Zimmerman Opening: Recency

June 28, 2013 Demonstrative Evidence

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.