Association of Trial Lawyers of America Closing Argument Outline for by iamdmx


									Association of Trial Lawyers of America
                    Closing Argument Outline for MCV 2008
          *This may be used as a guide for preparation of closing arguments.*

I.     Introduction/Theory of the case
              i. The theory of the case is the theme of your presentation and should be used to
                 tie in your argument to a central point. For instance, a defense attorney could
                 use the theory that “it is easy to point the finger” in a murder case to raise
                 reasonable doubt. Your theory should illustrate your point in a way that an
                 average person/juror can understand.
             ii. Explain why the jury should rule in your favor. The jury should find in your
                 favor because of the argument you present – “the evidence shows that the
                 defendant is guilty” or “the defendant couldn’t have killed the victim because
                 the witnessed have testified to his alibi.”

II.    Present the Issues
       a. State the issue in the case in a way that the answer should be obvious. Then answer the
          issue anyway.
              i. Example: “There is only one issue before you today – Was the defendant
                  present at the scene at the time of the crime or do we have a case of mistaken
                  identity? He was with his mother. Therefore, he couldn’t have been the killer.”

III.   Present the facts of the case, tell the jury what really happened, and explain the proof
       as to why your side of the story is the accurate one.
       a. It is up to the attorney to argue the facts and use the evidence admitted in trial to mold
           the jury’s perception of events.
                i. Use testimony admitted into evidence by the attorneys to argue and prove your
                   side of the story.
       b. Be sure to make arguments supporting your side and refuting the other side’s points. Be
           sure not to violate the golden rule or make extremely prejudicial statements.

IV.    Present basis of guilt or innocence
       a. Immediately following your argument on what happened and why the facts compel the
          conclusion that it happened the way you claim, sum up the reasons why the defendant is
          guilty or not guilty based upon the law.
       b. In most criminal cases, the state has the burden of proving guild beyond a reasonable

V.     Jury Instructions
       a. Incorporate the Jury Instructions of the case being tried into your argument.
              i. At the end of a trial, jurors are provided with a set of instructions describing the
                 burden of proof in the case and other factors to be used in deciding a verdict.

                                       GOOD LUCK!

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