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For more than 150 years, Florida defense attorneys have had the last word with juries in noncapital criminal trials where their client was the only defense witness. But the Florida Supreme Court has sided with prosecutors and revised procedural rules to give the state the last word.

On Thursday, in a 5-2 vote, the high court amended the rules of criminal procedure. The new rule states that “in all criminal trials, excluding the sentencing phase of a capital case, at the close of all the evidence, the prosecuting attorney shall be entitled to an initial closing argument and a rebuttal closing argument.”

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