Rate my opening statement

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FineGentleman
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Rate my opening statement

Postby FineGentleman » Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:05 pm

I am a prosecutor for a mock trial and this will be the opening statement I use. I am convincing the jury to allow cocaine to be admissible as evidence. I need to convince them that the police officers obtained the cocaine through legal means. Thoughts? Is this anything like a real trial?

I do not like cops. I do not expect any of you to like cops. In fact, throughout the course of this trial, you may end up disliking them even more so. However, throughout the course of this trial, you will also be convinced that the police officers I represent today have had probable cause behind every action they had taken and so they have done nothing wrong.
Deputy Sheriff Bobbie Chang is a hardened veteran who has worked as a police officer for ten years; the past two being in the Drug Interdiction Unit which specializes in sweeping illegal substances off the streets. On the evening of September 28, 1997, he and his partner, Carmen Garcia were at Kingsport Train Station on a Special Assignment to dismantle a notorious gang of drug couriers and dealers. More specifically, they were to track down drug "mules" that often used passenger trains to transport their product. During the preceding two years before this evening, Bobbie Chang and his unit had arrested 100 of such drug mules, cut the supply of drugs by 50%, and convicted 60 people for drug trafficking. Most of these criminals were teenagers between the age of 15 and 25.
And so, on that evening, Bobbie Chang noticed a group of jittery teenagers pacing back and forth and around the station platform while carrying large backpacks, ideal containers for hauling drugs. It was reasonable for Officer Chang to be suspicious of them; in fact, it was his duty to be. Simply doing his job, he approached the teenagers, checked their IDs, and had a few of his questions answered, such as "Why the heavy bags?" and "Who are you guys waiting for?" The teenagers, Josie Winters, Alex McHale, and Billie Rodriguez, told Officer Chang that they had packed for a weekend trip, and made sure to pack heavy because of the weather. Officer Chang had reason to doubt this because it had been a warm, dry weekend. They then told Officer Chang that they were waiting to get picked up by a parent. It did not matter whether this was true or not; it only matters that the suspicions this raised justified Officer Chang's actions. It was odd and unlikely that none of the parents of three separate children could remember to get them. Officer Chang knew this, and wanted to search their bags right there and then. However, he refrained from searching them because he knew he did not have enough reason to do so. But, as a precaution, he went back into hiding to monitor the teenagers once again.
Soon, someone came to pick up the teenagers, but it was not a parent, it was the notorious local thug, Sonny Ray, known for his criminal history of manslaughter and resisting arrest. Officer Garcia will testify that he heard him exclaim, "Man, that looks like great stuff," upon having the backpacks placed into his trunk. Officer Chang now had every right and reason to believe that he was lied to, and that there were illegal substances hidden in the backpacks. He now had probable cause to search their bags. After all, most of the criminals he had arrested for drug trafficking in the prior two years were teenagers, and now these three suspicious teenagers were now being escorted by a convict that Officer Chang instantly recognized. Officer Chang would have been guilty of negligence if he had ignored this.
Sonny Ray drove away. Hoping that he would lead to more suspects, the police officers secretly followed him. Three miles down the road, Sonny Ray gets pulled over, for drinking while driving, by a third policeman, Chipper Johnson. Officers Chang and Garcia pulled over and warned Johnson that this was a dangerous stop and that they had reason to believe that drug mules were being escorted by an infamous criminal in the vehicle Johnson had stopped. Armed with this information, Johnson asked for permission to search the backpacks in the trunk. Although he did not need any permission and although he had all the probable cause that was needed to search the entire vehicle, Alex McHale gave it to him anyway and even gave him the keys to one the backpacks. To nobody's surprise, a bag of cocaine was found in one of the backpacks, which turned out to be Josie Winters' the defendant.
I do not like cops. I do not like that they spied on pedestrians. I do not like that they stalked them. However, THAT DOES NOT MATTER. Seeing it from their point of view, there is no denying that the policemen I represent had probable cause in every action they had taken, and therefore their search of the backpacks was absolutely proper. Because of this sole factor, the jury must find the cocaine admissible to be used as evidence. The defense will present their sob stories but they will not refute my argument.

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seahawk32
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Re: Rate my opening statement

Postby seahawk32 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:10 pm

lmao

rmorris87
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Re: Rate my opening statement

Postby rmorris87 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:10 pm

tl;dr

FineGentleman
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Re: Rate my opening statement

Postby FineGentleman » Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:42 pm

rmorris87 wrote:tl;dr

understandable...

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stillwater
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Re: Rate my opening statement

Postby stillwater » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:07 pm

you walk softly and carry a big stick

utlaw2007
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Re: Rate my opening statement

Postby utlaw2007 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:11 am

FineGentleman wrote:I am a prosecutor for a mock trial and this will be the opening statement I use. I am convincing the jury to allow cocaine to be admissible as evidence. I need to convince them that the police officers obtained the cocaine through legal means. Thoughts? Is this anything like a real trial?

I do not like cops. I do not expect any of you to like cops. In fact, throughout the course of this trial, you may end up disliking them even more so. However, throughout the course of this trial, you will also be convinced that the police officers I represent today have had probable cause behind every action they had taken and so they have done nothing wrong.
Deputy Sheriff Bobbie Chang is a hardened veteran who has worked as a police officer for ten years; the past two being in the Drug Interdiction Unit which specializes in sweeping illegal substances off the streets. On the evening of September 28, 1997, he and his partner, Carmen Garcia were at Kingsport Train Station on a Special Assignment to dismantle a notorious gang of drug couriers and dealers. More specifically, they were to track down drug "mules" that often used passenger trains to transport their product. During the preceding two years before this evening, Bobbie Chang and his unit had arrested 100 of such drug mules, cut the supply of drugs by 50%, and convicted 60 people for drug trafficking. Most of these criminals were teenagers between the age of 15 and 25.
And so, on that evening, Bobbie Chang noticed a group of jittery teenagers pacing back and forth and around the station platform while carrying large backpacks, ideal containers for hauling drugs. It was reasonable for Officer Chang to be suspicious of them; in fact, it was his duty to be. Simply doing his job, he approached the teenagers, checked their IDs, and had a few of his questions answered, such as "Why the heavy bags?" and "Who are you guys waiting for?" The teenagers, Josie Winters, Alex McHale, and Billie Rodriguez, told Officer Chang that they had packed for a weekend trip, and made sure to pack heavy because of the weather. Officer Chang had reason to doubt this because it had been a warm, dry weekend. They then told Officer Chang that they were waiting to get picked up by a parent. It did not matter whether this was true or not; it only matters that the suspicions this raised justified Officer Chang's actions. It was odd and unlikely that none of the parents of three separate children could remember to get them. Officer Chang knew this, and wanted to search their bags right there and then. However, he refrained from searching them because he knew he did not have enough reason to do so. But, as a precaution, he went back into hiding to monitor the teenagers once again.
Soon, someone came to pick up the teenagers, but it was not a parent, it was the notorious local thug, Sonny Ray, known for his criminal history of manslaughter and resisting arrest. Officer Garcia will testify that he heard him exclaim, "Man, that looks like great stuff," upon having the backpacks placed into his trunk. Officer Chang now had every right and reason to believe that he was lied to, and that there were illegal substances hidden in the backpacks. He now had probable cause to search their bags. After all, most of the criminals he had arrested for drug trafficking in the prior two years were teenagers, and now these three suspicious teenagers were now being escorted by a convict that Officer Chang instantly recognized. Officer Chang would have been guilty of negligence if he had ignored this.
Sonny Ray drove away. Hoping that he would lead to more suspects, the police officers secretly followed him. Three miles down the road, Sonny Ray gets pulled over, for drinking while driving, by a third policeman, Chipper Johnson. Officers Chang and Garcia pulled over and warned Johnson that this was a dangerous stop and that they had reason to believe that drug mules were being escorted by an infamous criminal in the vehicle Johnson had stopped. Armed with this information, Johnson asked for permission to search the backpacks in the trunk. Although he did not need any permission and although he had all the probable cause that was needed to search the entire vehicle, Alex McHale gave it to him anyway and even gave him the keys to one the backpacks. To nobody's surprise, a bag of cocaine was found in one of the backpacks, which turned out to be Josie Winters' the defendant.
I do not like cops. I do not like that they spied on pedestrians. I do not like that they stalked them. However, THAT DOES NOT MATTER. Seeing it from their point of view, there is no denying that the policemen I represent had probable cause in every action they had taken, and therefore their search of the backpacks was absolutely proper. Because of this sole factor, the jury must find the cocaine admissible to be used as evidence. The defense will present their sob stories but they will not refute my argument.



It's way too long. And you are going to draw an objection. You are arguing way too many things not in evidence. The trial hasn't started yet. Nothing has been admitted into evidence. But you state things and make conclusions as if they were already admitted.

NYstate
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Re: Rate my opening statement

Postby NYstate » Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:27 am

I'm a corporate lawyer and even I know that prosecutors can NEVER make blanket statements against cops. Delete the first sentence. I would delete the second sentence too.

I didn't read past that.
Edit/ went back and got through first paragraph - I would delete it.

You are starting off by planting the idea that these cops are shady and dishonest. This is going to hurt you. Also, the cops will hate you. This sounds more like a defense attorney opening.

Get to the facts and stick to the facts. You are looking at this backwards.

Write this as you believe the police actions were legitimate. I think it is surveillance, not "hiding."

Personally, I would toss this and start over as if you supported experienced police officers performing their duty to reduce drug trafficking. Also note their familiarity with the law as they did not search the bags at first.

utlaw2007
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Re: Rate my opening statement

Postby utlaw2007 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:47 am

NYstate wrote:I'm a corporate lawyer and even I know that prosecutors can NEVER make blanket statements against cops. Delete the first sentence. I would delete the second sentence too.

I didn't read past that.
Edit/ went back and got through first paragraph - I would delete it.

You are starting off by planting the idea that these cops are shady and dishonest. This is going to hurt you. Also, the cops will hate you. This sounds more like a defense attorney opening.

Get to the facts and stick to the facts. You are looking at this backwards.


Agreed with this, too. Aside from the questionable strategy of attempting to gain credibility with the jury by admitting you do not like cops, giving your opinion as a lawyer is going to also draw a relevancy objection. It's not relevant.

When you do state facts, not conclusions, that's for closing not opening, you have to preface your statements with "the evidence will show" because those facts you mention are not yet facts as of yet. There has been no testimony or anything admitted into evidence. Otherwise, as I stated earlier, you will draw an "arguing facts not in evidence" objection.

I'm a trial lawyer.

FineGentleman
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Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:32 pm

Re: Rate my opening statement

Postby FineGentleman » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:11 pm

Thank you for the replies. I need to focus on the facts. Got it.

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Clearly
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Re: Rate my opening statement

Postby Clearly » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:44 pm

Also, "Teenagers between the age of 15-25". There is no such thing as a 24 year old teenager lol.

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TheFutureLawyer
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Re: Rate my opening statement

Postby TheFutureLawyer » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:58 pm

Clearlynotstefan wrote:Also, "Teenagers between the age of 15-25". There is no such thing as a 24 year old teenager lol.

anonmyuos
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Re: Rate my opening statement

Postby anonmyuos » Sat Jun 08, 2013 12:27 am

how is this 10 replies in and no one has commented on the fact that this is arguing to the jury about the admissibility of evidence? what is the nonsense? no one has an opening statement to a jury regarding admissibility of evidence. that isn't a thing.

so no, to answer your question. it's nothing like a real trial. because this would never, ever, ever happen. you'd argue this to the judge.

jml8756
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Re: Rate my opening statement

Postby jml8756 » Sat Jun 08, 2013 12:32 am

anonmyuos wrote:how is this 10 replies in and no one has commented on the fact that this is arguing to the jury about the admissibility of evidence? what is the nonsense? no one has an opening statement to a jury regarding admissibility of evidence. that isn't a thing.

so no, to answer your question. it's nothing like a real trial. because this would never, ever, ever happen. you'd argue this to the judge.


Thank you. This was exactly my reaction. I have no idea what this even is.

OP, I think there's a possibility you've misunderstood your prompt. Can you tell us, word-for-word, what the prompt is?

FineGentleman
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Re: Rate my opening statement

Postby FineGentleman » Sat Jun 08, 2013 12:34 am

jml8756 wrote:
anonmyuos wrote:how is this 10 replies in and no one has commented on the fact that this is arguing to the jury about the admissibility of evidence? what is the nonsense? no one has an opening statement to a jury regarding admissibility of evidence. that isn't a thing.

so no, to answer your question. it's nothing like a real trial. because this would never, ever, ever happen. you'd argue this to the judge.


Thank you. This was exactly my reaction. I have no idea what this even is.

OP, I think there's a possibility you've misunderstood your prompt. Can you tell us, word-for-word, what the prompt is?

Now that I think about it, my teacher never said I was arguing to the jury. I just assumed I was. My mistake.

jml8756
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Re: Rate my opening statement

Postby jml8756 » Sat Jun 08, 2013 12:48 am

FineGentleman wrote:
jml8756 wrote:
anonmyuos wrote:how is this 10 replies in and no one has commented on the fact that this is arguing to the jury about the admissibility of evidence? what is the nonsense? no one has an opening statement to a jury regarding admissibility of evidence. that isn't a thing.

so no, to answer your question. it's nothing like a real trial. because this would never, ever, ever happen. you'd argue this to the judge.


Thank you. This was exactly my reaction. I have no idea what this even is.

OP, I think there's a possibility you've misunderstood your prompt. Can you tell us, word-for-word, what the prompt is?

Now that I think about it, my teacher never said I was arguing to the jury. I just assumed I was. My mistake.


So it sounds like you are doing a motion to suppress.

In real life, the way a motion to suppress would work is as follows:
- The defense attorney would put his client on the stand to say the officer did something wrong.
- You would put the officer on the stand to say he did everything right.
- The defense attorney would then argue to the judge why the evidence should be suppressed.
- You would then argue to the judge why the evidence should NOT be suppressed.
- The defense attorney would have an opportunity to respond to your argument.

Generally, there are no opening statements in motions to suppress. Did your teacher say give an opening statement? Or did she say argue the motion?

If you really are supposed to give an opening statement, you would just tell the story, plain and simple. Like if we were at a bar and I asked you "oh hey man what's that new case you're working on?" Whatever you tell me in the bar should be pretty much the way you say it in court. Especially with a judge, they're not going to appreciate dramatics. Also, I disagree with the poster who said you should say "the evidence will show" before everything. You don't have to do this in opening statements, and I think it bogs it down when you say it too much.

If you are supposed to argue the motion, that's where you can start making inferences and connections. You would use phrases like "probable cause" or "reasonable suspicion." In real life, you would probably cite cases, but it sounds like you're not in law school so this probably isn't expected. But maybe try using some analogies or drawing parallels. You want to make it sound obvious that the cops had every reason to be making this search.

But yeah definitely cut out that "I do not like cops" stuff.

FineGentleman
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:32 pm

Re: Rate my opening statement

Postby FineGentleman » Sat Jun 08, 2013 12:55 am

jml8756 wrote:
FineGentleman wrote:
jml8756 wrote:
anonmyuos wrote:how is this 10 replies in and no one has commented on the fact that this is arguing to the jury about the admissibility of evidence? what is the nonsense? no one has an opening statement to a jury regarding admissibility of evidence. that isn't a thing.

so no, to answer your question. it's nothing like a real trial. because this would never, ever, ever happen. you'd argue this to the judge.


Thank you. This was exactly my reaction. I have no idea what this even is.

OP, I think there's a possibility you've misunderstood your prompt. Can you tell us, word-for-word, what the prompt is?

Now that I think about it, my teacher never said I was arguing to the jury. I just assumed I was. My mistake.


So it sounds like you are doing a motion to suppress.

In real life, the way a motion to suppress would work is as follows:
- The defense attorney would put his client on the stand to say the officer did something wrong.
- You would put the officer on the stand to say he did everything right.
- The defense attorney would then argue to the judge why the evidence should be suppressed.
- You would then argue to the judge why the evidence should NOT be suppressed.
- The defense attorney would have an opportunity to respond to your argument.

Generally, there are no opening statements in motions to suppress. Did your teacher say give an opening statement? Or did she say argue the motion?

If you really are supposed to give an opening statement, you would just tell the story, plain and simple. Like if we were at a bar and I asked you "oh hey man what's that new case you're working on?" Whatever you tell me in the bar should be pretty much the way you say it in court. Especially with a judge, they're not going to appreciate dramatics. Also, I disagree with the poster who said you should say "the evidence will show" before everything. You don't have to do this in opening statements, and I think it bogs it down when you say it too much.

If you are supposed to argue the motion, that's where you can start making inferences and connections. You would use phrases like "probable cause" or "reasonable suspicion." In real life, you would probably cite cases, but it sounds like you're not in law school so this probably isn't expected. But maybe try using some analogies or drawing parallels. You want to make it sound obvious that the cops had every reason to be making this search.

But yeah definitely cut out that "I do not like cops" stuff.

Thank you. You're right; I'm a senior in High School. My teacher said give an opening statement. We then proceeded to do direct and cross examinations.

anonmyuos
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Re: Rate my opening statement

Postby anonmyuos » Sat Jun 08, 2013 12:58 am

jml8756 wrote:
So it sounds like you are doing a motion to suppress.

In real life, the way a motion to suppress would work is as follows:
- The defense attorney would put his client on the stand to say the officer did something wrong.
- You would put the officer on the stand to say he did everything right.
- The defense attorney would then argue to the judge why the evidence should be suppressed.
- You would then argue to the judge why the evidence should NOT be suppressed.
- The defense attorney would have an opportunity to respond to your argument.

Generally, there are no opening statements in motions to suppress. Did your teacher say give an opening statement? Or did she say argue the motion?

If you really are supposed to give an opening statement, you would just tell the story, plain and simple. Like if we were at a bar and I asked you "oh hey man what's that new case you're working on?" Whatever you tell me in the bar should be pretty much the way you say it in court. Especially with a judge, they're not going to appreciate dramatics. Also, I disagree with the poster who said you should say "the evidence will show" before everything. You don't have to do this in opening statements, and I think it bogs it down when you say it too much.

If you are supposed to argue the motion, that's where you can start making inferences and connections. You would use phrases like "probable cause" or "reasonable suspicion." In real life, you would probably cite cases, but it sounds like you're not in law school so this probably isn't expected. But maybe try using some analogies or drawing parallels. You want to make it sound obvious that the cops had every reason to be making this search.

But yeah definitely cut out that "I do not like cops" stuff.


Yes, more of this. Arguing to a judge v. arguing to a jury is a different ballgame. Your first post needs to be scrapped. Completely. I don't know why you would have a motion to suppress when you're not in law school and you don't know the law. seems strange and unhelpful. more but "hey judge, the law says you can admit the evidence if the police did X. the police did X. so admit it." and maybe a few "D will say you can't admit because police did X. either a) police didn't do X, or b) you actually can admit it even if police did X." but the entire tone and content needs to be changed once you realize you're arguing to a judge.

really weird assignment for non-law school.

FineGentleman
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:32 pm

Re: Rate my opening statement

Postby FineGentleman » Sat Jun 08, 2013 1:04 am

anonmyuos wrote:
jml8756 wrote:
So it sounds like you are doing a motion to suppress.

In real life, the way a motion to suppress would work is as follows:
- The defense attorney would put his client on the stand to say the officer did something wrong.
- You would put the officer on the stand to say he did everything right.
- The defense attorney would then argue to the judge why the evidence should be suppressed.
- You would then argue to the judge why the evidence should NOT be suppressed.
- The defense attorney would have an opportunity to respond to your argument.

Generally, there are no opening statements in motions to suppress. Did your teacher say give an opening statement? Or did she say argue the motion?

If you really are supposed to give an opening statement, you would just tell the story, plain and simple. Like if we were at a bar and I asked you "oh hey man what's that new case you're working on?" Whatever you tell me in the bar should be pretty much the way you say it in court. Especially with a judge, they're not going to appreciate dramatics. Also, I disagree with the poster who said you should say "the evidence will show" before everything. You don't have to do this in opening statements, and I think it bogs it down when you say it too much.

If you are supposed to argue the motion, that's where you can start making inferences and connections. You would use phrases like "probable cause" or "reasonable suspicion." In real life, you would probably cite cases, but it sounds like you're not in law school so this probably isn't expected. But maybe try using some analogies or drawing parallels. You want to make it sound obvious that the cops had every reason to be making this search.

But yeah definitely cut out that "I do not like cops" stuff.


Yes, more of this. Arguing to a judge v. arguing to a jury is a different ballgame. Your first post needs to be scrapped. Completely. I don't know why you would have a motion to suppress when you're not in law school and you don't know the law. seems strange and unhelpful. more but "hey judge, the law says you can admit the evidence if the police did X. the police did X. so admit it." and maybe a few "D will say you can't admit because police did X. either a) police didn't do X, or b) you actually can admit it even if police did X." but the entire tone and content needs to be changed once you realize you're arguing to a judge.

really weird assignment for non-law school.


I am lucky enough to have law classes offered at my current high school. Most interesting class I've ever taken.




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