"Framing Your Case" with Pro-Prosecution Themes
Updated: Apr 14
By Clayton T. Robertson (RobertsonLitigation.com) (Criminal Defense Attorney)
I've always believed that if you can "frame" your case -- or significant parts of your case -- around themes typically used by the prosecution, you can appeal to pro-prosecution jurors (while still not alienating core pro-defense jurors):
- Playing by the rules (e.g., applies to situations in which law enforcement credibility is at stake, as it often is, such as when officers don't follow their departments' policies and procedures).
- Taking responsibility (e.g., asking an officer or detective whether they take responsibility for the errors in their investigation or their lack of thoroughness, etc.).
- Threatening public safety (e.g., when law enforcement fails to play by the rules, they ultimately threaten public safety).
- Seeking justice (e.g., when law enforcement doesn't do their job, they put innocent people in jail).
- Protecting personal liberties (e.g., when law enforcement conducts an incomplete investigation, they create doubt in our system of justice and endanger our personal liberties).
By using "law-and-order" themes, you can show jurors who typically incline towards the prosecution that they are acting consistent with their values if they vote to acquit your client.