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During my Bench Trial in Federal Court on a misdemeanor

charge of Simple Assault, I...
During my Bench Trial in Federal Court on a misdemeanor charge of Simple Assault, I testified in my own defense.
I would have made a more aggressive defense, but I thought certain points were best left for my lawyer's Closing Arguments.
Specifically, there were inconsistencies between the Police Report and the Plaintiff's and Police testimonies that would have
weakened the Prosecution's case.
Unfortunately, there were no Closing Arguments. I understand the lawyers can agree to waive Closing Arguments, but
I was never informed. The Judge made no mention of them in announcing his decision or at any other time during the Trial
and neither did my lawyer.
Aren't there supposed to be Closing Arguments in a Federal Bench Trial? And if there aren't any, shouldn't I have been
informed that there would be none?
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Answered in 1 minute by:
8/2/2017
Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 30,544
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Opening and closing arguments are not evidence. Evidence is what is put out there on direct and cross examination through witnesses on the stand. You cannot raise facts not in evidence in a closing argument, in any case. It would be objected to and you'd be stopped from making the point.

Typically with bench rather than jury trial, there's no need for closings, or closing can be as simple as, "The state did not meet its burden and I ask that you acquit my client."

The judge is a lawyer and trained to evaluate evidence. He can make the necessary connections and see for himself whether the state has proved all of the elements of the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt.

Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 30,544
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 30,544
30,544 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.

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The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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