By the time you get to the closing argument, the jurors have usually made up their minds about the case. They’ve heard all the evidence, they understand the tagline, and they’ve seen the cross examination. The closing argument is when you get a chance to review the evidence in front of the jury. Michael Stein, who teaches continuing education, has a very interesting approach that he tells jurors in his opening statement. He tells them that a trial is like taking a course in college. When you are selecting your jury, it’s like the admissions process. The opening statement is like the course syllabus, telling the jurors what they are going to be hearing. Then, we have guest speakers, who are the witnesses. Finally, we have closing arguments, which are like the final exam review. The final exam is the jury verdict form the jurors are going to be filling out.
The closing argument is reviewing the evidence and helping the jurors answer the questions that are going to be on the jury verdict form. You are recapping the evidence in a non-argumentative way, stating the facts, and pinning all the evidence to the point you have to prove in your case. I like to take the actual jury verdict form and go through each question, answering the questions for the jury based on the evidence that was presented at the trial.
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