Opening Statements

     In Texas jury selection, attorneys give generally give opening statements after jury selection and before evidence is actually submitted to the jury.  The purpose of an opening statement is to show the jury what the “evidence will show”.  The rules about what might be said during an opening statement are much more strict than during closing argument.

     However, even though the rules about opening statements are stricter than the rules about closing arguments, that does not mean that an attorney should dryly recite facts to the jury in a plain and boring manner.  The opening statement provides an excellent opportunity to provide the jury with an idea about the facts that you think are important in a case.  Opening statements also provide an opportunity to help the jury understand how the bits and pieces of the case that they are about to hear will fit together.  This can be important because the evidence in a case does not always get presented to the jury in a clean or logical manner.

     In Texas, the defense can choose to give an opening statement at the beginning of the case or before they have an opportunity to put on their case.  This is true in both civil and criminal cases.  Generally, most attorney believe that it is most advantageous to give the defense opening as quickly as possible so that jurors have a chance to hear “the other side of the story” as quickly as possible.