As soon as the prosecutor finds you making a point or getting ahead in any fashion he will object. He will object to anything and everything he can. If there is no prosecutor the Judge may be objecting on occasion or say something is not important or that he takes the officers word for it. In this section I will cover many of the objections that you may hear. I will not always separate as to who made the objection, the prosecutor or Judge, but just the objection and how to handle it.
To every motion you make the prosecutor will raise an objection. To almost every question you ask the prosecutor will object. The objections are because you are winning. If you are loosing there will be no objections. The objections as proof that you are scoring big points, rattling their cage and making the officers or prosecutors life miserable.
In many situations the prosecution will object even before you finished speaking. This is to rattle your cage and may also be because the prosecution may know where you are heading and wants to head you off at the pass.
It is not possible to list all possible objections however these I present are the most common ones you may encounter. Remember, you can always say "Just a moment your honor" and read your notes and even read from the notes in handling the objection.
When the Judge says SUSTAINED it means that the objection hold water. the one making the objection wins the argument. When the Judge says OVERRULED it means that the objection does not hold water and the one making the objection loses.
Objections: ( the objection is normally preceded with the word Objection and then the objection itself )
- Irrelevant; before you finish your question: "Your honor it is relevant, if the court will indulge and let me finish my question."
- Irrelevant; after you finish your question: "Your honor, the next few questions will show the relevancy of this question".
- Hearsay: This means that whoever is saying something or the question calls for testimony to which someone else should be testifying. For example: If I ask Fred what Joe told Sally, I will get a hearsay objection because only Joe can testify as to what he told Sally or Sally can testify as to what Joe told her, Fred can't. The best way to handle this is to rephrase the question. "Fred, did you hear Joe say something to Sally? -yes. What did you hear?"
- Argumentative: This means you are arguing with the defendant. You can rephrase the question so as not to be argumentative. Example: "Officer, you must be a blithering idiot for not testing the device." You can rephrase it this way. "Officer isn't it true that only a blithering idiot would not test the device?"
- Leading Question: Yes the prosecutor will try that one even during cross examination ( when you are asking questions of his witness, the officer) All State and Federal rules of trial specifically allow for leading questions in cross examination. Only in direct examination are they not allowed. (direct examination is when the prosecutor asks questions of the officer because that is his witness and not yours) Don't bother learning the difference just say: "Your honor, leading questions are specifically permitted in cross examination. This is cross examination and I am allowed to ask leading questions."
- Asked and Answered: This means that either you or the prosecutor has already asked that question and the witness has already answered. This may be because you asked the question once to often or that the prosecutor is afraid of the new answer. Reply: "Your honor I am simply looking for a clarification to the answer that was given"
As you know the prosecutor or Judge will most likely object to you asking for documentation. This is because they don't have it or it does not exist and can be fatal to their prosecution.
- IF the defense wanted this they should have asked for it in discovery: " Your honor, this documentation goes to the foundation of the evidence that the prosecution presented. The prosecution should have entered it into evidence in it's case in chief as to foundation. The prosecution knows or should know that this documentation is essential as to the foundation to the evidence it is presenting. It is not the job of the defense to do the prosecutions work for them or to do the legal research that they themselves should have done in preparation for this case. It is intrinsically unfair to penalize the defense when the prosecution fails to present proper foundation to it's own evidence."
- The Judge says that he will take the officers word for something: " Your Honor, unless the Officer has direct knowledge of the item, I object." If the Judge says That he will take his word anyway then say. "I request that I be allowed to question the officer as to any direct knowledge he has concerning the item". Now you have to dig deep and show that he does not have direct knowledge. The possible questions are to exhaustive to list here and depend n the situation that only you are aware of.
- If the Judge or prosecutor says that it isn't important: "Your honor if this was not impotent then Supreme Court Judges and Appeals Court Judges would not have included it in the ample case law that I presented at the beginning of trial. If Superior Judges think it is important and include it in their rulings, then it is important and should be important to this court as well."
To handle objections you will have to think on your feet on occasion. You can always ask the Judge for an explanation or time to consider your response. DON'T LET THE JUDGE OR PROSECUTOR RUSH YOU.