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Mock Trial Objections

Mock Trial Objections

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Mock Trial Objections

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  1. Mock Trial Objections The basics of every objection allowed in the Mock Trial universe.

  2. Questions calling for a Narrative answer/Narrating • Questions that are vague and allow for a long, drawn out answer are inappropriate • Ex.) Attorney: “Tell us what you know about the case.” • When objecting, the attorney should stand and say “Objection. This question calls for a narrative answer.” or “Objection. The witness is narrating.”

  3. Relevance • Relevant evidence is evidence presented that tends to prove or disprove any fact related to the case. • Ex.) Attorney: “What did you have for breakfast?” • When objecting, the attorney should stand and say “Objection. This question is irrelevant.”

  4. Character of the Witness • Character evidence is evidence that concerns some trait about the witness other than honesty or truthfulness. • Ex.) Attorney (crossing a lay witness): Miss, can you please explain to the court why you received a speeding ticket 5 months ago? • When objecting, the attorney should stand and say “Objection. This question calls for improper character evidence.”

  5. Lack of Personal/Professional Knowledge • Questions that call for hearsay testimony or a lay witness’s opinion are inappropriate as they call for something that the witness has no knowledge of. • Ex.) Attorney: Do you think that the driver was drunk at the time of the hit and run? • When objecting, the attorney should stand and say “Objection. The witness does not have the personal knowledge to answer this question.”

  6. Leading Questions • Only allowed during cross-examination and when laying foundation, leading questions are questions that suggest the answer. • Attorney: The money was under the hay bale, correct? • When objecting, the attorney should stand and say “Objection. Counsel is leading the witness.”

  7. Beyond the Scope • Questions that cover information outside of what the crossing attorney/re-directing attorney brought up in questioning are considered beyond the scope. • When objecting, the attorney should stand and say “Objection. Counsel is asking a question which is beyond the scope of my cross/re-direct examination.”

  8. Hearsay • Perhaps the most common objection, Hearsay is “an out of court statement being offered in court to prove the truth of the matter asserted.” • Ex.) Attorney: Now Ms. Smith, you say that you heard your neighbor say that he was going to kill his wife? • When objecting, the attorney should stand and say “Objection. This question calls for hearsay.” or “Objection. The witness’s answer is based on hearsay.” • When objecting to hearsay, be ready for a fight as there are a plethora of ways to get around a hearsay objection.

  9. Argumentative • Argumentative questioning is when the opposing attorney questions the witness roughly or in a harsh tone. • Ex.) Attorney: You killed your wife!! • When objecting, the attorney should stand and say “Objection. Counsel is being argumentative.”

  10. Badgering • Similar to argumentative questioning, badgering the witness is when the opposing attorney asks the same question several times in order to harass the witness, usually done in a harsh manner. • When objecting, the attorney should stand and say “Objection. Counsel is badgering the witness.”

  11. Asked and Answered • Asked and answered is when a question that has already been asked and answered is being asked again. Most often, attorneys do this when they don’t get the answer they wanted. • When objecting, the attorney should stand and say “Objection. This question has already been asked and answered.”

  12. Assumes Facts Not in Evidence • Questions that assume facts not in evidence jump straight to the point without showing how they got there. In other words, they ask about facts that have not been shown to exist. • Ex.) Attorney (without proving there was a pie in the first place): You stole the pie, didn’t you? • When objecting, the attorney should stand and say “Objection. This question assumes facts not in evidence.”

  13. Lack of Foundation • Lack of foundation is an objection that arises when an attorney begins to question a witness about a certain subject without first proving that (s)he is qualified to answer questions about said subject. • Ex.) Attorney: Can you tell the court a little about how the bomb was built? • When objecting, the attorney should stand and say “Objection. Counsel has not laid the appropriate foundation.” • NOTE: The opposing party may ask for you to explain how the appropriate foundation has not been laid.

  14. Speculation • Closely tied to Lack of Personal Knowledge, speculative questions ask a witness to testify to the motives, intentions, or reasons behind the actions of another without knowledge of said motives, intentions, or reasons. • Ex.) Attorney: Why do you think he did it? • When objecting, the attorney should stand and say “Objection. This question calls for speculation.”

  15. Unresponsive • The attorney directing or crossing a witness may object if the witness does not directly respond to the questions put to him/her. Witnesses may also be unresponsive if their testimony goes beyond what is asked. • When objecting, the attorney (who should already be standing) should say “Objection. The witness is being/has become unresponsive.”

  16. Unfair Extrapolation • Unfair extrapolation is when a witness includes testimony that was not originally included in the case materials and this testimony can potentially affect the trial’s outcome. • When objecting, the attorney should stand and say “Objection. The witness is unfairly extrapolating.” or “Objection. The witness’s testimony is going beyond the information provided in the case materials.” • NOTE: This objection should only be made if the extra information has a profound impact on the trial.

  17. Something to remember with objections in Mock Trial • Most of the time in Mock Trial, attorney will say “Objection” followed by just the objection. They then offer a brief explanation. • Ex.) “Objection, assumes facts not in evidence. There is no evidence that my client knew this Mrs. Smith that opposing counsel is referring to.”

  18. Read the following excerpt from the affidavit of Rankin Bass carefully, then decide on the appropriate objections for the upcoming scenarios. “On one occasion, I overheard a man who was selling home-made pastries at the market telling his wife that the reason no one was purchasing their goods was because the Spree Party made them outcasts. He said that he thought the Spree had spies coming to the Knave Party organization meeting that reported who was in attendance. He felt that it was not just a coincidence that his business declined shortly after he started going to the meetings. In my opinion, his pastries were not very good. Maybe that had something to do with his lack of customers.”

  19. Directing Attorney: Rankin, how did you know this pastry salesman’s political affiliation? Rankin: Well apart from hearing him say he was a Knave, he had a sign saying “I Hate Oprah Xram!” (the ruler at the time), who was a Spree, and after someone walked by and claimed they were a Spree, he threw a pastry at them. Crossing Attorney: Objection. ________

  20. Crossing Attorney: Objection. Unfair extrapolation.

  21. ANSWER Crossing Attorney: Now, Miss Bass, what color were these pastries? Directing Attorney: Objection. Relevance.

  22. Directing Attorney: Objection. Relevance.

  23. Crossing Attorney: You said this man was selling home-made pastries? Rankin: Yes. Crossing Attorney: He sold pastries? Rankin: Yes, home-made. Crossing Attorney: So, he was a pastry salesman? Directing Attorney: Objection. Asked and answered. ANSWER

  24. Crossing Attorney: You said this man was selling home-made pastries? Rankin: Yes. Crossing Attorney: He sold pastries? Rankin: Yes, home-made. Crossing Attorney: So, he was a pastry salesman? Directing Attorney: Objection. Asked and answered.

  25. ANSWER Crossing Attorney: Do you think this pastry salesman was a Unabomber? Directing Attorney: Objection. Speculation.

  26. Crossing Attorney: Do you think this pastry salesman was a Unabomber? Directing Attorney: Objection. Speculation.

  27. Crossing Attorney: How can you say his pastries were not good!? Are you familiar with the Freedonian customs and food choices? Directing Attorney: Objection. Argumentative. ANSWER

  28. Crossing Attorney: How can you say his pastries were not good!? Are you familiar with the Freedonian customs and food choices? Directing Attorney: Objection. Argumentative.

  29. ANSWER Crossing Attorney: Miss Bass, what was this pastry salesman’s financial situation? Directing Attorney: Objection. Lack of Personal Knowledge.

  30. Crossing Attorney: Miss Bass, what was this pastry salesman’s financial situation? Directing Attorney: Objection. Lack of Personal Knowledge.

  31. Directing Attorney: Miss Bass, let’s go back a little to something we forgot to talk about my first time around questioning you… Crossing Attorney: Objection. Beyond the scope. ANSWER

  32. Directing Attorney: Miss Bass, let’s go back a little to something we forgot to talk about my first time around questioning you… Crossing Attorney: Objection. Beyond the scope.

  33. ANSWER Rankin: Well, let me start from the beginning…(talks for 1 minute) Crossing Attorney: Objection. Narrative.

  34. Rankin: Well, let me start from the beginning…(talks for 1 minute) Crossing Attorney: Objection. Narrative.

  35. Crossing Attorney: Miss Bass, do you have a criminal record? Rankin: No. Crossing Attorney: But I have here that you’ve been busted for speeding, and it looks like you received a ticket. Directing Attorney: Objection. _____________

  36. Crossing Attorney: Miss Bass, do you have a criminal record? Rankin: No. Crossing Attorney: But I have here that you’ve been busted for speeding, and it looks like you received a ticket. Directing Attorney: Objection. This question calls for improper character evidence.

  37. Crossing Attorney: Miss Bass, this pastry salesman allegedly attended Knave meetings? Rankin: Of course he sold pastries. Crossing Attorney: But he did attend Knave meetings? Rankin: Well, yes and no. I heard him say something, but I can’t really tell for sure. Crossing Attorney: So is that a yes or a no? Rankin: Well… Crossing Attorney: Objection. Unresponsive. (Usually the attorney does not say “objection” for this.) ANSWER

  38. Crossing Attorney: Miss Bass, this pastry salesman allegedly attended Knave meetings? Rankin: Of course he sold pastries. Crossing Attorney: But he did attend Knave meetings? Rankin: Well, yes and no. I heard him say something, but I can’t really tell for sure. Crossing Attorney: So is that a yes or a no? Rankin: Well… Crossing Attorney: Objection. Unresponsive. (Usually the attorney does not say “objection” for this.)

  39. ANSWER Directing Attorney: And what, if anything, did this salesman say? Crossing Attorney: Objection. Hearsay.

  40. Directing Attorney: And what, if anything, did this salesman say? Crossing Attorney: Objection. Hearsay.

  41. ANSWER Crossing Attorney: Miss Bass, what hand did you hold the gun in? Directing Attorney: Objection! Assumes facts not in evidence.

  42. Crossing Attorney: Miss Bass, what hand did you hold the gun in? Directing Attorney: Objection! Assumes facts not in evidence.

  43. Directing Attorney (1st Question): Miss Bass, will you please tell the court about the incident concerning the pastry salesman. Crossing Attorney: Objection. Lack of foundation. ANSWER

  44. Directing Attorney (1st Question): Miss Bass, will you please tell the court about the incident concerning the pastry salesman. Crossing Attorney: Objection. Lack of foundation.

  45. Crossing Attorney: You heard this pastry salesman say business had gone down? Rankin: Yes. Crossing Attorney: You’re telling me that you heard him say his business had gone down? Rankin: Yes. Crossing Attorney: How can you be sure of this? Were you part of his business? Directing Attorney: Objection. Badgering. ANSWER

  46. Crossing Attorney: You heard this pastry salesman say business had gone down? Rankin: Yes. Crossing Attorney: You’re telling me that you heard him say his business had gone down? Rankin: Yes. Crossing Attorney: How can you be sure of this? Were you part of his business? Directing Attorney: Objection. Badgering.

  47. ANSWER Directing Attorney: Rankin, you said the pastries tasted bad, right? Crossing Attorney: Objection. Leading.

  48. Directing Attorney: Rankin, you said the pastries tasted bad, right? Crossing Attorney: Objection. Leading.

  49. One final note… • Keep in mind that the vast majority of objections in the Mock Trial universe will not be even close to this easy or clear cut. Most objections can be overlapped. Other things may seem objectionable when in actuality they are not. • Keep practicing the objections and hopefully you will have them mastered by the time the competition comes around.