Can you present evidence during an opening statement? 51 Answers as of June 09, 2013

Can you present evidence at an opening statement. For example, a 911 call of someone?

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Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
The purpose of opening statements is to give a preview of the case and what you think the evidence will or will not show and what evidence you think will or will not be admitted. It is not a proper time to present evidence and making arguments is forbidden. You could ask the judge permission to present a piece of evidence that you believe will definitely be admitted later in the trial I supposed, but this is risky being that if it is never admitted, you look like a liar and a mistrial is almost guaranteed. You would be limited in what you could do with it anyway because you could not make any legal arguments regarding it. Simply strict to offering a preview of your case during openings.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/24/2011
Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
During opening statement no evidence is presented. Your lawyer can advise the jury of what he believes the evidence will show but opening statement is not the time to present the evidence. The evidence is presented only from the witness stand during the trial.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/16/2011
Law Office of Andrew Subin
Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
Your opening statement describes what the evidence is going to show. You probably would not be able to play a 911 for the jury until it was admitted at evidence during trial (in other words, after opening statement).
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/15/2011
Law Office of Richard Williams
Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
Opening statements are where you advise the jury of what you expect the eveidence to be in the case no evidence is presented and no recording should be played.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 8/15/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
No, not during opening argument. Opening argument is supposed to be a summation, it is not an opportunity to present evidence and in fact, there is no witness, so how would you even expect to prove up the recording without a sponsor.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 8/15/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    Opening statements, like closing statements, are not evidence itself only testimony and documents and pictures and other objects that are admitted by the court are evidence. However an attorney in opening statements can and should mention the evidence that they intend to try to get admitted in order to support their case. This also is true for closing statements. But you do not offer evidence in opening or closing statements.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/13/2011
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law | Eric James Schurman
    Generally, no..... you don't "present evidence" in opening statements.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/13/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    An opening statement is just that, an opening statement. It is not evidence and evidence is not introduced in an opening statement as there is no witness by which the evidence could be introduced.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    If you are talking about a criminal trial, no, you can not present evidence during an opening statement. Evidence is presented after the opening statement.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    You cannot present evidence (e.g. Play the 911 tape) in your opening statement but you can refer to it by telling the jury, "you will hear a 911 tape on which you will hear...... ". This is dependent on the 911 tape being otherwise admissible as evidence later on in the trial.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    You can talk about it and possibly play it if the judge lets but the proper place is at the time for presenting evidence.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law | Michael R. Nack
    So, are you representing yourself? If you don't know even the most basic concepts about evidence and trial, how do you plan on winning your case? If you are charged with a crime, you need to hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    Evidence is not presented in opening argument. However, reference as to what the evidence will show can. Therefore, reference to a 911 call can be made in an opening statement. This can be dangerous for the prosecutor, because if it is referenced in opening, but later it is not introduced, this, under certain circumstances, could be cause for a mistrial.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    The Law Office of B. Elaine Jones
    The Law Office of B. Elaine Jones | B. Elaine Jones
    In my opinion, a 911 tape could be played during an opening statement. The Judge is supposed to advise the jury prior to opening statements that opening statements are not evidence. It might be somewhat unusual to play the 911 tape in the opening statment but I thind that it is permissible to do so.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    No, you must wait until it is your turn to testify, which is after the prosecution has presented their case-in-chief. I am assuming you are the defendant in the matter. Your attorney should be able to instruct you fully on the procedure of trial well before your court date is set for trial. Do not represent yourself, have counsel with you.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Law Offices of James A Bates
    Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
    I would not try that without the judge's permission.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
    This answer does not contain specific legal advice. If you need specific legal advice, please consult privately with an attorney. Speaking generally, "evidence," i.e., trial exhibits, witness testimony, etc., needs to be submitted into evidence and admitted by the court in order to be introduced into the court proceedings, so generally, the answer to the first question is no, with one key exception. If the court has already ruled that the evidence is admissible at a previous hearing, then yes, it is possible to introduce "evidence" (i.e., trial exhibits) as part of opening statement. You often see "evidence" in closing statements since, by that stage, the evidence has already been introduced and accepted by the court. Generally, though, "opening statements" are not considered "evidence" or "proofs" and the jury will be instructed to limit their value somewhat. A good "opening statement" generally, portrays the road-map for a a party's case. There is a lot of case-law regarding appropriate opening and closing statements, so the parties need to be careful how they present these portions of their respective cases. You need to consult with your attorney if you have one. Every case is different.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    The English Law Firm
    The English Law Firm | Robert English
    The opening statement is a road map of the case. Generally speaking, you don't actually introduce the evidence at that time, but you may refer to evidence that you intend to produce during your case. For example - "the evidence in this case will show that the victim made a 911 call to the police which demonstrated her fear of the attacker."
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    An opening statement is expected to be an outline of the evidence you expect will be presented at trial. In respect to 911 tapes, the best practice would be prior to jury selection to have an evidentiary hearing to determine if the 911 recording will be admitted into evidence and whether the recording (if admitted) will be admitted in its entirety or be offered with some redactions. If the 911 tape is admitted, I see no reason as long as you have a good faith basis to believe you can overcome any foundational objections not to play the tape during the opening.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    If the judge allows it. Opening statement is to lay out what evidence will come in during the trial. If the judge permits a 911 call to be played in opening statement, it can be done.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    No, but the lawyer can state that the evidence that they will show.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Law Offices of Sean Logue
    Law Offices of Sean Logue | Sean Logue
    You can summarize the evidence you plan to present. The opening statement is more a preview.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin | Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    It depends. An opening statement is not legallysupposed to include presenting evidence. However a trial usually starts with motions on issues of what evidence will come in and what evidence is not admissable. Assuming that the court has ruled the 911 tape admissable, or that all parties stipulate that it is admissable, and the party playing the tape is ultimately going to be able to play the tape (has laid a sufficient evidentiary foundation), the court may allow that party to play the tape in his opening statement. strictly speaking, opening statement is not for putting on evidence. However, in modern trials, where juries expect to see multimedia presentations, items of evidence that have been determined admissable are sometimes "previewed" in an opening statement.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    No. It is an initial explanation of what the jury can expect to hear.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Yes you can with the court's permission as long as the evidence is admissible.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    No. In an opening statement you can tell the judge and/or jury what you intend to prove. But, none of that is evidence.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    You can describe the evidence that you expect to be introduced during the trial, but you cannot enter evidence during an opening statement. I suggest you consult a local Criminal Defense attorney to discuss your case in greater detail and learn all of your rights and options. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    It depends, if tape was admitted as full exhibit by agreement then yes it could be played. If it is not objected to it can come in. Technically the contents can be described but I don't think the tape should be played.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    Generally not. The proper foundation has to be laid for the admissibility of any evidence. This generally happens during the actual case when the respective parties present their cases and their supporting evidence.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    The opening statement is not for presenting evidence. You can only present evidence in your case in chief in the opening you tell a story of what you want the jury to look for in the trial. This is your side of what happened. You can tell about the 911 call and then have it played during the trial as evidence.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    In general, yes. That item should be admissible in the trial itself to do that, so a pretrial motion to seek introduction (assuming proper foundation is laid for it) is probably the safest route.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    If one is absolutely sure that the 911 call will be admitted into evidence it is possible to discuss it in opening statement. While it may be legally possible to do so, it may not be a good idea in practice. There are many things to consider when making this type of decision.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Harrison & Harrison
    Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
    No. Opening statements are used to give the judge or jury an idea of what the case is about and what the parties believe they can prove.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Sometimes yes. It is common for 911 tapes to be played during opening statements, as long as the Judge has already ruled that the tape, in all likelihood, will be admissible during the trial.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Law Office of Jamie Balagia
    Law Office of Jamie Balagia | Will Mitchell
    Opening Statements are not evidence and are not for the introduction of evidence. Openings are just an explanation of the party believes the evidence will show during the course of a trial. Lawyers have to be careful not to overpromise during openings, juries expect there will be evidence of everything stated during openings.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    Maybe. It's up to the judge, who has a lot of latitude on this sort of thing. In theory, opening statement is to explain what the evidence will be, rather than to offer evidence, but that rule is honored more in the breach than the observance.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    We strongly recommend that you retain a criminal defense attorney to help you. This is an example of how an attorney's experience is critical in a criminal trial. In other words, lawyers know the rules of evidence and can best advise as to trial strategies, too. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Hedges & Tumposky
    Hedges & Tumposky | Michael Tumposky
    You can present during opening it if it will also come in during the trial.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Ramsell & Associates LLC
    Ramsell & Associates LLC | Donald Ramsell
    The purpose of an opening statement is discuss the evidence that you expect will be presented at trial. So the short answer is, yes you can discuss a 911 call if you expect it will be admissible at trial, unless the court orders otherwise.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Opening statement is argument of counsel of what the evidence will be, normally. Not likely a court would not all evidence at that time. Normally play tapes etc. in the presentation of the evidence.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Watkins Law Office
    Watkins Law Office | Bob Watkins
    You can refer to it but it is not "presented". Opening statements are not evidence but merely an opportunity for the lawyer to tell the jury what the case is about and what they can expect in the way of evidence.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    No. In an opening statement you state to the jury or judge what you believe the evidence will show and what you believe witnesses will testify to.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    The purpose of an opening statement is to make a preliminary statement to the jury as to how you would like the jury to consider your case. No evidence is offered at that time.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Christopher Lee
    Depends on what the opening statement is for. Is this for a bench trial? A motion hearing? A jury trial? Usually an opening statement is a roadmap of what is at issue. And the road map will contain information such as what the "evidence will show." Therefore, it is likely permissible, in your situation, to mention that a 911 call exists. However, actually playing the 911 in its entirety during your opening statement without any other foundation may be objectionable.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/12/2011
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    An opening statement is not the time to present evidence. That generally happens later, when calling witnesses to testify, etc.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/12/2011
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