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Closing Arguments

Closing arguments in a jury trial is often the best time an attorney can persuade the jury. The evidence has been heard and there is an opportunity for an attorney, unlike when examining a witness on direct or cross-examination, to directly tell the jury (or judge) why the evidence justifies a decision in one party’s favor.

Attorneys are given quite a bit of flexibility in making closing arguments. “[T]he permissible field of argument is broad, and so long as counsel does not go beyond the evidence and the issues drawn by the instructions, or urge prejudicial matters, or a claim or defense which the evidence and issues drawn by the instructions do not justify, [an attorney] is permitted wide latitude in his [or her] comments.” Peterson v. Progressive Contractors, Inc., 399 S.W.3d 850, 856 (Mo. Ct. App. 2013). At the same time, though, misstatements of law are impermissible during closing argument and the court has a duty to restrain and correct and such arguments. Id. . In summary, then, the Court should only prohibit arguments in closing argument which misrepresent the evidence or the law, introduce irrelevant prejudicial matters, or otherwise tend to confuse the jury. Id.

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