Monday, June 24, 2013
Opening statements are scheduled to begin at 9 am EDT, but they probably will not start before 9:15 because both sides are going to want to get a ruling from Judge Nelson before opening statements on the defense argument that several statements by the defendant after the shooting to W13 and the police are admissible pursuant to the res gestae exception to the hearsay rule.
She previously granted the State’s motion in limine to exclude all of the defendants statements after the shooting on the ground that they were self-serving hearsay. The statements at issue today were excluded pursuant to that ruling. Therefore, the defense cannot mention them in their opening statement, unless Judge Nelson reverses her earlier decision regarding these particular statements.
They want to mention the statements during their opening statement because GZ said he killed TRayvon Martin in self-defense.
The State likely will oppose the defense motion with an argument similar to the one that I made in my Friday evening post.
I believe opening statements are extremely important because they provide the first and only opportunity for each side to explain their respective theories of the case to the jury and briefly discuss the supporting evidence. Many lawyers compare an opening statement to a road map. If a lawyer makes a good opening statement, jurors will have a good overview of the case and the evidence that will be presented. If a lawyer makes a bad opening statement, the jurors will be confused and not know what to expect.
An opening statement should not exceed 20 minutes. Therefore, clarity and brevity are important. Detail, not so much.
An opening statement is not an argument. For that reason you will hear the lawyers often say, “We expect the evidence will show ABC or XYZ.
If a lawyer starts arguing what the evidence means, you should expect opposing counsel to object.
Prior to opening statements, Judge Nelson will instruct the jury that the remarks of counsel are not evidence.
Evidence consists of the testimony of the witnesses and the exhibits admitted by Judge Nelson.
I am hoping the State will mention what the evidence will show about GZ’s phone calls before and after he killed Trayvon.
Bernie de la Rionda (BDLR) has to decide whether to introduce any of the defendant’s statements during the State’s case in chief or save them for rebuttal.
He could do it either way, but the less he introduces during his case in chief, the more likely GZ will testify.
Here’s the link to the livestream coverage.
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