The feeling of knowing that the trial is going to be fair because it is not based on one individual’s decision gives the defendant the confidence they need to face the judicial system. The jury, therefore, provides the primary strength during a trial because they act as a check to free prosecutorial power. They are responsible for not only hearing the provided evidence, but also weighing whether they are satisfactory enough to render the defendant guilty (FindLaw, n.d). However, before the trial begins, the jurors are informed about the case, a process which is known as the opening statements. It means that the purpose of the opening statement is to present all the necessary facts to the jury which will then be proved by the evidence from all the parties involved in the trial. There is a specific order through which the opening statements have to be presented to the jury.
First, the statement has to be short but provides a clear picture regarding the case such as the participants, the disputes, the contentions and instrumentalies. The interest of the jurors is then aroused by the evidence from the lawyers and attorneys available. The next step involves the defense team presenting their case but just as a way to alert the juror regarding the thoughts they have regarding the issue at hand. There are cases where the burden of proof is held by the government which limits the defendant to prove their innocence (Versacomp, n.d). The order of opening statement is fair but, the fact that the burden of proof relies on the government limits their power for their verdict to be properly implemented.
It is important to note that though the opening statement is significant because it informs the jurors regarding the hearing, the trial cannot be won or lost at this stage of the proceedings. It is because the statement is brief and cannot be argued regardless of the evidence that is provided by the defendant. The major improvements that can be made in the opening statements to ensure that the truth is attained throughout the trial process are by allowing the parties involved to persuade the juror with their evidences. The lawyers should be given a chance to not only present their theory but, also to plead with the juror to understand the important facts that may favor them. The action of allowing the attorneys to argue their cases in the opening statements should be allowed. It is the best way to ensure that truth is presented to the juror based on the facts that are available at that particular period. In summary, the truth in a case can only be achieved in a trial when the jurors are given the prosecutorial power. An opening statement gives the juror an overview of what to expect from the case that is to be debated before a verdict is made.
FindLaw. (n.d).What is the role of a jury in a criminal case? Retrieved from http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-law-basics/what-is-the-role-of-a-jury-in-a-criminal-case.html
Versacomp (n.d). Opening statement. Retrieved from http://www.law.indiana.edu/instruction/tanford/web/reference/04open.pdf