Massachusetts Criminal Procedure Rule 24: Opening Statements; Arguments; Instructions to Jury
(Applicable to Superior Court and jury sessions in District Court)
(a) Opening and Closing Statements; Arguments.
(1) Order of Presentation. The Commonwealth shall present its opening statement first. The defendant may present an opening statement of his defense after the opening statement of the Commonwealth or after the close of the Commonwealth's evidence. The defendant shall present his closing argument first.
(2) Time Limitation. Counsel for each party shall be allowed fifteen minutes for an opening statement and thirty minutes for argument; but before the opening or the argument commences, the judge, on motion or sua sponte, may reasonably reduce or extend the time.
(b) Instructions to Jury; Objection. At the close of the evidence or at such earlier time during the trial as the judge reasonably directs, any party may file written requests that the judge instruct the jury on the law as set forth in the requests. The judge shall inform counsel of his proposed action upon requests prior to their arguments to the jury. No party may assign as error the giving or the failure to give an instruction unless he objects thereto before the jury retires to consider its verdict, specifying the matter to which he objects and the grounds of his objection. Upon request, reasonable time shall be given to each party to object to the charge before the jury retires. Where either party wishes to object to the charge or to request additional instructions, the objection or the request shall be made out of the hearing of the jury, or where appropriate, out of the presence of the jury.