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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78193 Find in a Library
Title: Opening Statement (From Trial Techniques - A Compendium of Course Materials, P 73-89, 1980 - See NCJ-78190)
Author(s): W Emmons; S M Fallis; S W Cooper
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: National College of District Attorneys
Houston, TX 77004
Sale Source: National College of District Attorneys
College of Law
University of Houston
Houston, TX 77004
United States of America
Type: Instructional Material
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: These three papers which explain to prosecutors the purposes and contents of the opening statement and techniques for delivering it.
Abstract: All the papers emphasize that the opening statement should never be waived since it affords the prosecutor an opportunity to be in command during the trial. The purposes of the statement are to continue the prosecutor's orchestration of the case, to acquaint the jury with basic trial procedures, to expose the weaknesses of the prosecutor's case rather than letting the defense do it, and to preview the facts of the case. The opening statement should be clear and concise, so that only an outline of the case is presented. While delivering the statement the prosecutor should exhibit a positive attitude and come across as sincere. Eye contact should be maintained with jurors during the presentation. Among pitfalls of the opening statement are overstatement of the case, which may destroy the prosecutor's credibility, concealing weaknesses in the case, and using technical language. Examples of opening statements are included in one of the papers.
Index Term(s): Course materials; Prosecutors; Reference materials; Trial preparation; Trial procedures
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