Criminal Defense LawyerLakeland, Tampa, FL

Opening statements in criminal cases and purpose for defending a citizen in court

George Zimmerman's trial began this week.  Many people and "experts" on TV have endless opinions on this case.  I use the term "expert" because many never try cases or are just on TV to create controversy or be critical just to be critical.
Most people gave high marks to the prosecutor for the State's opening statement.  The prosecutor did an effective job to create emotion with their very first words.  The prosecutor also did a good job of creating a story and images that will stay with the jurors throughout the trial.  I think he used the expletives too much and did not have to repeat them so much, but a very effective job.
The defense on the other hand opened with a "knock, knock" joke.  In a murder trial.  That is a horrendous start in my opinion.  You only get one chance to make a first impression.  The defense made it worse, by harping on the "joke" by saying "C'mon, that was funny."  A case this serious, with this much controversy, must be treated with respect.  It puts the defense in an early hole in the juror's minds.  Another complaint by many people was that the defense did not tell a compelling story in opening.  Opening statements are a road map for the jury as to what the case will be about and what evidence the jury can expect to see.  A good defense attorney tries to paint a picture that places the jury at the scene of the incident.  In this case, you want to make the jury feel the fear George Zimmerman would have felt that night.  He is in a dark area, there are repeated criminal episodes in this area, when all of the sudden, a hooded figure turns and bears down George Zimmerman left to wonder what is about to happen to me?!?"  Instead, we remember the "knock, knock joke".  Hopefully, the defense will get better as the trial continues.


Office - Lakeland, Polk County.

 Thomas C. Grajek  863-688-4606

Handling all felony and misdemeanor criminal cases in Polk County, Florida including Bartow, Lakeland, Winter Haven, Auburndale, Haines City, and Davenport.

Categories: Criminal Defense
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