Should the Defense Make an Opening Statement In a Criminal Trial?
Opening statements are very important in Texas Criminal trials. Under Texas law the defense has a right to make an opening statement but it is not mandatory. Many criminal lawyers choose to not exercise their right. This is a mistake. The Defense has a choice of making an opening statement following the prosecutions opening. Or the criminal attorney can wait and make an opening after the prosecution has rested it’s case and before the defense begins to call witnesses.
I believe the defense should always make an opening statement and do so right after the prosecution makes theirs. Jurors begin judging a case right away. Studies show that once jurors start making up their mind it becomes difficult to change their mind. Don’t let the prosecutions opening statement go unanswered. Be prepared to make a smooth opening reflecting your theme of the case. If you can begin to start establishing reasonable doubt in the jurors minds early in the the chances of a Not Guilty greatly increase.