Making evidentiary objections

Posted by Joe Bodiford on

Making evidentiary objections

Knowing when and how to make proper evidentiary objections is a key advocacy skill.  As I wrote in my upcoming book, Cross Examination in a Nutshell, there are three areas to focus on and apply the proper objection when necessary.  By categorizing your objections, you focus your attention and know which objections are available and effective. 

The three areas are substance, witness, and opposing counsel.

Objections to control the substance

Certain portions of testimony can be comprised of facts not pertinent to the current trial. They can contain highly “flammable” facts that can improperly influence the jury.  Some testimony is subject to attack because there is no background foundation laid, or there is other evidence that better conveys the facts to the jurors.

Objections to control the witness

Witnesses are generally not trained in evidence or testifying. Objections can corral them and control running off on tangents or guessing.

Objections to control opposing counsel

Be sure to know which objections can prevent your opponent from interjecting his or her personal opinion, supplying facts instead of asking the witness to give the facts, and from improperly asking the witness to testify to things he or she can’t or have no place at trial.

Want to know what the specific objections are? Our evidence Summary Trial Guides all have a comprehensive list of the all of the most common objections - order a copy today!