Prosecutor Pointers

(April 24, 2023, 3:40 PM EDT) -- As broader societal trends like political polarization, the spread of misinformation and rapid technological advances increasingly enter the courtroom, trial attorneys may need to adapt their approach. In this Expert Analysis series, prosecutors share practice tips — some time-tested, some newly updated — for every stage of the jury trial, from voir dire to closing statements.

May 15
Get Comfortable With Cross-Examination
As society becomes increasingly polarized, prosecutors may be more uncomfortable than ever with the contentious nature of cross-examination, but a few key strategies can help one to confidently maneuver the leading questions cross requires, says Maryland prosecutor Brett Engler.

May 8
Make Time For Expert Witness Prep
As evidence analysis techniques become more scientifically advanced, prosecutors should invest ample time and follow a preparation checklist so that pretrial meetings with expert witnesses are efficient and productive, culminating in a persuasive and understandable presentation at trial, says Illinois state prosecutor Amy Watroba.

May 1
Persuade Jury While Admitting Evidence
When seeking to admit evidence, prosecutors can use foundational questions to move beyond bare-bones legal requirements and teach the jury about what it means to be discerning fact-finders — especially important in a time of misinformation, when most jurors struggle to accurately evaluate evidence, says Seattle-based prosecutor Raam Wong.

April 24
Open A Trial With Dramatic Storytelling
As today's jurors expect Jack McCoy-style district attorneys and "CSI" forensics, prosecutors should embrace the role of storyteller during opening statements with vivid sensory descriptions and a bit of drama — while also mitigating negative information, tempering preconceived notions and building trust, says Florida state prosecutor Justin Griffis.

April 17
Soliciting Self-Disclosure In Voir Dire
As cultivating challenges for cause becomes increasingly important in voir dire, prosecutors can make prospective jurors feel comfortable enough to share sensitive information by demonstrating authentic attention, affirmation and admiration, says California prosecutor Wendy Patrick.

The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of their employer, its clients, or Portfolio Media Inc., or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.

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