Woody Allen as Fielding Mellish (Bananas 1971)
I object. The exhibit is confusing, unfairly prejudicial, misleading, irrelevant, barred by the exclusionary rule, and not a fair and accurate representation of what it purports to represent.
I don't make the rules. I just play by 'em.
If you want to play the game, you had better know the rules of the game.
And if you want your opponent to play by the rules, you'll not only have to recognize the infraction, you'll have to complain to the referee and tell him/her exactly which rule was violated by the opposition.
In a trial, if the opposing counsel ask an improper question or a question that calls for an improper answer, you must object before the witness answers the question.There will be no ruling by the court excluding or admitting evidence unless you or opposing counsel objects. The only consequence for the prosecutor's failure to object is that the jury will hear the evidence that may or may not be admissible. Just because one side objects does not mean they are right. The judge acts as a referee and makes a determination. It goes something like this.
Prosecutor to Witness on the stand: Who killed Valerie Victim?
Witness: Danny defendant, I know because my b/f/f told me that her baby daddy's cousin said someone in the neighborhood told her they saw him do it.
Defense attorney: Objection, your honor. This is triple hearsay . This witness cannot testify to what someone else said or what she may have heard. She can only testify to acts that she actually witnessed.
Judge: Madame Prosecutor, do you have a response.
Madame Prosecutor: Yes judge, each of the acts of hearsay falls within one of the exceptions.
Judge: Okay, I can see that we are going to need to discuss this outside of the presence of the jury and perhaps proffer testimony and hold an evidentiary hearing, so Mr. Bailiff would you please escort the jury out of the courtroom and at this time we will take a 30 minute break. (jury rolls eyes & shuffle around, sighs, moans and groans can be heard because this is like the third time they have had to leave the courtroom and it is not even noon)
The judge will then hear argument by both sides. This is obviously done outside the presence of the jury so they will not hear evidence that may be inadmissible.
The judge will then make a ruling. If he agrees with the side making the objection (the side opposing the question asked) he will say on the record: "The objection is sustained"
this means that the lawyer who asked the question may not ask the question. That lawyer will object to the court's ruling. Most of the time, because the judge knows that the losing party must object to his ruling in order to preserve the right to appeal the issue (this applies mostly to the defense attorney because the prosecutor cannot appeal a loss~ a not guilty verdict), the judge will just say , "your objection to the court's ruling is noted". This saves time and the court reporter knows to put it in the official trial transcript.
If the judge does not agree with the side who makes the objection, the he will state on the record, "Objection overruled".
The prosecutor does not have any real consequences for failure to object or failure to object to the court's ruling.
Objections are a much more delicate issue for defense attorneys. They are often faced with a situation of whether they even want to object or not. An attorney who continues to object to everything (especially if they lose) risk appearing to the the jury that they are trying to hide information or evidence from the jury. For this reason, a seasoned attorney will make a tactical decision not to object to the prosecutor's improper question if the answer does not hurt his client or the case.
The problem arises when a defense attorney fails to make a contemporaneous objection. The objection must be made as the objectionable issue is happening. Attorneys have a good idea how a particular judge will rule and can tell beforehand when the judge is likely to rule against them. The attorney, however, must object anyway, if they want the judge's erroneous ruling to be one of the issues of the appeal if their client is found guilty and convicted.