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Presenting the “one-eyed frog” closing argument at a DUI trial

Using anecdotes

In presenting the defendant’s closing argument at a drunk driving trial, a skilled DUI attorney can use anecdotes to illustrate concepts for the jury. A bland recital of drunk driving law and legal defenses might put some jurors to sleep. But a good anecdote can capture the interest of the jurors and focus their attention on key aspects of the case. Of course, the experienced DUI lawyer will select the right anecdote to fit the facts of a particular DWI arrest.

The “one-eyed frog” anecdote

An example of a simple anecdote that a DUI defense attorney can use effectively during closing argument is the story of the one-eyed frog. This story illustrates the defense argument that when the prosecution witnesses were forced to testify about all the evidence, and not just the selected evidence that the prosecution wants to present, reasonable doubt exists about the defendant’s guilt. Here is how the DUI lawyer can use this anecdote:

“Ladies and gentlemen, the prosecution witnesses you heard testify about my client John Davis’ intoxication remind me of the story of the one-eyed frog. The one-eyed frog was a real nasty creature who lived in a swamp with a number of other animals. All of the other animals who lived in or around the swamp didn’t really like the one-eyed frog, but they tolerated him because they felt badly for him because he had to wear a patch over his right eye.

One day when all the animals were at the swamp, the one-eyed frog was being particularly nasty, insulting and close-minded. He would never listen to or tolerate the other animals’ views. As he was making some particularly offensive comments to some of the animals, he tripped and fell, and when he did, the patch over his right eye came off. To the astonishment of the other animals, the one-eyed frog had two eyes and both seemed to be working just fine.

The animals who for so long had put up with the one-eyed frog asked him why for so many years he had covered his right eye with a patch. The one-eyed frog answered that he had covered his right eye because without the patch he would have to keep both eyes open, see the world and the facts as they really are as opposed to how he would like to see them, and that if he saw all the facts, he’d have to see the truth, and the truth wasn’t always in his best interest.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, the prosecution witnesses are like that one-eyed frog. In their direct testimony, they kept that patch over their right eye, they saw only what they wanted to see, and they gave you only one side of the story. On cross-examination we took away that patch and forced them to open up their eyes, to fill in the missing pieces of their direct testimony and to tell you the whole truth. It wasn’t pleasant for them, just like it wasn’t pleasant for the one-eyed frog, because the whole truth and all the facts aren’t in the state’s interest. Let’s recount what the complete picture, and all the facts show in this case….”

The DUI attorney can then remind the jurors of points made during cross-examination which were helpful to the defense case and which can establish reasonable doubt.

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Drunk Driving Library

Trial strategy
Client Testimony
Cross-examination of the arresting officer on field sobriety tests
Closing Arguments
Frequently Asked Questions
Trial Strategy
Client Testimony
Cross-Examination of the Arresting Officer on Field Sobriety Tests
Closing Arguments
Frequently Asked Questions