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DNA - A Prosecutor’s Practice Notebook Inventory

Focus of the Opening Statement

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In addition to articulating the reality of the crime and the defendant's direct responsibility for it, a prosecutor should incorporate what is anticipated the defense will allege during the defense opening. If the expected defense in a sexual assault case is consent, the prosecutor's opening should focus on how the DNA evidence will corroborate a victim's account of the crime or directly establish the elements of the crime.

If the DNA evidence suggests a theme that will become the essence of the state's case, it should be introduced during the opening statement. Otherwise, the heartbeat of the case is the victim's disclosures and witness testimony. These should be emphasized and reinforced both in restatement and with supporting DNA evidence.

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