Stephen G. Cobb - Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

Jury Trial Procedure By The Defense And How The Legal System Is Rigged


Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

Now that the state has closed their case, the defense can begin and there is a little bit of a wrinkle I did not cover earlier that I will cover now. At the beginning of the trial, after the state has made an opening statement, the defense does have an option to give an opening statement, waive opening statement, or reserve opening statement until the beginning of the defense’s case. Now, if the defense is calling witnesses, they may want to reserve. It is very rare that the defense would waive it and normally, they do their opening statement immediately after the state. However, at this juncture, let’s say for example that that first one was done and the defense will then start doing exactly what the prosecution did. They will start calling witnesses.

Now, if the defense does not want to call witnesses and wants to rely on the state’s witnesses to beat them at their own case, then they will not call any witnesses, they will announce that they rest, the jury will leave the courtroom and then there will be a second motion for a judgment of acquittal. Think of it again as a dismissal. And the judge will hear it and let’s say that the judge denies it, then it is going to go towards the jury. At this point, the rule of how juries are given closing argument really will give you an idea as to how rigged the legal system is. For 148 years, Florida had a rule that is set if the defense puts on no evidence other than the defendant testifying, they put on no evidence other than that, then the defense does closing argument, the state does closing argument and then, the defense has rebuttal.

In fact, by act of the legislature, that is no longer the law. A procedural right that was given to defendants where both sides basically, depending on the trial, got a shot to go first and last was eliminated to favor the government in every case. Why was this done long before the “MeToo” movement? It was hard to get a fair trial in a sex offense case. And I have maintained for years that you just cannot get a fair trial in a sex offense case. You can get it as fair as you possibly can but is it really fair? No. Now, after the MeToo movement, absolutely not.

Writers are out talking about the presumption of victim credibility, there is no such thing, it does not exist. But it exists in popular culture, therefore it exists in people’s minds and going back to an earlier video where we were talking about this, what matters the most, facts and information or what people believe someone who is prone to be in favor of convictions, who is prone to believe in this credibility of accusers, that is a real problem for lawyers in all kinds of cases especially sex offense cases. But be that as it may, as it is now, the system is rigged in such a manner to where in every case, the state of Florida goes first, the defense gets to do a closing argument, and then the state of Florida gets rebuttal. That is in every single case. Does this affect how juries vote? Absolutely. If it did not, the legislature would not have changed the law. And so, where we are today at this particular point in time, it is probably the hardest that it has ever been within the state of Florida for somebody to get a fair trial.

And this is one of the reasons why the system is the secret and this is why we use trial teams and why we use an entire legal team in order to help you or someone you love if they have to take their case to trial.

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

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Stephen G. Cobb, Esq.

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