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DNA - A Prosecutor’s Practice Notebook Inventory

Content of the Opening Statement

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In an opening statement, prosecutors should tell jurors that they will hear evidence from a DNA expert about the DNA typing performed, and how the typing results support the victim's disclosure and connect the defendant to the crime. During opening, the prosecutor does not know what damage the defense attorney may do during cross-examination of the state's DNA analyst or what concessions may be obtained; therefore, the prosecutor should avoid overstating the forensic evidence.

When prosecutors move from the interactive format of voir dire to the formal presentation of their opening, describing the state's burden of proof and attribution of the defendant's accountability, they must be forceful and powerful. The prosecutor must capture the jury's attention within the first minute of the opening statement. The prosecutor's delivery and body language should heighten the jury's focus on this critical phase of the trial.

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