SHOULD YOU OBJECT OR NOT?
Should you object at trial? Some advocates
recommend never objecting and others exercise their right to object at every
opportunity. Here is what an excellent source has to say about the issue:Jury
research institute: http://www.juryresearchinstitute.com/articles/faq/page-3.php
“Two factors must be weighed in terms of aking evidentiary objections. For some cases “protecting the record” for appeal may be of paramount importance and thus, issues relating to the impact of objections on the jury are secondary. In either case, counsel should be aware that jurors make a number of interpretations about objections by counsel.
Research has shown that testimony that is objected to becomes essentially
“highlighted” and jurors recall testimony following objections (and
most other courtroom interruptions for that matter) with greater frequency than
would otherwise be expected. Essentially, the greatest effect of objections is
to draw attention to the issue at hand. A ruling by the judge to disregard the
testimony, only further underscores the testimony. Thus, one of the paramount
considerations regarding objections is whether or not one wishes to draw
attention to the testimony at hand.
The secondary consideration is jurors’ impressions of counsel. There are no
global rules of thumb that apply to every case. In some instances we have seen
repeated objections by counsel work very favorably, as it gives the impression
that the other side is attempting to circumvent ‘the rules.’ The attorney
making the objections is seen as alert and conscientious. To the other extreme,
we have seen repeated objections by counsel received as annoying, disruptive
and a sign of weakness. There is a weak correlation between favorable and
unfavorable impressions and whether the objections were sustained or overruled, but for the most part, jurors do rely on the ratio between sustained andoverruled objections in forming their impressions, but rather on their own
subjective determinations of ‘appropriateness’ of the objections.”
The fact is that the right to object doesn’t mean you should always object. My policy is to avoid objections except when it involves one of the following: (1) A violation of the pre trial motion in limine (2) evidence which is inadmissible and so prejudicial that would be difficult to deal with a response (3) personal attacks on the witness which are excessive enough intervention is called for (4) key issues which require are record to be made for appeal and (5) matters that call for an exercise of discretion in deciding. Like a strike zone in baseball, you need to develop a skill of knowing when an objection should be made or withheld