SOME RANDOM THOUGHTS ABOUT ARGUING TO THE JURY

There are a multitude of ways in which we can argue issues to the jury. Of course,  all depends upon the facts of the case, the normal demeanor of the lawyer and the issues. In no particular order here are some notes from my trial materials on random ideas for final summation.

Damage Ideas

The remedy for harm inflicted on someone else requires full payment. Assume you have a $15 watch which somebody negligently breaks. You’re not entitled to a more expensive watch. But, assume the watch was a $12,000 Rolex. It’s not fair to replace it with the $15 watch arguing both keep time. If you break it, you own it and are responsible to pay in full for what you break.

Injury changes lives. Injury slows people down, they are a half a step behind everyone else. They never regain the same strength for the same health they had. They are made prematurely old before their time.

Time works against people who have been injured. They don’t get better with age, they get worse. They are always more susceptible to re-injury. If re-injury occurs it’s always worse the second time. Just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, an injured person is never the same again.

(Injuries to children) What is a boy? Between the innocence of babyhood and the dignity of manhood we find a delightful creature called a boy. Boys come in assorted sizes, weights and colors, but all boys have the same creed: to enjoy every second of every minute of every hour of every day and to protest with noise (their only weapon) when their last final minute is finished and the adult packs them off to bed at night. Boys are found everywhere – on top of, underneath, inside of, climbing on, swinging from, running around, or jumping to. Mothers love them, little girls hates them, older sisters and brothers tolerate them, adults ignore them, and heaven protects them. A boy is truth with dirt on its face, beauty with a cut on its finger. Wisdom with bubblegum in its hair, and the hope of the future with a frog in its pocket. A boy is a magical creature – you could lock him out of your workshop, but you can’t lock them out of your heart. You can get him out of your study, you can’t get them out of your mind.

The Power of the Jury

My friend, Peter Perlman, who is a nationally known plaintiff’s lawyer in Lexington Kentucky, has advocated empowering the jury to bring in the verdict that he has recommended. He urges them to seize the opportunity to make a significant and positive difference. He has argued it this way. “When you serve on a jury in many respects you have as much power as you may ever have in your life. When you vote, you are one of thousands. When you attend a school board meeting, you may be one of hundreds. But, when you serve on a jury, you are only one of 12. As one of the 12, you have the power to set the proper standards for safety that manufacturers, healthcare providers and others must follow. You have the power to set standards that affect the quality of life we enjoy in this country and in this community. Use your power wisely.”

Moe Levine once argued, “We exist for more than just to live, breathe and work. If all we exist for is survival, it’s not worth it. It’s not enough in this world of tension and fears we live in. If there is not the pleasure of living to accompany the hardships of life, what have you got left? What will her life be like? She will never be normal. She will always have pain, disability and worry. Her life has been robbed of pleasure. This must be translated by you into a fair appraisal of damages.

Circumstantial evidence

Like a child his face is covered with frosting, but keeps insisting he is not the one who ate the cake.

Viewing evidence logically

The defenses argument would be like my saying: “you know, if you take your glasses off, turn the lights down real low and squint your eyes almost shot, I look a little like Brad Pitt.”

It’s like your son showing you his report card pointing to the A on it, while covering the D’s & F’s so you can’t see them.

President Obama used this metaphor which can be applied to this subject. “I don’t know if you want to climb in and ride that car. It’s not going the right way. It wants to turn around and go back to where you were. “

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