As everyone knows, I am a diehard Mock Trial fan, and and also a coach. So I figured I would put up a few mock trial closing argument examples. As you know, real prosecutors go on and on, but mock trial competitors are limited to a few minutes. So here goes.
Thank you for your attention in this matter. Ladies and gentlemen, there is a difference between “self defense” and retribution. There is a difference between self-defense and an over-reaction. And there is a difference between what constitutes reasonable doubt, and what amounts to just excuses by the defendant. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the defendant provoked the fight that night by his aggressive conduct. The law doesn’t allow a man to pick a fight, and then create the need to then defend himself.
There is a saying that actions speak louder than words. We ask you to judge the defendant by his actions, by what he did that night, not by what he said today in the courtroom. His claims today do not match his actions on that day in question.
We are a nation of laws, and everyone of us must follow those laws. You know what? If you have a problem with someone, you just walk away. Or you can even tell them off. You can tell them “you’re no good” or “you’re a jerk.” You can really say that, because that is freedom of speech. But what you can’t do is lay hands on someone. You can’t punch them, and you can’t slap them. The law doesn’t allow that. And we all live by these laws. I think we all have that temptation sometime in our life, to lash out. But you resist that impulse. Everyone has to do that. It is part of being a grown up. It is part of living in a civilized society. Our system is a system that holds people accountable for things like that. And it is part of what makes this country great.
This notion of accountability has a big place in our criminal justice system, that we are all accountable for our actions. Now we don’t always like being held accountable, and we don’t always own up to what we have done, but we all have to face the consequences of our own actions. Everyone of us.
The defense has essentially put the victim on trial, pointing out that the victim is a thief, that the victim is a drug addict. But that doesn’t justify what happened to him. It cannot. We are all entitled to the protection of the laws. Even the victim. I would submit to you that the victim has more in common with us than we might first think. He has hopes and dream like we do, he feels pain like we do, and as you can tell from the hospital photos, he bleeds red like we do. And you know what, I am sure there was never a time when he looked in the mirror that he didn’t wish that he made more of his life than he did. But he didn’t deserve what happened to him. No one deserves that. Maybe he didn’t get the breaks in life that some of us did, or maybe he did and he blew it, and God knows he made a lot of mistakes in his life, but you know what? He has paid for every one of those mistake, every one.
I want to talk about what I need to prove in this case. I also want to talk about what I don’t have to prove. The law says I must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that on or about March 11 th. 2013, that the defendant struck Jack Rain, and did so intentionally, and that there was an absence of self-defense. I don’t have to prove why, what the motive was, or whether the injury was cause by a punch or a kick. Just that an assault occurred. That is what I have to prove. That is it. I don’t have to prove that the defendant is a bad person. And you know what, I maybe couldn’t prove that. This case, no case, is a judgment of a person. Rather it is a judgment of their actions. Maybe the defendant had a bad day, maybe he had too much to drink. And defendant isn’t the first guy who found himself a little trouble on a Saturday night, and he won’t be the last. But I would ask that you find him accountable for what he did. And that is assault in the 4 th degree. Thank you.
(Click here to see the defense response.)