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Objection, Your Honor: What do they Mean?

Judith Boza - Teen Aspect - August 8th, 2022

The word "objection" serves as a traditional "own" in the courtroom, as shown in numerous dramatic legal television series and motion pictures. This phrase may be used to describe what many consider to be a tenacious defense from an opposing counsel. An objection is a formal protest raised in court during a trial to prohibit a witness' testimony or other evidence that is in violation of the rules of procedural law in the United States of America. If a judge sustains the objection, it implies that the judge agrees with the objection and rules that the inquiry, testimony, or evidence is invalid. When a judge overrules an objection, it implies that the judge disagrees with the objection and allows the inquiry, testimony, or evidence to proceed. Objections are more than simply a fiery retort, they govern what the jury is allowed to examine when deciding a case's verdict. I'll continue to outline some of the most crucial courtroom objections and explain how they affect the overall weight of the evidence presented during a trial.

1. Argumentative (611a)

This Objection is frequently raised when the witness is questioned in a way that the attorney's (or self-represented party's) interpretation of the evidence is intended to affect the witness' testimony. For example, if an attorney questions a witness by stating, “Do You expect this jury to believe that you got under your car, twice a week, every week, to check your brakes?” The words “you expect the jury to believe” makes the statement argumentative as the attorney is stating what the jury should be expected to believe about something.

2. Speculation (602; 701)

Because the evidence is not regarded as trustworthy or true, speculation is a legal foundation for opposing to witness testimony for reasons similar to the argumentative objection. The testimony of a witness is restricted to what they personally know about the events (estimating is allowed, but most opinions are not). Supposing anything is worse. It's prohibited and is similar to simply just guessing.

3. Lack of Foundation (602; 901a)

When a party questions a witness without demonstrating to the court why the witness is competent to respond, this is a classic example of a lack of basis objection. Prior to the question being acceptable, several fundamental preconditions may need to be met, such as personal experience and familiarity with the subject. When the examining attorney moves too quickly or neglects to ask opening questions to show the witness' knowledge with the facts, foundation objections may not be raised.

4. Non-responsive (611a)

When a witness is not appropriately replying to questions posed under oath in court, the non-responsive objection is frequently raised. When a witness sidesteps your question, rambles on incoherently, or provides testimony that goes outside the parameters of what you asked them, it is critical to use this evidentiary objection. These types of courtroom objections must be raised swiftly because the witness can unintentionally (or knowingly) utter anything damaging to your case. Fortunately, with a little tact, you can get damaging testimony expunged from the record.

5. Assumes Facts Not in Evidence (611a)

Foundation objections are closely connected to evidentiary objections, such as the assumption of facts that are not in the record. A question may be challenged on the grounds that it presumes a fact that has not yet been proven or accepted as evidence if it refers to such a fact.

6. Leading (611c)

A leading question is one that hints to the response. To put it another way, the attorney manipulates the witness into saying what the attorney wants the witness to say. In a cross-examination, leading questions are acceptable, but not in a direct one.

7. Hearsay (802)

Hearsay is an unofficial remark made to support an assertion of fact outside of a courtroom. In other words, when the witness testifies about what he/she heard someone say, a hearsay objection may be made. The rules concerning hearsay are numerous and often misunderstood. There are also several exceptions to the general prohibition of hearsay.

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