'Desperate for Love': Cinematic Influences Upon a Defendant's Closing Argument to a Jury

29 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2010

Date Written: 1994

Abstract

I spent the summer of 1991 at a mob trial in Hartford, Connecticut. The stories in that trial presented a remarkably complex interweaving of plots, counterplots, and subplots. There was drama, speculation as to motive and meaning, alternative visualizations of the past: a carnival of theatricality and storytelling. The mob trial was a story of events and judgments in a “field of pain and death.” The consequences of convictions for murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and a plethora of other illegal activities were grave indeed. Nevertheless, the storytelling at the trial was surprisingly lighthearted. Several defendants spoke in tones of ironic detachment. This attitude was occasionally captured by the defendants’ attorneys in direct examinations, cross-examinations and, especially, in the closing arguments.

Keywords: Storytelling, Drama, Mob, Murder

Suggested Citation

Meyer, Philip N., 'Desperate for Love': Cinematic Influences Upon a Defendant's Closing Argument to a Jury (1994). Vermont Law Review, Vol. 18, No. 3, p. 721, 1994. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1657955

Philip N. Meyer (Contact Author)

Vermont Law School ( email )

68 North Windsor Street
P.O. Box 60
South Royalton, VT 05068
United States

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