The Role of Closing Arguments in Oklahoma Jury Trials
This is Oklahoma lawyer Stuart Ericson. We’re talking about jury trials. We’re kind of to the end, so when all the evidence is in, the state has rested, the defense has rested, the jury instructions have been produced, then comes time for closing arguments.
Now the state of Oklahoma has the burden of proof, they have the burden of proving you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and because they have that burden they go first in closing arguments.
So at the time the closing arguments are given, all the evidence is in and you have the jury instructions. So many, you know, many prosecutors will kind of go over the facts, give their theory of what happened and how the guilt is, and then they’ll start talking about the jury instructions and, hey, you know, we want you to find these facts, we think that they’re proven, plug them into the law and find guilt.
The Role of Defense Attorney in Closing Arguments
Now as a defense attorney, I might do the same thing. I’m gonna poke all the holes in the state’s case and say, you know, they have a circumstantial case, let’s say, and they’ve not connected all the dots, they’re just wanting you to take that leap to find guilt, but I’d go back to the jury instructions and say, you know, they have to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. And so that’s basically how that works.
So the state goes first, gives their theory of the case, they may use jury instructions, the defense goes next and gives their theory of the case and makes all the arguments. And then what I try to do is I try to predict, I’ll definitely try to predict what the prosecutors are gonna say, what their arguments are, and I’ll pick it apart.
Predicting Arguments and Rebutting in Closing Arguments
I mean, I know what they’re gonna say, I’ve been doing this a long time, I know what they’re gonna say, so I will basically be telling the jury, hey, this is what the state’s gonna say and this is the real answer to it, this is the response to it, and then I sit and I’m done, unfortunately.
That’s my last role as a defense attorney and then I’ve got to hear the prosecutor speak one more time and that’s it, I can’t rebut anymore. So that’s why I try to predict what they’re gonna say and get the jury thinking ahead of time to rebut some of the things I know that they’re gonna say.
Reach Out for a Free Consultation
So that ends the jury trial when the closing argument ends. If you have questions about that, reach out to me, a Wagoner County criminal defense attorney, at wagonerlawyer.com. Get in touch today for a free consultation and let’s discuss your case.