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Understanding objections in a courtroom

| Jan 8, 2016 | Civil Litigation |

If you’ve watched any amount of television or movies, then you’ve probably seen some courtroom drama play out on the screen. While the manner in which court is depicted in fictional stories is often more dramatic than real life, some elements are consistent. For example, lawyers do make objections during court proceedings, and judges do rule on those objections.

Objections and how they are handled can be critical to the final legitimacy of a case and might become an issue included in any appeals documents. Understanding objections is important for anyone who is involved in civil litigation, especially if the case is being appealed. Objections and the judge’s decisions regarding objections can become complex, which is why it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney if you have any questions regarding your case.

An attorney often makes an objection when he or she feels that evidence or information being introduced during a trial or hearing doesn’t follow the rules of evidence. For example, witnesses in a court cannot speak to facts that they didn’t personally observe. Documents that are put into evidence have to be authentic, and there are a number of rules regarding authentication.

When a lawyer makes an objection, the judge must make a decision to sustain or overrule the objection. Overruling the objection is effectively denying the objection; the evidence being objected to is still entered and proceedings continue. Sustaining the objection is effectively agreeing with it and the opposing attorney must take action to redress the issue via restatement or withdrawal. One problem is that a jury in a trial case has already heard the information. Though they are instructed to disregard it, it can be difficult to do so.

Source: FindLaw, “How Does a Judge Rule on Objections?,” accessed Jan. 08, 2016