A formal protest raised during a trial, deposition or other procedure indicating that the objecting attorney wishes the judge to disallow either the testimony of a given witness or other evidence that would violate the rules of evidence or other procedural law. At trial, these are typically raised after the opposing party poses a question of the witness, but before the witness can answer, or when the opposing party seeks to enter an exhibit into evidence.
Once an attorney makes an objection, the judge then makes a ruling. If a judge sustains the objection, it means that the judge agrees with the objection and disallows the question, testimony or evidence. If the judge overrules the objection, it means that the judge disagrees with the objection and allows the question, testimony or evidence. The judge may also permit the attorney to rephrase the question to correct whatever was objectionable.
Objections may also occur in response to the conduct of a judge.
Some common objections include:
1. Irrelevant. That the testimony pursuant to a question asked or the particular item of evidence is not relevant to the case.
2. The witness is incompetent.
3. Violation of the best evidence rule.
4. Violation of the hearsay rule.
5. Speculative. That the question calls for the witness to speculate about something.
6. Leading. When the question posed by the attorney seeks to lead the witness to make an assertion.
7. Violation of the parol evidence rule.
8. Repetitive. (also Asked and answered). The question has already been asked and answered.
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
An attorney's formal statement protesting something that has occurred in court and seeking the judge's immediate ruling. Often, lawyers object to questions posed to a witness by an opposing attorney because the inquiries do not meet legal standards. For example, the question may be irrelevant, immaterial, call for a conclusion (seeking opinion, not facts), argumentative, assuming facts not in evidence, or compound (two or more questions asked together). The trial attorney must be alert to object before an answer is given.
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:20 pm