Closing Arguments (PowerPoint download)

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					Closing Arguments
  Saving the Best for Last
    Purpose of Closing Arguments
   This is your one chance to be an

   This is the conclusion to the trial – your
    chance to pull together your theory,
    theme, and the facts

   Use it to evoke a single conception of
     Limits on Closing Arguments
   You may only argue based on evidence
    that you have actually admitted

   If you didn’t get the evidence in, you can’t
    argue what it shows in your closing

   Use your closing as a checklist of the
    evidence you have to get in during trial.
      Closing Argument MUSTS
   Use your theory and theme: Remind the
    jury what your side thinks happened

   Argue for the verdict: Use the evidence
    you’ve presented and connect it to the
    verdict you want

   Avoid impermissible arguments: Only
    make arguments based on the evidence
    you’ve introduced.
    Using your theory and theme
   Tell the jury why your client is entitled to the
    verdict that you want

   It’s your last chance to tell your side’s version of
    the story.

   Theme should be logical and believable
    – EX: Jealously kills
    – EX: a rush to judgment is not enough to convict
    – EX: no weapon, no crime
          Argue, Argue, Argue
   You couldn’t argue in opening, so this is
    your one chance to shine.

   Make inferences and conclusions from
    your evidence

   Cluster evidence by topic to prove your
    side of the case

   Apply the LAW to your FACTS
                Keep Arguing
   Use analogies, allusions, and stories
    – Analogies: Compare to everyday human
    – Allusions: Literary or movie reference that
      adds force to your argument
    – Stories and Anecdotes: It is ok to use
      hypotheticals and personal stories.
      Hypotheticals must be based on evidence
          Even More Argument
   Emphasize undisputed facts

   Refute the opposition’s testimony

   Tie up your cross examination – what did all of
    those “yes” and “no” answers show

   Argue witness’s credibility and motive

   Argue weight that should be given to evidence

   Confront and explain the weaknesses in your
         Planning your Closing
   Best to develop instead of a fully-written
    piece, so that you are free to speak

   Tell a persuasive story
    – Known facts (established during trial)
    – Reasons explaining why things happened
    – Which witnesses should be believed
    – Details related to important, disputed facts
    – Details about how to interpret evidence
    – Details about motivation
              More Planning
   Start strong and end REALLY strong

   Argue your theory of the case first. Don’t
    discuss weaknesses in your case until

   Embrace or displace the burden of proff
    Planning Prosecution Closing
   Must deal with the elements of the crime
    and argue that you have proved them
    beyond a reasonable doubt
       Planning Defense Closing
   Select those elements of the crime or
    story you feel the prosecution has failed to

   Respond to plaintiff’s case – leave room
    for yourself to adjust closing based on
    what prosecution does
          Organization Options
   Topical Organization
    – Issues (motive, opportunity)
    – Elements of the crime

   Chronological

   Witness by Witness
What was the theme?

What was the theory?

What worked?

What didn’t work?

What needed to be added?