Opening Statement

Opening Statement in the United States

Outline of arguments an attorney plans to present to a jury during a trial. The opening statement characterizes the case and previews the evidence that will be submitted during the trial. Opposite from the opening statement is the closing statement or summation. The summation is intended to review the evidence presented. Both opening and closing statements allow counsel an opportunity to suggest a favorable interpretation of evidence. These statements are optional, but the closing statement is seldom waived. It is rendered before a judge instructs or charges the jury.

See Also

Assistance of Counsel (Criminal Process).

Analysis and Relevance

An opening statement is not evidence in itself. The value of the opening statement is that it introduces the issues in the case to the jury. The opening statement is designed to enable the jurors to better understand the evidence that will be presented. In addition, the opening statement may also prompt the jurors to anticipate particular evidence and incline them to view that evidence favorably. The opening statement sets the stage, and each attorney tries to establish some basis for s&dvSRiSgt jJjfPujfh these remarks.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Opening Statement from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

Opening Statement: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Opening Statement. This part provides references, in relation to Opening Statement, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Opening Statement by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Opening Statement and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Opening Statement or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Opening Statement and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Opening Statement. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Opening Statement should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Opening Statement when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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