Practice Pointers

ATL Practice Pointers: The Lowtalking Litigator

english judge irish judge.gifThe stereotypical lawyer is a real bigmouth, too loud for his or her own good. But not all attorneys conform to type. This leads us to our next lesson.
Practice Pointer: Don’t mumble your closing argument.
This news story comes from Ireland rather than America, but it’s still instructive:

A murder trial jury has been discharged because the judge said he could not hear the prosecuting counsel during his closing speech. Mr Justice Paul Carney made his comments at the conclusion of the trial of 56-year-old John O’Neill from Mercer House flats, Mercer Street in Dublin.

In the words of our tipster: “Overturned for want of clear diction?”
But our curiosity was piqued. What would the jury have heard if the prosecutor had spoken up?

During his closing speech to the jury, prosecution counsel Gerard Clarke described to the eight men and four women how Rosemary Dowling might have felt while she was being killed.

He said she had no voice, but the members of the jury could be her voice, and he went on to imagine what she would say.

Ahhh. Not sure how things work in Ireland; but here in the United States, that kind of summation would be inflammatory and improper.
So we take back that tip. If your closing argument could result in the defendant getting a new trial, mumble away.
Jury Discharged Over ‘Mumbled’ Closing [RTE News]

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