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GeorgeK
11-22-2010, 04:40 PM
Is the defense attorney allowed to raise an "objection" during the prosecutor's "Final Argument" or do they wait and say something during the defense's final argument? (If I understand correctly, the defense always goes last?)

jclarkdawe
11-22-2010, 05:42 PM
First off, I believe in most jurisdictions, the prosecution goes last. I know in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, the prosecution goes first, then the defense, then the prosecution again. This is because the prosecution has the burden of proof here. As a defense attorney, all you have to do is raise a reasonable doubt. As a prosecutor, you have to convince beyond a reasonable doubt. Guess which is easier to do?

Technically, you can object during a closing, usually to the attorney saying something that isn't in evidence. But you usually don't. First off is a level of professional courtesy. It's just something you don't do. Further is the jury's reaction. Juries find objections at the best of times interruptions, and interrupting an attorney during their closing is just plain rude in the opinion of most jurors. You'd better win the damn objection or you're going to lose points.

Most attorneys keep a little chart in their heads of their win/loss on objections during a trial. Sometimes you have to piss off the judge and jury with numerous objections, even though you're losing the objections (you're building a record for appeal). But normally you want the objections going in your favor, convincing the judge and jury that you're only objecting when you're right. If the jury has confidence in your ability to tell them the truth, the more likely they are to believe your argument.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

alleycat
11-22-2010, 06:11 PM
Technically, you can object during a closing, usually to the attorney saying something that isn't in evidence. But you usually don't. First off is a level of professional courtesy. It's just something you don't do.
That is also what I saw as a juror in three criminal trials (two murders and a burglary) in Tennessee. In one of them the defense attorney even got in a nice dig at the prosecutor and no objection was made.

The order jclarkdawe stated is what I saw as well: prosecution, defense, and then the prosecution was allowed to make a further statement.

I know you didn't ask this question, but one of the most surprising things I learned sitting on a criminal trail was just how technical the law can be; things like "intent beforehand" (my term, probably not the legal term). It made a difference in one of the trials I was a juror on. We didn't think the defendant had intent beforehand, so we had to take that off the table if we were going to follow the law as we'd sworn, even though I think most of us would have liked to have convicted him of some lesser charge.

MarkEsq
11-22-2010, 06:16 PM
Is the defense attorney allowed to raise an "objection" during the prosecutor's "Final Argument" or do they wait and say something during the defense's final argument? (If I understand correctly, the defense always goes last?)


George,

Jim is right in all he says. The defense argument is sandwiched in the middle for the reasons he gives. It is rare but does happen that defense lawyers object in closing arguments. Often the claim the prosecutor is misrepresenting the evidence, but I had one trial in which the defense counsel claimed I was taking pot-shots at his client by criticizing the defense's strategy. All quite strange and the judge looked at him askew before over-ruling.

Good luck!
Mark

ajkjd01
11-22-2010, 11:42 PM
Yup. I concur. Prosecution gives closing, Defense gives closing...the the Prosecution gets a chance to make what's called a rebuttal argument.

And while everyone's allowed to object (in Ohio) during closing (and opening) statements, no one likes it and most judges frown on it.