Closing Arguments Saving the Best for Last Purpose of Closing Arguments This is your one chance to be an advocate. 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 events 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 argument. 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 behavior – 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 case. 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 later. 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 prove 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 EVALUATE THE CLOSING ARGUMENT: What was the theme? What was the theory? What worked? What didn’t work? What needed to be added?