What is a Closing Argument? Do Defense Lawyers Have an Advantage?
According to Thalia Hayden for WPTV News,
In West Palm Beach, Fla., the jury will be left to make a decision today, after closing arguments finalize the the first degree murder case against D’Andre Bannister.
Bannister is on trial for beating his 4-year-old stepson to death nearly eight years ago, then not allowing the boy’s
mother to leave their Riviera Beach home to get help. Bannister’s criminal defense lawyer claims the 4-year-old fell from a tree.
Bannister has been in jail since 2002. Officials say trials do not normally take this long but there have been lots of procedural delays.
Bannister is charged with first degree murder, aggravated child abuse, and two counts of kidnapping. If convicted, he will be sentenced to mandatory life in prison.
What is a closing argument?
A closing argument is the concluding statement made by both the prosecuting attorney and the criminal defense attorney. Both counselors will reiterate their strongest facts and arguments in an effort to sway the jury in their favor.
A closing argument is not to introduce any new information. It can only contain evidence that was actually presented during the trial. In general, the prosecution opens the argument and the defense goes second. Prosecution may have a final rebuttal.
Both counselors have the right tow waive their right to a closing argument.
The Defense’s Advantage
During the closing argument, the prosecution will repeat all evidence that works to prove each offense. However, the prosecution cannot use the defendant’s choice to exercise his Fifth Amendment right to silence. The prosecution also cannot emphasize the criminal defense lawyer’s effort in presenting evidence to prove the defendant’s innocence.
By having an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side, you have a better chance of protecting your freedom, your family, your reputation, your immigration status, your job, and your rights.