Category: George Zimmerman
Preparation: More is better. Much more is much better. You never get to a point where you can let up. Never. –Tom Peters
As I wrote in my last post, recency, the last words the jury hears, carries persuasive power. John Guy made the most of it in his concluding sentences: “We are confident at the end of this trial you will know in your head, in your heart and your stomach that George Zimmerman did not shoot […]
My advice to trial lawyers – throw out the trial advocacy books filled with old wives’ tales, and study human behavior. The opening arguments in the Zimmerman trial are a good example of using the psychological principles of primacy and recency. The audience remembers the first thing you say and the last far better than that sandwiched in the middle. And the impression the jurors get from the opening colors their perception of the evidence as it unfolds.
The best examples for teaching trial advocacy come from actual trials. Concrete always trumps abstract for learning. The George Zimmerman trial opening statements provided a lot of grist for my mill.
Quo Vadis George? Where do you want your trial? Sanford? Isn’t this the county that fired its police chief for not arresting you? And the governor replaced the state attorney to be sure you are indicted? Paranoia? No it’s true, they are after you. They are stacking the deck against you. But don’t despair yet, the system also gives you powerful weapons to fight back with.
Zimmerman’s lawyer, Mark O’Mara, has made his first mistake, and it may be fatal to his client’s defense. George Zimmerman must defend the charges against him with self-defense. This means he must testify in his own defense. It is hard to mount a self-defense claim without the defendant testifying. But now his defense team has committed the worse possible offense– the self-inflicted wound.