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Free Study Guide-Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson-Book Notes
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CHAPTER 29

Summary

In his closing statement, Alvin Hooks characterizes Kabuo as a cold-blooded murder driven by hatred and desperation. Hooks relates a version of the incident in which Kabuo trails Carl, pretends his own boat is in trouble, and lures Carl to his death. He asks the jury to consider their duty.

Nels Gudmundsson says that the state has not presented any evidence to show this was a premeditated murder. Nels states that there was reasonable doubt and that was all the jury needed. Nels than tells the jury that the state has presented them an argument based on prejudice. He reminds the jury that Kabuo fought for the United States. He wants them to see that his lack of emotion and silent pride is one of a war veteran who has returned home to be a victim of prejudice in a country he fought to defend. He asks that the jurors rely on reason and not on the forces of fate, coincidence, and accident that have conspired to bring Kabuo here. He also asks that they not let human frailty and irrational fears conspire toward injustice.


Before dismissing the jury for deliberation, Judge Fielding reminds they must find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. He also reminds them that the only charge here is murder in the first-degree and that requires planned intent, or premeditation. Lastly, he tells them to secure a verdict based on a comparison of their views, listen to one another, and be open minded.

Notes

The closing arguments and instructions to the jury reveal that true justice must meet certain requirements. In this case, the jury must decide beyond a reasonable doubt that Kabuo planned the murder of Carl Heine and that it was not a murder of opportunity if they believe it was murder at all. Justice also requires the stripping of prejudices and the ability to listen and be open minded. Alvin Hooks closing argument does not focus on the requirements of justice. It focuses on emotion and prejudice rather than facts. But, Nels and Judge Fielding want the jury to focus on the facts and their ability to reason and not prejudice and irrational fears.

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