Reasonable Doubt Closing Arguments
Frogs and spoiled stew
The one-eyed frog (as stolen and before modification)"Ladies and gentlemen, when I heard the prosecution witnesses youheard testify about my client @@'s intoxication it reminded me of theone-eyed frog. The one-eyed frog was a real nasty creature who lived in aswamp with a number of other animals. All of the other animals who lived inor around the swamp didn't really like the one-eyed frog, but they toleratedhim because they felt badly for him because he had to wear a patch over hisright eye."One day when all the animals were at the swamp, the one-eyed frogwas being particularly nasty, insulting and closed-minded. He would neverlisten to or tolerate the other animals' views. As he was making someparticularly offensive comments to some of the animals, he tripped and fell,and when he did, the patch over his right eye came off. To the astonishmentof the other animals, the one-eyed frog had two eyes and both seemed to beworking just fine."The animals who for so long had put up with the one-eyed frog askedhim why for so many years he had covered his right eye with a patch. Theone-eyed frog answered that he had covered his right eye because without thepatch he would have to keep both eyes open, and would see the world and thefacts as they really are as opposed to how he would like to see them, andthat if he saw all the facts, he'd have to see the truth, and the truthwasn't always in his best interest. "Well, ladies and gentlemen, the prosecution witnesses are like thatone-eyed frog. In their direct testimony, they kept that patch over theirright eye, they saw only what they wanted to see and they gave you but oneside of the story. On cross examination we took away that patch and forcedthem to open up their eyes, to fill in the missing pieces of their directtestimony and to tell you the whole truth. It wasn't pleasant for them,just like it wasn't pleasant for the one-eyed frog, because the whole truth,and all the facts, weren't in the state's interest. Let's recount what thecomplete picture, with all the facts, showed in this case. ..." 

Spoiled stew
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, as the court will instruct you, inorder for you to return a guilty verdict you must be convinced beyond areasonable doubt that the State has proved each and every element of theoffense against my client, @@.The prosecutor will argue that the State has built a strong case.The prosecutor will also argue that you should have no reasonable doubt asto the defendant's guilt.He wants you to ignore certain evidence and wants you to rationalizeproblems that have been shown to exist with the evidence that you have heard-- and that's because there is a very real problem with his case and it is aproblem that should cause you to reject the entire State's case.That problem is Officer @@'s testimony. Remember, on crossexamination, he conceded that he made a mistake in the administration of thebreath test. He failed the "checklist test": He did not follow the checklistthat was established by the State and by the manufacturer of the machinewhen he tested @@. That's a bad piece of evidence for the State, it'ssomething they can't escape, and it's something which requires you to rejectthe entire State's case.Officer @@'s mistake and failure remind me of a story that I wouldlike to share with you.About ten years ago, my grandfather passed away and my mother andfather, as well as my family, would make sure that on Sundays we would stopby my grandmother's house and have dinner with her.On one Sunday, we decided that even though my grandmother loved tocook for us all, we would take her out to dinner. She at first protested,but after some gentle prodding on our part, she agreed. We took her to oneof the nicest restaurants in the state.Everything appeared to be perfect. The restaurant was beautifullydecorated, there was gentle and relaxing music in the background, and themenu looked wonderful. The prices on the menu were high, but it was aspecial place and a special time for my grandmother so we had no difficultyin accepting those prices and we were ready to pay them.My grandmother ordered one of the specials on the menu, Irish Stew.It had chunks of meat, carrots, onions, and potatoes. It had always been oneof her favorites.When our food came, it looked wonderful. As my grandmother took abite of her meat, however, her face contorted and she had to spit it out.The piece of meat was spoiled and rancid.The waiter came up to us, apologized for the bad piece of meat,stating that he would remove it and bring back the rest of the stew to mygrandmother. Obviously, that was not acceptable. That one bad piece of meatspoiled the entire stew. Its mere removal could not cure the foulness of theentire meal.My grandmother looked at the waiter and said, "Even though I onlyfound one bad piece of meat, the entire stew is bad. I will have none of it.Take it away."The same is true here, ladies and gentlemen. Like my grandmother, wemay have only found one bad piece of meat, that one bad piece of evidence.But the whole stew, the whole of the State's case, is bad.As the waiter could not reasonably ask my grandmother to pick outthat bad piece of meat and eat the rest of the stew, neither should youaccept the prosecutor's invitation to pick out that bad piece of evidenceoffered by Officer @@, but accept the rest of Officer @@'s testimony and therest of the State's case.Like my grandmother said, when the one piece of meat is spoiled, theentire stew is bad. Just as my grandmother rejected the stew, reject theState's case and bring back a not guilty verdict.

" But this officer took elevated "frogview" to a new level. Because his eye is a magic eye. Remember this? Officer, you still claim you followed Jerry's Jeep down that lane with your in-car camera running. That' s not a claim, Mr. Hoover, it's the truth. We have watched the video twice here today and cannot see the Jeep moving. Do you think the movement was erased before the tape was given to the prosecutor? Do you think the prosecutor erased it before they gave a copy to me? Do you think I erased it? Shall we play the prosecutor's copy (pointing to it) and see if the moving Jeep is there? No, Mr. Hoover. You may not be able to see it in the dark on the tape. But I could see it move -- because I was there. A magic eye. And we cannot see Jerry step off the line even once on the stationhouse video of the WAT. But this officer could see it, again because he was there. His magic eye allows him to see things that are invisible to us mere mortals. Once a young wife suspected her husband was entertaining another woman in their home while she was at work. Her husband denied being unfaithful and said he was getting tired of her not trusting him. So before she went to work the next day, she mounted a hidden video camera in their bedroom closet. When her suspicions were confirmed and she confronted him with the evidence, he said "There you go again not trusting me. Are you going to believe your husband or that stupid camera?" (etc., etc.)

Here is one that I use sometimes. You can make the disconnect your "hole in the box." Here's an example of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Suppose that you took a large, hungry cat and put it into a cardboard box with a nice, juicy mouse. You then tied the box tightly with a rope and put it in a room. Assume that you then left the room and came back a half an hour later. You untied the rope and opened the lid. When you looked inside, you found the cat but no mouse. That could qualify as proof beyond a reasonable doubt as to the mouse's fate.On the other hand, say you go through the same procedure again. This time when you open the box, you again find just the cat. However upon closer examination, you find in the side of the box a small, mouse-sized hole. This little hole gives you a reasonable doubt as to the mouse's fate.In the case at hand, the State has probably proven three of the four elements. However, they've left a small hole regarding element number four. They have to prove that (state the element which has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt). It would have been simple to prove (state the element) beyond a reasonable doubt, but the State made no effort. They left more than a mouse-sized hole. They left an elephant-size hole, and that's enough of a whole to create reasonable doubt. 

If you aren't going to have an expert, you need tobuild your defense as best you can through the jury'sown common sense and and crossing the State's experts.In your VD, ask each juror, especially women, "Ms.Jones, what are some things you would expect to ses ifsomeone had five drinks..." go down the line and adda drink with each juror until you get to 8 or 9drinks. On crossing the tech supervisor, get them toget the number of drinks up as high as they will go. You can usually get them to extrapolate up based onyour client's answers at the scene. Get the BAC attime of driving up to .18 or .19 if you can. Then getthem to convert that to standard drinks. In yourclosing, I like to brink cups in and line them upalong the jury box as I talk about the client'sappearance. And ask them whether they beleive theireyes and common sense, or the number the government'smachine prints out on a piece of paper. In void direa simple analogy is "You place a thermometer in yourchild's mouth and it says 103, but they are notfeeling bad and their forehead is not even warm... areyou going to call an ambulance, or use use anotherthermometer?" You build on this angle by bringing outthe failure of the BTO to offer a blood test toconfirm the BT (statutory right the Defendant has, butcop doesn't have to tell them) or their failure tocapture the breath sample for retesting in a forensiclab. 

Buying a new car! This case is like buying a new car. The state is the salesman, the car is guilt. You don't buy a new car without test driving it, lifting the hood, kicking the tires etc. The only way that you can buy this car is if the salesman convinces you to buy it without having buyers remorse (i.e reasonable doubt)...

"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we want you to go back there and create a pro's and con's list on why Jim Beam should or should not be convicted. Take your time, and come up with an exhaustive list. Now, when you're finished, every thing you have listed that Mr. Beam did good on is a reasonable doubt."

Ladies and gentlemen, how can I best get you to understand all this high tech, legal mumble jumble so that you can make the right decision in this case. I thought about it long and hard and I realized that I needed to give you a real life example so that you can make a meaningful connection to this case. •This case is like a sale of a house.  •Think of the D.A.'s case as a house that they are trying to sell you. They are in essence telling you to buy this conviction. They are telling that everything is there for you to buy this conviction, similar to them telling you to buy this house. The D.A. claims it is a perfect house.  •Who is the owner of the house? The police officer is the owner. •The D.A. is the real estate agent hired by the owner of the house. Just like the real estate agent gets a commission (money), here the D.A also wants his commission (a conviction). •Through out this trial the D.A. (real estate agent) who wants to make her/his commission, has told you that there is no reasonable doubt that the cop's house is a perfect house. •Now, before you buy the house, one of the most important person you will rely on in buying your house is an inspector. •Well, I am the inspector and I will walk you through this house that the real estate agent told you was perfect. You will soon find out that the house is in a gang and rat infested neighborhood (badly trained officers). There is no water pressure (badly administered FSTs), it has termites (improperly administered the breath test). I will show you that the skylights are actually holes in the roof. That the shiny paint, is actually shiny because it is full of lead. •While I go through each part of the house that I claim has problems, I equate it with each section of the case. For example, bad grading or evaluation of the fsts is like having no water pressure, improper report writing is like having a leaky roof, improperly administered breath test, (no 15 minute observation) is like having termites throughout the house and so on and so forth. 

I often ask the venire "who here is familiar with the image of the blindfolded lady justice holding up the scales?" When they all raise their hands, I say, "That isn't what this case is about. That image is about civil cases, where people are fighting about money, and whoever has a slightly stronger case wins."
"This case is a criminal case, and this is a better image: We're going to pile up all of the state's evidence, and see if it comes to a certain mark on the wall. That mark is the point at which there is no reasonable theory of innocence. If the state's evidence doesn't come to that mark.... if they haven't eliminated every reasonable theory of innocence, then you must vote not guilty."

Preponderance--means they can take money from youClear and convincing evidence--means they can take your children away from youProof BARD--means that they can convict you of a crime

   In order for you to convict my client you've gotta be 100% free of reasonable doubt One reason = it sets a specific tangible number they've got to achieve Another reason is the (D) ipshit (A) sshole will (at least in my cases) stand up an object to that characterization - then the judge shuts them down and explains that I right and nothing I have said misstates the law - so the dynamic is the prosecutor looks like an idiot, the judge gives you credibility and you get a 5-10 second break watching this unravel and you the DA nows has highlighted the 100% free of reasonable doubt which I will then highlight again.... AS I HAVE CORRECTLY STATED PLEASE ALLLOW ME TO RESTATE THE LAW LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, you have to be 100% free of reasonable doubt any reasonable doubt entitles my client to justice on so on...