1. uscourtmartiallawyers175At its core, an argument is a claim supported by reasons. John D. Ramage & John C. Bean, Writing Arguments, 43 (1989).
  2. According to Black’s Law Dictionary, arguments are “the remarks of a counsel in analyzing and pointing out or repudiating a desired inference, for the assistance of a decision-maker.” Black’s Law Dictionary 102 (7th ed. 1999).
  3. These definitions are important for understanding the difference between opening statements and arguments. In opening statements, counsel comment on what the evidence is.  In argument, counsel comment on what the evidence means (what inferences should be drawn) and why this evidence is trustworthy or not.
  4. The rules reflect that distinction.
    1. Argument is not allowed in the opening statement. In opening statement, counsel should confine their remarks to evidence they expect to be offered and a brief statement of the issues in the case. R.C.M. 913(b) discussion.
    2. Argument is allowed on motions (R.C.M. 905(h)), findings (R.C.M. 919), and sentencing (R.C.M. 1001(g)).
  • Cross-reference: the Findings and Sentencing Outline and Evidence Outline.
    1. See those outlines for a complete discussion of matters that may be introduced by the parties and considered by the factfinder during the merits and presentencing proceedings.