What is a defense opening statement?
A common defense attorney strategy in opening statements is to start critiquing the state’s case, and letting the jury know that there are two sides to the story. Studies show that jurors often make up their mind about a case right after opening statements, so you need to start strong.
What should be included in an opening statement?
Opening Statement Checklist
- State your theme immediately in one sentence.
- Tell the story of the case without argument.
- Persuasively order your facts in a sequence that supports your theme.
- Decide whether to address the bad facts in the opening or not.
- Do not read your opening statement.
- Bring an outline, if necessary.
How do you write an opening statement for a defense in a civil case?
A strong defense opening statement will do the following:
- Tell a story.
- Plant the defense themes.
- Make concessions only with great caution.
- Make the defense case concisely.
- Humanize the defendant.
- Make no promises about the defendant testifying.
- Argue the defendant’s case.
- End on a high note.
What does an opening statement look like?
An effective opening statement is built around a theme that can be summed up in a simple word or phrase or in a single sentence. The theme developed should be straightforward, clear, and designed to catch and hold the jury’s attention. It should get directly to the heart of the dispute.
What is the first thing a judge says in court?
NOTE TO ALL PARTICIPANTS: Always address the judge by saying “Your Honor.” Opening of Trial: Bailiff: Please rise. The Court of the Second Judicial Circuit, Criminal Division, is now in session, the Honorable Judge _________________________ presiding.
Do lawyers really say objection?
When a lawyer says “objection” during court, he is telling the judge that he thinks his opponent violated a rule of procedure. The judge’s ruling determines what the jury is allowed to consider when deciding the verdict of a case.
What is improper in an opening statement?
Jurors are not supposed to form an opinion on the case until they have heard all of the evidence. Accordingly, as stated above, arguments are improper during opening statements, because arguments may not precede the introduction of evidence.
What should a defense attorney say in his opening statement?
Lawyers have a better chance later of persuading the jury if the jury likes their opening statements. For example, a defense attorney may focus on a self-defense based theme: “This case involves a traumatic experience where a young lady lost her life and a young man is struggling to keep his.”
What are opening statements in personal injury cases?
Below are opening statements we have given at trial in personal injury and wrongful death cases. These are actual trial transcripts from court trials, including a number multi-million dollar verdicts. We also have a draft opening statement in text below.
How long should an opening statement be in a trial?
An opening statement forecasts to the jury the evidence they will see and hear during the trial—it allows the jury to know what to expect and to be able to understand the evidence when it is presented. The opening statement should not contain argument; rather, it should be a factual statement that lasts from 10 to 30 minutes.
What makes an opening statement effective in a criminal case?
Themes and storytelling are what make opening statements engaging and effective. The story of the case tells the jury what happened chronologically either from the viewpoint of the plaintiff or defendant.