What Your Opening Statement Should and Shouldn't Do: Some Surprising Advice
Steven H. Goldberg
Pace University - School of Law
Criminal Justice, Vol. 2, No. 11, 1987
Prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys would do well to consider how civil trial lawyers fashion their opening statements. As with any other part of the trial, the primary question to be answered in constructing an opening statement is: What do I want to accomplish? In civil cases the answer is almost always that each lawyer wants to persuade the jurors that the lawyer's version ot the dispute is more likely to be correct than the opponent's. Opening statements in criminal trials, however, do not usually sound as if they were constructed with that goal in mind. Most fall into two categories: (1) long and detailed recitations of the evldene and the witnesses who will produce it, and (2) perfunctory appearances to comply with the trial list of "things to do" that includes "give opening statement."
Number of Pages in PDF File: 6Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: December 22, 2008 ; Last revised: December 27, 2008
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