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Sample Mock Trial Closing Argument for Burglary Case

Here is our second example of a mock trial closing argument that I wrote. The case involves an allegation of burglary, and the matter raises the question of mistaken identity and a coerced confession.

Defense Attorney's Closing:

Good afternoon. We thank you for your attention, for your service, and for your patience as we wind our way through this process.undefined
Have you ever mistaken one person for another? Have you ever thought you recognized someone, and it turned out to be a stranger? How many times? We call that mistaken identity. And you know what? That is what happened here. Mrs. Jackson saw someone that she thought was my client. This isn’t unusual, it happens every day, and it happened on June 19th. Because my client was 2 miles away. It was dark, it was rainy, and Mrs. Jackson’ ability to see what quite limited. She said the man she saw burglarizing her property was wearing a green hoodie. What was my client wearing when he was arrested 30 minutes after Mrs Jackson called 911? A red jacket. And the police said he was at a coffee shop and wasn’t even wet, as you would expect he would be if he just ran 2 miles.
Now the state has made much of the fact that my client “confessed.” But let’s look at that “confession.” We have a young man who was only 15 years old at the time, who was arrested at 10 at night. He was questioned over 4 hours, and was not allowed to call him mother or father. What was going on during that period of time? The police didn’t audio record the interrogation except for the last ten minutes. My client didn’t have the will to stand up against the pressure that was exerted on him, no 15-year-old would.
Ladies and Gentlemen, there simply is no physical evidence corroborating this “confession.” My client’s fingerprints were not found at the scene, and none of the stolen jewelry was found on my client’s person, nor in his house when the police searched it. It was rainy that day, you would think my client’s shoeprints would be found in the mud if he was there. But the police didn’t even look. They didn’t even care. Case closed. This was a rush to judgment on their part. My client deserves better. Mrs. Jackson deserves better. She should know who really took her property. The state has the burden of proof. That’s a high burden, but it is a burden that protects us all. We ask for a verdict of not guilty. Thank you.

Here is the Prosecutor's Response:

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury for your service here today. As I stated yesterday morning, in my opening statement, this is really a very simple case. The defendant burglarized Ms. Jackson’s house, she saw him do it, and he confessed to the crime. It is really that simple. We would ask for a verdict of guilty.undefined

The defense is arguing that there was some sort of rush to judgment in this case. That somehow the police singled the defendant out because they didn’t like him. In reality, they contacted him because Ms. Jackson identified him as the culprit. This is not a case of mistaken identity, either. Ms. Jackson pulled up her driveway, saw the defendant climbing out her window and he was fleeing the scene. It was, in fact, dark. It was, in fact, rainy. But we are talking a distance of less than 100 feet. You heard the 911 tape, did it sound like there was any hesitation in Ms. Jackson’s voice? Did she sound uncertain? The defense is asking you to believe that Mrs. Jackson shouldn’t believe her own eyes, that she was hallucinating or something.

The defendant’s claim that he was forced to confess is nonsense. Have you ever heard the expression that a case was a “he said she said”? That is not what this case is. Both the victim AND the defendant said they defendant committed the crime. Everyone agrees. But now, the defendant says he was coerced. But really he simply doesn’t want to be held accountable. This case is more a “defendant said versus defendant said” case. This police do not beat confessions out of people. They would have no reason to. The police simply asked the defendant for his side of what happened. That is their job. If they hadn’t asked for the defendant’s side of what happened, the defense counsel would jump all over that, and say the police investigation was one-sided. It is true that the defendant initially denied the burglary, but when the police asked further probing questions, and pointed out the holes in his story, the defendant confessed. That is not coercion, that is not intimidation. That is simply good police work. The defense makes much of the fact that the police sat down with the defendant for 4 hours. But there was no coercion. They testified that for much of that time they were talking about his family, his school, etc. That is not intimidation. That is simply rapport building.

Now the defense counsel argues that the police did a poor investigation, that they should have dusted the home for fingerprints. But why would they do that when the defendant had already confessed? In addition, the defendant’s prints would likely be present in the home anyway because he had been a guest in the home in the past. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a red herring. Don’t fall for it. We ask you for a verdict of guilty.

For more sample closing arguments see here.

For more mock trial info see our Mock Trial Homepage.

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