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OBJECTIONS!

When, Why and How To Object


Litigation Department Training Module
The Objection Phase
Making Objections is a difficult skill.
The total amount of time between the end of an enemy attorneys
question and when a witness starts to answer LESS THAN ONE SECOND!
Reasons for Objecting
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Stop an enemy from hurting your case.


Establish your record on appeal.
Neutralize or oppose an improper statement.
Establish your presence.
Throw an enemy off balance.

Reasons for Not Objecting


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Not to delay the trial.


May give enemy attorney & witness more time to think.
May suggest to the enemy how to ask a proper question.
Answer may be favorable to you.
Irrelevant questions and answers are not critical to your case.
Objectionable questions (Formal but not Substantive) may
rephrased anyway.

be

Style
1. SPEAK UP WITH AUTHORITY.
-

Everybody (i.e., judge, enemy attorney, witness) should hear


you.
Shift or project the interruption to the enemy.

2. STAND UP.
-

Avoid jumping bean style.


Reserve the standing objections for the most damaging
testimony.

NOTE: Certain judges require the lawyer to stand up whenever he


speaks or objects.
3. NEVER SHOW PHONY INDIGNATION.
4. MAKE SPECIFIC OBJECTIONS.
-

State one-word objections rather than giving a speech (unless


really important).
If there is more than one basis for the objection, state them.

Timing
-

Timing is critical.
If you object too soon, the judge would tell you this: Counsel let
the opposing counsel finish his question. Be seated!
If you object too long, the enemy attorney would have finished
the question and the witness may have answered.
If you fail to timely object to the question, MOVE TO STRIKE the
answer.
Disadvantages:
1. Everybody already heard the answer.
2. Damage had been done.
3. Low probability that the answer will be stricken off.

Preferred Style
RAISE YOUR HAND (as if to stop the witness from answering) and
STAND UP as soon as the question becomes or appears to be
objectionable. WAIT for the enemy attorney to finish his question and then
OBJECT stating your objection/s.
Classification

APPLICABILITY Used in either, both, or all Direct Examination


(DX), Cross Examination (CX), Re-direct Examination (RD), Re-cross
Examination (RX)

NATURE Formal or Substantive

Formal addresses the MANNER by which evidence is elicited.


could be corrected by rephrasing the questions

Substantive addressed the UNDERLYING ADMISSIBILITY of the


evidence

BASIS OR TARGET Question-based (QB) or Answer-based (AB)

1. ARGUMENTATIVE
Formal objection
Used in both direct examination & cross-examination (DX/CX)
Only question-based (QB)
Links Repetitive, Misleading
Signals
o Repetitive questions
o Insulting questions (on past sexual encounters and matters of a
personal nature)

o Used when the enemy lawyer is impeaching his own witness


o Assumes facts opposite/different from prior testimony
Note: Misleading
State the specific objection ARGUMENTATIVE
Objection, Your Honor, argumentative.
Objection, Your Honor, opposing counsel is impeaching and
arguing with his own witness.
Objection, Your Honor, misleading.
Legal Basis: ARGUMENTATIVE
Repetitive and
insulting questions

Rule 132, Sec. 3


Rights and obligations of a witness. -- A witness
must answer questions, although his answer may
tend to establish a claim against him. However, it
is the right of a witness:
(1) To be protected from irrelevant, improper, or
insulting questions, and from harsh or
insulting demeanor

Impeaching his own


witness

Rule 132, Sec. 12


Party may not impeach his own witness. -Except with respect to witnesses referred to in
paragraphs (d) and (e) of Section 10, the party
producing a witness is not allowed to impeach his
credibility.

(d)
Of an unwilling or hostile
witness; or,
(e) Of a witness who is an adverse
party or an officer, director, or
managing agent of a public or private
corporation or of a partnership or
association which is an adverse
party. (Sec 10, Rule 132)

A witness may be considered as unwilling or


hostile only if so declared by the court upon
adequate showing of his adverse interest,
unjustified reluctance to testify, or his having
misled the party into calling him to the witness
stand.
The unwilling or hostile witness so declared, or
the witness who is an adverse party, may be
impeached by the party presenting him in all
respects as if he had been called by the adverse
party, except by evidence of his bad character. He
may also be impeached and cross-examined by the
adverse party, but such cross-examination must
only be on the subject matter of his examinationin-chief.

Assumes facts
opposite/different
from prior testimony

Rule 132, Sec. 10


Leading and misleading questions. -- A question
which suggests to the witness the answer which

the examining party desires is a leading question.


It is not allowed, except:
XXXXXXX
A misleading question is one which assumes as
true a fact not yet testified to by the witness, or
contrary to that which he has previously stated. It
is not allowed.

2. BEST EVIDENCE
Substantive objection
Used in both direct examination & cross-examination (DX/CX)
Both question-based & answer-based (QB/AB)
Links Hearsay, Speculative
Signal --- What did it say?
Pertains primarily to writings and not physical objects, unless the
physical objects contain writings.
Know the exceptions to the Best Evidence Rule
(a)
When the original has been lost or destroyed, or cannot
be produced in court, without bad faith on the part of the
offeror;
(b)
When the original is in the custody or under the control
of the party against whom the evidence is offered, and the
latter fails to produce it after reasonable notice;
(c)
When the original consists of numerous accounts or
other documents which cannot be examined in court without
great loss of time and the fact sought to be established from
them is only the general result of the whole; and,
(d)
When the original is a public record in the custody of a
public officer or is recorded in a public office.

Related to, but different from the, Parol Evidence Rule oral
testimony to contradict or vary the terms of a written contract
State the specific objection BEST EVIDENCE
Objection, Your Honor, this is not the best evidence of the contents of
the writing. Produce the original.
Your Honor, I move to strike the witness answer on the ground that is
violates the Best Evidence Rule.
Legal Basis: BEST EVIDENCE
Best Evidence Rule

Rule 130, Sec. 3

Original document must be produced;


exceptions. -- When the subject of inquiry if the
contents of a document, no evidence shall be
admissible other than the original document
itself

Parol Evidence Rule

Rule 132, Sec. 9

Evidence of written agreements. When the


terms of an agreement have been reduced to
writing, it is considered as containing all the
terms agreed upon and there can be, between
the parties and their successors in interest, no
evidence of such terms other than the contents
of the written agreement.
However, a party may present evidence to
modify, explain or add to the terms of written
agreement if he puts in issue in his pleading:
(a)
An
intrinsic
ambiguity,
mistake
imperfection in the written agreement;

or

(b)
The failure of the written agreement to
express the true intent and agreement of the
parties thereto;
(c)

The validity of the written agreement; or

(d)
The existence of other terms agreed to by
the parties or their successors in interest after
the execution of the written agreement.
The term "agreement" includes wills.

3. QUESTIONS THAT CALL FOR CONCLUSIONS


Substantive objection
Used in direct examination (DX)
Both question-based & answer-based (QB/AB)
Links Leading
Calls for an ultimate conclusion
Is he guilty? Was he negligent? Did he breach the contract?
Calls for an opinion by an incompetent witness
What do you think? Was he qualified?
I believe that
In my opinion
State the specific objection CONCLUSION
Objection, Your Honor, the question calls for a conclusion.
Your Honor, I move to strike the answer on the ground that it is not a
statement of fact but a conclusion.
Legal Basis: CONCLUSIONS
General
Rule
Rule 130, Sec. 48
Opinion of a witness
General rule. -- The
is inadmissible
admissible

opinion of a witness is not

Exceptions Expert Rule 130, Sec. 49-50


witness,
Ordinary
witness
(identity, Section 49. Opinion of expert witness. -- The
opinion of a witness on a matter requiring special
handwriting, sanity, knowledge, skill, experience or training which he is
behavior, emotion, shown to possess, may be received in evidence.

condition,
appearance)

Section 50. Opinion of ordinary witness. -- The


opinion of a witness for which proper basis is
given, may be received in evidence regarding
a. The identity of a person about whom he has
adequate knowledge;
b. The handwriting with which he has sufficient
familiarity; and,
c. The mental sanity of a person with whom he is
sufficiently acquainted

Personal knowledge

Rule 130, Sec. 36


A witness can testify only to those facts which he
knows of his personal knowledge; that is, which are
derived from his own perception, except as
otherwise provided in these rules.

4. FACTS ASSUMED
Formal objection
Used in both direct examination & cross-examination (DX/CX)
Both question-based & answer-based (QB/AB)
Links Leading, Misleading
Signals Watch out for questions that:
Are very long i.e. takes 10-15 seconds to ask
Contain too much information
Make assumptions
Tends to advance the enemys case through the attorney
Also known as assuming-facts-not-in-evidence; also used as no
basis or lacks basis
Could also be misleading if fact assumed misstates the evidence or
misquotes the witness
State the specific objection FACTS ASSUMED
Objection, Your Honor, the question assumes facts not in evidence.
Objection, Your Honor, the question is misleading and assumes facts
contrary to the evidence that has preceded.
Objection, Your Honor, I move to strike the answer because it is
misleading and it is contradictory to what is stated in the document.
Legal Basis: FACTS ASSUMED
Definition of a misleading question one Rule 132, Sec. 10, last
which assumes as true, a fact not yet par.
testified, or contrary to that which he has
A misleading question is
previously stated

one which assumes as true


a fact not yet testified to by
the witness, or contrary to
that
which
he
has
previously stated. It is not
allowed.

5. HEARSAY
Substantive objection
Used in both direct examination & cross-examination (DX/CX)
Both question-based & answer-based (QB/AB)
Links Best Evidence, Speculative
First of the two POWER OBJECTIONS
Guide/Test Question
How does the witness know that?
If the answer is anything other than personal knowledge, it is
HEARSAY.
If the information is from a 3rd party or a document prepared by a 3rd
party, it is HEARSAY.
State the specific objection HEARSAY
Objection, Your Honor, the question calls for a hearsay answer.
Your Honor, I move to strike the answer of the witness for being
hearsay.
Legal Basis: HEARSAY
GENERAL
RULE

a Rule 130, Sec. 36


witness can testify only to
those facts which he
knows of his personal
knowledge; derived from
his personal perception.
EXCEPTIONS

Dying
declarations; Declarations
against
interest; Rule 130, Sec. 37-47
Pedigree;
Family
reputation or pedigree;
Res gestae; Entries in the
course of official business
a&
official
records;
Commercial lists; Learned
treatises; Testimony in a
former proceeding
6. IRRELEVANT OR IMMATERIAL
Substantive objection
Used in both direct examination & cross-examination (DX/CX)
Both question-based & answer-based (QB/AB)
Guide/Test Question
Will this resolve a key or material issue in this case?
IRRELEVANT any evidence not tending to establish the probability
of the fact in issue.
IMMATERIAL does not relate to a fact critical to the outcome of
this case

Watch for the Ill link it up later scam


State the specific objection IRRELEVANT OR IMMATERIAL
Objection, Your Honor, irrelevant and immaterial.
Your Honor, I move to strike the answer of the witness for being
irrelevant and immaterial.
Legal Basis: IRRELEVANT OR IMMATERIAL
Relevancy; collateral matters are disallowed. Rule 128, Sec. 4
Exception to collateral matters tends in any Rule 128, Sec. 4
reasonable degree to establish the probability
of the fact in issue
7. LEADING
Formal objection
Used in direct examination (DX)
Question-based (QB)
Signals CONTRACTIONS in questions
Isnt? Isnt it true that?
Isnt it a fact?
Didnt? Dont? Shouldnt? Couldnt?
Watch out for questions that:
Suggest the answer
Contain declarative statements and conclusion
State the specific objection LEADING
Objection, Your Honor, the question is leading.
Legal Basis: LEADING
GENERAL RULE Leading questions are not Rule 132, Sec. 10
allowed.
EXCEPTIONS During cross-examination;
Preliminary matters; Difficulty in getting Rule 132, Sec. 10
intelligible answers; Unwilling or hostile
witness; Adverse party witness
8. MULTIPLE AND NARRATIVE
Formal objection
Used in both direct examination & cross-examination (DX/CX)
Question-based (QB)
Signal the conjunction AND
Also covers Narratives
State the specific objection MULTIPLE AND NARRATIVE
Objection, Your Honor, the question calls for multiple answers.
Objection, Your Honor, opposing counsel is asking for a narrative and
that deprives me of the opportunity to listen to the individual questions
and answers.

Legal Basis: MULTIPLE AND NARRATIVE


Questions should not be confusing to witness Rule 132, Sec. 3
& to the court
Depriving
the
adverse
party
of the Rule 132, Sec. 6
opportunity to object
9. PRIVILEGE
Substantive objection
Used in both direct examination & cross-examination (DX/CX)
Both question-based & answer-based (QB/AB)
Link Hearsay
Watch out for any CONFIDENTIAL RELATIONSHIP i.e. Husband-wife;
Lawyer-client; Physician-patient; Priest-penitent; Public officer
Second of two POWER OBJECTIONS
NOTE: Implications of failure to object and failure to protect your
clients privilege goes on beyond the hearing.
State the specific objection PRIVILEGE
Objection, Your Honor, the subject matter is privileged.
Your Honor, I move that the answer be stricken because it is
privileged.
Legal Basis: PRIVILEGE
Marital disqualification
Privileged communications
Parental and filial privilege
Newsmans privilege
Informants privilege
Right against self-incrimination

Rule 130, Sec. 22


Rule 130, Sec. 24
Rule 130, Sec. 25
Rep. Act No. 53, Sec. 1, as
amended by Rep. Act No.
1477
People v. Capulong, 160
SCRA 533
Const., Art III, Sec. 17

10. REPETITIVE
Formal objection
Used in both direct examination & cross-examination (DX/CX)
Question-based (QB)
Link - Argumentative
Signal the question is similar to prior questions
Be cautious of favorable responses (will be asked again to be
repeated) & unfavorable responses (question will be repeated for
witness to correct the answer)
State the specific objection REPETITIVE
Objection, Your Honor, the question has been asked and answered.
Objection, Your Honor, the question is repetitive.
Legal Basis: REPETITIVE
Right of witness to be protected from Rule 132, Sec. 3

repetitive questions
11. SPECULATIVE
Substantive objection
Used in direct examination (DX)
Both question-based & answer-based (QB/AB)
Links Hearsay, Conclusion
Guide/Test Question
How does the witness know that?
Signals the words would and should and questions like that
ask a witness to guess about an information that the witness does
not personally possess
What was Xs motive? What was in Xs mind?
Is it possible that?
OK to ESTIMATE but must have personal information
State

the specific objection SPECULATIVE


Objection, Your Honor, the question is speculative.
Objection, Your Honor, the witness is being asked to speculate.
Objection, You Honor, I move to strike the witness answer for being
speculative.

Legal Basis: SPECULATIVE


GENERAL RULE witness testifies only on Rule 130, Sec. 6
matters of personal knowledge
EXCEPTIONS when opinions of witnesses Rule 130, Secs.
are allowed
48/50
12. VAGUE
Formal objection
Used in both direct examination & cross-examination (DX/CX)
Question-based (QB)
Signals watch out for the questions that:
Are very long i.e. takes 10-15 seconds to ask
Call for information that is very non-specific
You dont understand
State the specific objection VAGUE
Objection, Your Honor, the question is vague.
Legal Basis: VAGUE
Right of witness to be protected from Rule 132, Sec. 3
vague questions
Relevancy
Rule 128, Secs. 3-4
13. WITNESS IS INCOMPETENT
Substantive objection

Used in both direct examination & cross-examination (DX/CX)


Both question-based & answer-base (QB/AB)
Link Hearsay, Speculative
NOTE: Witness has no personal knowledge or witness was not
pre-qualified as an expert witness
State the specific objection WITNESS IS INCOMPETENT
Objection, Your Honor, the witness is incompetent.
Your Honor, I move to strike the answer of the witness on the ground
that he is incompetent to testify on such matters.

Legal Basis: WITNESS IS INCOMPETENT


Witness may only testify on matters of Rule 130, Sec. 36
personal knowledge
Admissibility of relevant evidence
Rule 128, Sec. 3
14.
INSUFFICIENT AUTHENTICATION/NO PROPER/IMPROPER
FOUNDATION
Substantive objection
Used in both direct examination & cross-examination (DX/CX)
Both question-based & answer-base (QB/AB)
The document has not been identified, identified and/or
authenticated.
State the specific objection INSUFFICIENT AUTHENTICATION/NO
PROPER/
IMPROPER FOUNDATION
Objection, Your Honor, there has been no prior authentication of the
document.
Objection, Your Honor, there has been no prior authentication of the
document.
Objection, Your Honor, there is no proper foundation for this exhibit.
Your Honor, I move to strike the answer of the witness on the ground
that there has been no prior aunthentication of, or foundation for, the
document upon which it is based.
Legal Basis:
INSUFFICIENT
FOUNDATION

AUTHENTICATION/NO

Classes of documents
Private documents
Public documents

15. BEYOND THE SCOPE OF DIRECT

PROPER/IMPROPER
Rule 132, Sec. 9
Rule 132, Secs. 2022
Rule 132, Secs. 3436

Substantive objection
Used in cross-examination (CX)
Question-based (QB)
Link - Leading
Signals Watch for questions:
Contain statements that were not covered during the direct
examination
Make your witness as the enemy attorneys own witness.
State the specific objection BEYOND THE SCOPE OF DIRECT
Objection, Your Honor, this is beyond the scope of direct.
Objection, Your Honor, this matter was not covered during the direct
examination.
Legal Basis: BEYOND THE SCOPE OF DIRECT
English Rule (for civil cases) CX to elicit
all important facts bearing upon the issue
i.e. COVERED by the DX and RELATED to
the area covered by the DX

Rule 132, Sec. 6;


Gonzales v. Bautista [(CA) 52
O.G. 4692 (1956)]; Capitol
Subd., Inc. v. Prov. Of Negro
Occidental [(SC) 52 O.G. 4672
(1956)]

American Rule for criminal cases and Rule 115 (d);


hostile witnesses)
Rule 132, Secs. 11-13
- CX only in the area COVERED by the DX;
CX limited to the DX of the hostile witness
16. IMPROPER FOR RE-DIRECT & RE-CROSS
Substantive objection
Used in re-direct examination & re-cross-examination (RD/RX)
Question-based (QB)
Questions pertain to matters which the witness did not testify on
during his cross-examination and/or re-direct examination
State the specific objection IMPROPER FOR RE-DIRECT & RE-CROSS
Questions pertain to matters which the witness did not testify on
during his cross-examination and/or re-direct examination.
Objection, Your Honor, this matter was not covered during the crossexamination.
Legal Basis: IMPROPER FOR RE-DIRECT & RE-CROSS
Limited scope of re-direct examination & Rule 132, Sec. 7-8
re-cross examination
17. IMPROPER CHARACTERIZATION
Substantive objection
Used in both direct examination & cross-examination (DX/CX)
Both question-based & answer-based (QB/AB)
Links Argumentative, Conclusion

Signal Questions & answers that contain SLANTED ADJECTIVES


negligent driver, malicious thief, rescinded contract
State the specific objection IMPROPER CHARACTERIZATION
Objection, Your Honor, I object to the improper characterization of...
Your Honor, I move that the answer be stricken for being an improper
characterization.
Legal Basis: IMPROPER CHARACTERIZATION
Rights of a witness
Opinion rule

Rule 132, Sec. 3


Rule 130, Secs. 4850

18. NON-RESPONSIVE TO THE QUESTION


Formal objection
Used in both direct examination & cross-examination (DX/CX)
Only answer-based (AB)
Link Irrelevant or Immaterial
Answer is not related to/different from the question
Answer does not correspond to the question asked
State the specific objection NON-RESPONSIVE TO THE QUESTION
Objection, Your Honor, I move that the answer be stricken for not
being responsive to the question.
Legal Basis: NON-RESPONSIVE TO THE QUESTION
Relevancy

Rule 128, Secs. 3-4

19. IMPROPER MODE/MANNER OF QUESTIONING


Formal objection
Used in both direct examination & cross-examination (DX/CX)
Only question-based (QB)
Link Argumentative
Signals
DEMEANOR of enemy attorney
Shouting, pounding the table, getting too close to the
witness
TONE of enemy attorney
Loud, sarcastic
INSULTING WORDS in questions and snide remarks or comments
State
the
specific
objection
IMPROPER
MODE/MANNER
OF
QUESTIONING
Objection, Your Honor, the opposing counsel is badgering my witness.
Legal Basis: IMPROPER MODE/MANNER OF QUESTIONING

Rights of a witness

Rule 132, Sec. 3

Mnemonics for the BIG 12

ABC FHILM RSVP


A B C
F H
I
M
R S V P

Argumentative, Best Evidence, Conclusion


L Facts Assumed, Hearsay, Irrelevant/Immaterial,
Leading, Multiple
Repetitive, Speculative, Vague, Privilige

Mnemonics for the Plus 7 (the 2nd ABC)

ABC INQ
A B C
I

Authentication (Insufficient), Beyond The Scope (of


DX;
Improper
for
RD/RC),
Characterization
(Improper)
Incompetent Witness, Non-Responsive To The
Question, Questioning (Improper Mode/Manner)