Mock Trial: Part 4: Closing ArgumentsAfter all the evidence has been presented, each side may make its arguments to the jury, giving the reasons why that side should win. The plaintiff has the burden of proof and therefore has the opportunity to open and close the arguments. If the testimony has been contradictory, each side will tell the jury why its witnesses should be believed rather than those for the other side.
Prosecution Closing Arguments
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen of the jury, again my name is … , and I am the prosecutor in this case. In my opening statement, I mentioned that I would call 3 witnesses to testify as to the defendant’s guilt. Each witness testified as I explained and we have established the following facts beyond a reasonable doubt: (Insert the relevant facts that you have proven in your case.)
We would ask you to reject the defense theories of the case. [Address each argument you feel the defense will be asking the jury to consider, and explain why you disagree. Argue why these issues do not amount to reasonable doubt. Argue why your witnesses are credible, how they have nothing to gain by lying, and were consistent with each other. Argue that the defendant has a motive to lie, because he doesn’t want to be held accountable for his actions. Argue that the defense witnesses lack credibility. Explain that it is an important principle that people in our society be held accountable for their actions. Explain that the defense arguments amount to just excuses.]
In conclusion, we would ask that you find the defendant guilty as charged. Thank you.
Defense Closing Arguments
Good afternoon, my name is …, and again I am the defense lawyer in this case. In the case that the prosecutor has presented to you today there is insufficient proof to convict. We would ask for a verdict of not guilty. [Echo or refer to the theme that you referenced in your opening statement.]
It is important to attack the reliability or credibility of the State witnesses. Point out any inconsistencies in the statements of the witnesses, and explain why witnesses might have a motive to lie. Also if the police did not do a thorough investigation, you will need to address this. Was there DNA evidence collected? Were fingerprints collected? Did the police fail to contact all of the witnesses? Did the police subpoena all the important records? Did the police show bias in their investigation? Is there physical evidence linking the defendant to the crime, or is it just a “he said she said” case?
The defendant does not have to prove he is innocent, rather it is the burden of the prosecuting attorney to prove that the defendant is guilty. They have not met that burden. It is the prosecutor who has all the resources to investigate the case. It is not the job of the defendant to go out and investigate the matter.
We would ask you to render the only verdict that is fair, not guilty.