Standard Objections An attorney can object any time she or he thinks the opposing attorney is violating the rules

of evidence. The attorney may object to questions that the other side’s attorney is asking, to answers that a witness is giving, or to exhibits that the other side is attempting to admit into evidence. Generally attorneys are not allowed to object to opening statements or closing arguments. The attorney wishing to object should stand up and do so at the time of the violation. Only one attorney should stand and object at a time. The attorney assigned to do the direct or cross-examination of a particular witness should be the only attorney able to raise objections when the opposing side conducts its examination of that witness. Once an objection has been made, the witness should stop talking until the objection has been resolved. When an objection is made, the judge will ask the reason for the objection. The objecting attorney should state what specific rule of evidence is being violated. Then the judge will turn to the other attorney who asked the question or offered the exhibit, and that attorney usually will have a chance to explain why the objection should not be accepted (that is, should be “overruled”) by the judge. The judge will then decide whether the question, answer, or exhibit must be discarded because it has violated a rule of evidence (“Objection sustained”) or whether to allow the question, answer, or exhibit to become part of the trial record (“Objection overruled”). If the objection has been overruled, the attorney asking the question should persevere and ask the question again to ensure that the witness gets to answer the question or the exhibit gets admitted into evidence. Many times once the objection is overruled, the attorney doesn’t follow up and pursue the issue. When judges rule against attorneys, attorneys should take the ruling gracefully, not making facial expressions or gestures that show the ruling affected them. Similarly, attorneys pleased with a ruling should not thank the judge for it. When objections are sustained, attorneys should move on to another question and end their questioning on a strong note. If the judge has overruled an objection by an attorney, that attorney should not be afraid to object to another question. OBJECTIONS Ambiguous, Confusing, Misleading, Vague, Objection Your Honor, the question is (confusing) (ambiguous) (vague) (misleading) Any of these is the proper objection to a question not posed in a clear and precise manner so that the witness knows with certainty what information is being sought. Argumentative Objection, the question is argumentative

Questions that assume facts are permitted only under cross-examination. Questions may also not be argumentative in tone or manner. the witness shouldn't draw conclusions. but rather present facts. expert witnesses present conclusions. but most courts will sustain an objection if the question has been asked two or three times. Questions during redirect cannot go beyond the scope of cross. and usually to impeach a witness' credibility. Asked and Answered Objection. and re-cross must be related to information gathered during direct examination. often in an attempt to get the witness to change their mind. . the question has already been asked and answered Lawyers will often try to emphasize a point by repeating the question that elicited a crucial answer. Your Honor. While attorneys questioning the other side’s witnesses can be forceful and pressing. the question introduces inadmissible prejudicial evidence Most any line of questioning which would unduly prejudice or inflame the jury is inadmissible. For example. and questions during re-cross cannot go beyond the scope of redirect. However. if they go too far a judge will sustain an objection for being argumentative. Also known as "badgering" the witness. Asking a Question which Introduces Prejudicial or Inflammatory Evidence Objection. this is beyond the scope of the direct Permissible questions during cross. For example.An argumentative question is where counsel states a conclusion and then asks the witness to argue with it. Some limited repetition is allowed. Attorneys cannot badger or argue with the witness. Normally. redirect. the court might allow the statement that "the car was going too fast" instead of requiring "the car was going very fast". a series of questions which create the impression that the defendant has a long history of prior criminal conduct. Assumes Facts Not in Evidence Objection. and so on. counsel's question call for a conclusion Conclusions regarding the end result of reasoning flowing from a series of facts are left to the jury. the question assumes facts not in evidence This objection is used when the introductory part of a question assumes the truth of a material fact that is in dispute. Badgering is harassing or asking again and again. and lay witnesses are allowed to under certain conditions. Beyond the Scope Objection. Calls for a Conclusion Objection.

Hearsay Objection. Your Honor. . Lack of Personal Knowledge “Objection. and greater freedom is allowed with expert witnesses. That a witness may repeat a statement made by either party in the case if the statement contains evidence that goes against his or her side. it is confusing as to which part of the question is being answered. The witness has no personal knowledge that would enable him or her to answer this question. Statements that are made outside of the courtroom are usually not allowed as evidence if they are offered in court to show that the statements are true. If a person’s state of mind at the time of a certain event is important. knowledge. or belief will be admissible. but it exists because second-hand statements are unreliable and cannot be tested by cross-examination. Attorneys cannot ask questions that get witnesses to guess at answers. the question calls for hearsay Hearsay is a statement made by someone other than the witness testifying and offered to prove its own truth.” Compound Question Objection. compound question A compound question asks two or more separate questions within the framework of a single question. There are exceptions to the hearsay rule.” The witness is testifying to things that the witness has not directly seen. The witness is creating material fact that is not in the record. Two of the most common are a. heard.Calls for Speculation Objection. or experienced. Some leeway is allowed for the witness to use their own words. although witnesses can add minor details. Your Honor. The most common hearsay problem arises when a witness is asked to tell what another person said to him or her. calls for speculation Anything that invites a witness to guess is objectionable. Generally reserved for situations if the witness answers "No". Speculation as to what possibly could have happened is of little probative value. use the following objection: “Objection. An opposing witness cannot create new facts that would change the outcome of the case. There are many exceptions to the hearsay rule. OR b. If the attorney believes a witness has gone beyond the information provided and is providing new information that is totally out of character and will change the outcome of the trial. any statements made about that event at the time the event occurred concerning the speaker’s intent.

"You were at the victim's home that night. and better than question and answer. Leading questions are permitted under certain circumstances. There are times when a narrative is appropriate. if paid. Relevance Objection. to establish an issue of fact. usually in cross-examination. Or. . or poor recall witnesses. Expert witnesses may give opinions. the witness hasn't been sufficiently qualified as an expert. Opinion of an Unqualified Witness Objection. Objection. or adverse witness. Narrative Objection. e. insufficient foundation. Beyond the usual method of pointing out contradictory evidence. and with any hostile. Opinion testimony is proper only in the area of expertise or specialized knowledge that an expert witness is qualified in. by any natural pattern of inference. stands to gain. weren't you?” The lawyer should not be doing the testifying. A leading question suggests the answer one expects to hear. evasive. counsel's question calls for an improper opinion.. with young. counsel's question calls for a narrative This is used when there is danger of a witness running away with their story.g. (2) Poor character. opinions will not be allowed. if they explain the basis for the opinion. with expert witnesses. for honesty or veracity. the objection is to prevent inadmissible evidence from pouring out before counsel has a chance to object. sobriety. which is called “laying a foundation. Something is irrelevant if it does not serve. or to start pouring out their testimony.” An expert witness is someone who by training or experience has special knowledge in the case. time. Unless it is within the common experience of people to form an opinion on the subject. Objection. the question calls for an irrelevant answer. Or. the question is leading. but in this case. there are generally 5 WAYS TO IMPEACH a witness: (1) bias or prejudice. old. a friend or rival.Leading Objection. speed. The court is bound by efficiency and must prevent distractions on extraneous issues that do not have a relationship to the trial. Lay witnesses may give opinions only when their perception is helpful to the jury. distance.

(4) Poor memory. . or tampering are improper. and (5) Prior inconsistent statement. if less than 10 years ago. but only if an important fact. such as saying they worked that day. then later saying they had the day off. if lack ability to observe.(3) Conviction. remember. contamination. unsubstantiated attempts to overturn the presumption of regularity that imply substitution. or recount. With expert witnesses. beyond the usual method of attacking credentials.

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