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TRIAL PROCEDURE & OPENING STATEMENTS - MN Bench Book - Trial Procedures & Practices for Judges
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TRIAL PROCEDURE & OPENING STATEMENTS

From MN Bench Book - Trial Procedures & Practices for Judges

Trial Procedure (Optional)

Before we start I would like to outline the procedure that will be used to present the case to you in this trial.

  • After I finish this final instruction, the attorneys will be given an opportunity to present opening statements in which they outline the facts that they hope to prove and acquaint you with the issues in the case.
  • After the opening statements, the State will then proceed with its case by calling witnesses who will tell what they know and by introducing physical evidence or exhibits. Each witness who testifies during the State’s case will be asked questions, first by the prosecutor and then by the defendant’s attorney, if he wishes.
  • When the state has completed its case, the defendant will also have an opportunity to call witnesses and present evidence. Of course, the defendant is presumed innocent and does not have to prove anything. Therefore, he has no burden or obligation to present evidence. If the defendant does chose to present evidence, the same procedure will be followed as was used in the State’s Case.
  • When all the evidence has been presented, the lawyers will present final arguments in which they summarize and argue their respective positions. After I provide you with additional instructions on the law, you will retire to the jury room to begin your deliberations


IMMEDIATELY BEFORE OPENING STATEMENTS

Members of the jury panel, each of the attorneys is now given an opportunity to make an opening statement to you. [OPTIONAL: If requested by defense counsel “The Defendant's attorney may choose to make his/her’s at the completion of the State's case”.] I would remind you that the remarks of the attorneys are not themselves evidence.

1. Prosecution Opening Statement:
a. State goes 1st, Mr/Ms. _______________________________
2. Defense Opening Statement:
a. Defense goes 2nd, Mr/Ms. _____________________________