PRINT PAGEZimmerman Opening: Recency

Written by Roy Black

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 Trayvon Martin because he had to. He shot him for the worst of all reasons: because he wanted to.”

I love that Guy didn’t resort to the usual cliche by ending with a demand for a verdict of guilty. That is a canned and thoughtless phrase taught in Prosecution 101. Worse, it is the lawyer telling the jury what it must do. Isn’t that a little arrogant? John Guy did far better and devised an ending that had real punch to it.

Clearly Guy did a persuasive job in both his introduction and his conclusion. However, this does not mean his presentation was perfect. I found parts of his middle argument to be less than clear and not convincing. His list of Zimmerman’s so-called lies sounded underwhelming. Perhaps he had no choice, but I wasn’t persuaded.

His most glaring omission was the utter lack of demonstratives. Today they are a necessary tool of persuasion. Juries quickly tire of talking heads and they need a multimedia presentation to keep their interest. And nothing beats demonstratives for making a point clearly and understandably. Time lines, charts, photographs, and maps are necessary to aid comprehension.

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2 Comments to Zimmerman Opening: Recency

  1. Ida Carlini's Gravatar Ida Carlini
    July 10, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I feel the same way and wished you were his Attorney as You are the best of the best….I have followed you in other cases and your summations have always been on point…

  2. David Thomas's Gravatar David Thomas
    July 16, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    I completely agree about the demonstration evidence. For instance, a map of the courtyard was needed to show where Travon entered and where Zimmerman followed. Did the encounter take place well into the courtyard or did Travon turn and come toward Zimmerman. The location of the confrontation would have told us if Travon was trying to confront Zimmerman or if Zimmerman was following Travon and posed a threat to Travon. If Zimmerman just kept pursuing then we don’t have “stand your ground” but in fact it was Travon who had the right to “stand HIS ground.” Maybe there was an exhibit that showed this but in all the watching I did, I never saw it.

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