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Objection

An Asked And Answer Question

An Asked And Answer Question

One of the objections which an attorney might make to a question raised by his or her opposing attorney within a trial is the objection of “asked and answered.” This objection would normally be raised after the opposing attorney asks a question which has already been answered in some capacity. Hence, the objection is called the “asked and answered” objection because the question being objected to has already been asked and answered. 
 
 
The objection of asked and answered is designed to prevent lawyers from turning their questioning periods into some form of rhetoric or argumentation without connection to asking questions of the witnesses. Sometimes, an attorney in a trial might attempt to drive a point home to the jury by asking the same question multiple times, as the answer to that question might be very important to the attorney’s overall argument. The asked and answered objection could be used in such circumstances to have the question disallowed on the grounds that it has already been both asked and answered.
 
 
As with most forms of objection, this objection is subject to a certain amount of interpretation and judgment at the time of its asking. Sometimes, for instance, an attorney might ask a question which seems to be a new question, but is really just a rephrasing of the earlier question, and which thus is subject to the asked and answered objection. Other times, asking the same question multiple times might be permissible for one repetition, or maybe two, but no more.  
 

How Legitimate is Speculation?

How Legitimate is Speculation?

Speculation is another objection which is available to the lawyers involved in a trial case. Speculation as an objection might arise in one of two forms. The first form of the speculation objection would be an objection against a question which calls for the witness to speculate, or to provide an answer to a question which he or she would obviously not know the answer to. 
 
 
Such a question, for example, might be “What did the defendant say to her?” to a witness who clearly did not have the opportunity to overheard the conversation in any capacity. This question would then be objected to as calling for speculation, as the witness would have to make up or speculate as to the answer to the question.
 
 
The second form of the speculative objection would be based on the witness providing testimony which was, ultimately, speculative in its form. The question itself might have been appropriately phrased, but if the witness provides evidence which is speculative, which he or she does not have direct knowledge of and is instead guessing at, then the evidence would be disallowed from the trial proceedings, as speculative evidence is not actually considered evidence. 
 
 
All the evidence brought up in the trial should be definitive and clear. Most often, however, this type of speculative objection occurs less than the aforementioned speculation or calls for speculation objection with regard to questions asked by the other attorney, as the questions are most often phrased to lead to some speculative answer, instead of the witness simply providing a speculative answer to a proper question.
 

The Meaning of Incompetence

The Meaning of Incompetence

An objection of incompetence might be raised by either the prosecution or the defense in a trial, in order to have the evidence granted by a given witness disallowed on the grounds that the witness in question is incompetent to provide such evidence, or to testify in some capacity. The incompetent objection generally has two forms, one of which has to do with whether the individual giving testimony is considered mentally competent, the other of which has to do with expert witnesses. 
 
 
In the first form of the incompetent objection, an individual might be deemed unfit to give testimony because he or she might be deemed mentally incompetent in some significant capacity. For example, an individual with severe and significant psychoses might have his or her testimony disallowed on grounds of incompetence, as might an individual who simply experiences consistent audiovisual hallucinations. The testimony of a child, as well, might be disbarred on grounds of incompetence, though this would likely require certain extenuating circumstances, such as the fact that the child went through severe trauma and thus might not be fit to testify. Such an objection would normally be raised upon putting the witness on the list.
 
 
The second form of the incompetence objection revolves around the notion that an expert is not as competent as he or she claims to be. This objection of incompetence would thus concern the expert’s abilities to actually give thoughtful, specialized judgment in his or her areas of expertise, and such an incompetent objection would likely be raised at the time the expert was being brought into court.
 

An Explanation of Inflammatory Statements

An Explanation of Inflammatory Statements

Inflammatory questions or an inflammatory statement can be objected to within a trial by the opposing counsel. An inflammatory question or an inflammatory statement would be one which would somehow predispose the listeners towards a subject in an unreasonable, prejudiced way. For example, an inflammatory set of questions might involve one attorney asking questions which produce the impression that a particular witness, or the defendant him or herself, actually has a history of criminal activity and behavior, where no such history might exist. 
 
 
If such a history did exist, then an inflammatory statement might include the attorney making some comment as to the fact that it seems likely the defendant would have been predisposed to perform the crime, or making some statement to the effect that the witness might not be trustworthy due to his or her prior experiences. Such an inflammatory question or sentence can be objected to because it falls under the overall purview of deceptive, manipulative tactics employed for the sake of winning an argument instead of actually determining the proper dispensation of justice.
 
 
An objection regarding an inflammatory statement or question would likely require significant judgment on the part of the judge as to whether or not it was inflammatory and appropriate for being disallowed, unless the statement was clearly and unquestionably inflammatory. If the judge believed that a particular question or piece of evidence would unjustly inflame the jury, however, then the judge would likely sustain an objection of an inflammatory statement. 
 
 
For example, if one attorney attempted to use a line of questioning which inflamed the jury against the defendant because he or she is Muslim, and therefore “has links to terrorists,” then the judge would almost certainly sustain an objection of an inflammatory statement or question.  
 
 

What are the Leading Questions?

What are the Leading Questions?

An objection based on leading the witness would be an objection to an attorney asking questions of the witness which suggest the answer to the question within the question. For example, an attorney might object to leading the witness if the attorney in question asked, “You were at [this particular location] on [this particular night], correct?” 
 
 
The prior question would be considered to be leading the witness because it suggests the answer within the question, whereas a non-leading form of the question would be, “Where were you on [this particular night]?”, which does not include the answer within the question. Commonly, leading questions are perceived to be yes or no questions, although not all yes or no questions can be objected to as leading the witness.
 
 
An objection of leading the witness is also importantly different from a question which contains an assumption, as the question with the assumption would not contain the answer, but might still be objectionable due to what it implies.
 
 
Asking leading questions can lead to an objection from the other counsel in a particular trial, but only under certain circumstances. This is because it is permissible for an attorney to ask leading questions of a witness if the witness in question is considered a hostile witness. 
 
 
Most often, then, leading questions are permissible when the questioner is cross-examining the witness, but sometimes it is possible that an attorney would call a witness to the stand who would be declared a hostile witness, even though the witness was technically a witness for his or her own side.
 

A Guide to Immaterial Evidence

A Guide to Immaterial Evidence

 
An objection based on relevance or materiality would likely be considered an objection that evidence being introduced into the trial is immaterial or irrelevant to the matters at stake in the trial. The two terms, immaterial and irrelevant, are synonymous. An objection regarding immaterial or irrelevant evidence would likely be raised with regard to evidence if that evidence does not seem to have a logical connection to the case at hand. 
 
 
For example, if, in a case regarding an individual having committed a parking violating, evidence is brought to bear which would instead prove that the defendant cheated on his or her spouse, then that evidence might be objected to as immaterial or irrelevant, unless the evidence proving the affair would also somehow prove the parking violation. Thus, immaterial or irrelevant evidence can only be determined based on the underlying law in the case in question.
 
 
An objection based on immaterial or irrelevant evidence is very much linked to a number of other potential objections which an attorney might make, as ultimately, immaterial or irrelevant evidence is often introduced into a trial in order to produce some kind of manipulation in terms of the jury. 
 
 
For example, immaterial evidence might be evidence regarding an irrelevant criminal history of the defendant, which might still be used to predispose the jury against the defendant. This would actually be grounds for other, more specific objections as well, but it would also be considered immaterial or irrelevant evidence.
 

Understanding Narrative Form

Understanding Narrative Form

 
Either lawyer in a trial might raise an objection to a question if that objection were to lead the witness to provide an answer in a narrative form. This form of narration would involve the witness essentially relating a string of events as a story, instead of providing a clear and specific answer to a clear and specific question. For example, if a lawyer were to ask a witness, “
 
 
Could you tell us what happened on that night?” then the question might be objected to on grounds that it is a question asking for narrative, and not a specific, clear question designed to bring to light precise facts within the witness’s testimony. A better question might be, for example, “What did you see immediately when you arrived at the club that night?”, as this question is focused in on specific facts which the witness can provide, without dipping into narration.
 
 
If a witness begins to provide facts through narration instead of through specific questions, the immediate problem is that the other attorney involved in the case would not be given the opportunity to object to the individual questions which the other attorney asks, and as such, evidence might be introduced into the trial which never should have been introduced. 
 
 
Thus, narrative is not allowed on a more formal reasoning, regarding the conduct of a trial. But narration might also be problematic because it allows for the use of techniques which might obscure the direct facts.
 

Identify Misleading Questions In Court

Identify Misleading Questions In Court

One of the objections which either the defense attorney or the prosecution attorney in a trial might be able to rise is that of a misleading, confusing, vague, unintelligible, or ambiguous question. These objections should be raised immediately after the provoking question. The point of calling a question ambiguous, misleading, confusing, vague, or unintelligible is to say that a witness might not be able to answer that question clearly or appropriately, or to say that the jury might not interpret that question correctly, either. 
The objection thus is meant to avoid the introduction of any information into the trial which might be improper to introduce, as a result of asking a question which is ambiguous or misleading enough to have been misinterpreted. Similarly, the objection would ensure that the witness would provide the asked-for information, as opposed to providing any other kind of information
Each of the terms, ambiguous, misleading, confusing, vague, and unintelligible, has a slightly different meaning in context, but they all fall under the general purview that a question must be a clearly phrased and worded interrogative, which the witness will know how to answer clearly and precisely. 
A misleading question might be a question which seems to be asking one thing, but which leads the witness to answer another question, for example, and as such, even though it ultimately was not unintelligible, it would still be an improper, unclear question. Thus, these objections of “ambiguous,” “misleading,” “confusing,” “vague,” and “unintelligible,” are designed to help keep questions clear, and to avoid deceptive, manipulative tactics.