TIP 26: USE THE MAGIC PHRASE "DO YOU THINK IT'S JUST A COINCIDENCE THAT" TO HIGHLIGHT THE PROBABILITY OF THE CONDUCT AND/OR MENTAL STATE YOU ARE TRYING TO PROVE BASED ON CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE.
Suppose you want to emphasize the probability that a defendant, complainant, or other individual engaged in criminal conduct and/or acted with a culpable mental state, e.g., intentionally, knowingly, wilfully, maliciously, consciously disregarding a known risk, etc. One way to do so is to underscore that the antecedent actions of the person question would not have occurred in the way it did unless the actor had a culpable mental state and/or committed the criminal act that caused the social harm. This can be done by use of the rhetorical question, "Do you think it was just a coincidence that (recount all the cumulative factually compelling circumstances, e.g., 'one, two months before his wife Debbie, was shot to death in the kitchen of her home, the defendant purchased a two million dollar life insurance policy on Debbie's life and, two, that a month before the killing the defendant told his mistress that he would 'be coming into a lot of money soon and would be able to marry her' and, three, that the defendant secretly purchased an unregistered .38 caliber pistol from a convicted felon at local carwash and, four, that the defendant, for the first time in six years, gave the family housekeeper the weekend off, the very weekend that Debbie was shot in the head with a .38 caliber pistol, and, five, that in his voluntary statement to the police the defendant was unable to account for his whereabouts at the time of the killing, other than to say he had 'gone camping in the desert, etc.')." The "do you think it was just a coincidence" argument works nicely with a simultaneous PowerPoint slide display that presents each incriminating "coincidence." The visual can be presented in a time line of "coincidences" or in a simple list of "coincidences" or by circling or cornering a photo of the disputed event or the individual in question with the "coincidences."