badgering the witness

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Badgering the witness is an objection that counsel can make during a cross-examination of a witness where opposing counsel becomes hostile or asks argumentative questions. If an attorney begins repeatedly asking a witness about the same thing, asks many rudely phrased questions, becomes very loud, or other uses other unnecessary, distracting tactics, the opposing counsel will object, hoping the judge will find the tactics to be disruptive or in-conducive to eliciting facts from the witness. Badgering the witness often comes in the form of argumentative questions where the attorney asks the witness not about facts but to make conclusions from those facts. 

For example, an attorney would be making an argumentative question if they asked: you yelling at that person means you must be very aggressive? A judge may or may not accept the objection and ask the attorney to move on. Even if a judge dismisses the objection, an attorney must be careful as a jury may respond badly to such tactics. 

[Last updated in December of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]