury selection. This reinforces their own minds to hear and speak those two all-important words that mean you client walks.

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