My post for last week discussed opening statements and the propriety of arguing rather than simply stating facts. No such problem exists during closing arguments. But what is the rule about lodging objections during closing? To me, the first rule is to make sure that objecting during a closing is really warranted. Much of the time it is not. Beyond that, if you have a circumstance which requires an objection you can stand up and object any time you think there is an improper argument prejudicing your client. But, you can also appropriately wait until the conclusion of the argument to do so. Sturzenegger v. Father Flanagan’s Boys’ Home, 276 Neb. 327, 754 N.W.2d 406 (2008) (In order to preserve, as a ground of appeal, an opponent’s misconduct during closing argument, the aggrieved party must have objected to the improper remarks no later than at the conclusion of the argument). This rule seems to acknowledge that there is legitimate risk of the objector offending the jury by objecting during the closing argument of the opposing party.
Next week, I begin a five day jury trial in Douglas County, Nebraska, District Court. In my absence, one of our colleagues, Kara Jermain, has graciously agreed to provide a two part guest post with the first of the two parts posted next Thursday. She will discuss one of the most important concepts for businesses and individuals to keep in mind when memorializing negotiations in a written document. It is a concept known as parol evidence. Despite its name it has nothing to do with criminal conduct or time served. Read about it right here next week.