November 17, 2020 Articles

Dos and Don’ts of Evidence-Based Opening Statements

An accessible guide of what to do and what not to do in opening statements from the perspective of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

By Ezekiel E. Cortez

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. . . .
—Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859) 

In the opening statement to his masterpiece, Dickens may have arguably (pun intended) violated the most sacred rule, or the biggest “don’t,” of opening statements: Don’t argue your case during opening.

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