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Time out for Summation: The Use of Timed Breaks In Summation for Greater Juror Retention
By Jay Ruane and Jim Ruane
This article will address a novel concept in the structure of a closing argument. For 18 years, the esteemed Pozner and Dodd have educated the trial lawyer on the effective use of primacy and recency in building a cross-examination.1 Our theory suggests that the use of the same techniques can be used in a closing argument to deliver a more effective message when it is formatted to allow the juror to retain more defense-oriented information in a single closing argument. Support for this will come not only from scientific principles, but also courtroom practices that highlight nuances in the criminal defense lawyer’s technique to grab hold of a juror’s mind.
In a criminal trial, the prosecution is allowed the opportunity to give both an opening and a rebuttal closing argument because they bear the burden of proof. Oftentimes, the prosecution will “save” important points for the rebuttal closing argument in order to maximize the ability of the juror to retain the prosecution’s message. Thi
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