Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Objections

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(Ms. Gibla) Do you ever see him at my house?

(Ms. Friendly) Sometimes when he's picking up Tommy for his visits. (Ms. Gibla) Have you ever seen him any other times?

Well, I noticed him twice hanging outside your house trying to look into your bedroom windows.

And I've also seen him drive slowly by your house a lot of times.

(Ms. Gibla) Why do you think he's doing that? (Ms. Friendly) I think he's doing that because - (Mr. Lawless) Objection; calls for speculation

Mr. Lawless, Mr. Filfo's attorney, has just made an objection.

An objection is a way to keep evidence out of the courtroom so the court can't consider it. An objection is used to keep a witness from

testifying about certain information, or it can be used to keep out other forms of evidence, like a document or a photo.

Whenever you make an objection, you must give a reason for the objection. Here the attorney said "objection, calls for speculation."

Calls for speculation means that a witness is not going to be able to testfiy about something he or she does not have personal knowledge of.

Let's see how the judge handles this.

(Judge) Sustained. Ms Gibla, your witness cannot testify about something which she has no personal knowledge of. She's not a mind reader, she cannot possibly guess why Mr. Filfo would do or would not do something.

Ms. Friendly, you cannot answer that question. Ms. Gibla, next question.

When an objection is made, a judge must decide and rule on that objection. The judge may either sustain or overrule that objection. If the judge agrees with your objection, the judge will sustain.

That means that the witness will not be allowed to answer the question, or that some kind of offered evidence will not be allowed in. One way to remember this is that the 'S' in "sustain" means "S" for stop.

So that means that the witness cannot answer the question and the evidence will not be allowed in.

If the judge disagrees with your objection, he will overrule it.

That means that the witness can answer the question or, if you're offering some kind of physical evidence, that evidence will be allowed in and will be considered.

One way to remember this is the "O" in "overrule" means "O" in "OK." So, the witness is ok to answer the question and if there is some physical evidence being offered, it will be considered.

Here, before describing the incident, Ms. Friendly has shown that she has personal knowledge of the incident by saying she was there when it happened.

(Ms. Gibla) What happened? (Mr. Lawless) Objection, vague as to time.

Here's another common objection, don't get frazzled. Just remember that whenever you or a witness talks about an incident, it needs to be mentioned when and where the incident happened.

This is because it helps to establish that a particular incident is relevant. Usually, something that happened two weeks ago is going to be more relevant to your case than something that happened 10 years ago.

(Judge) Ms. Friendly, can you say when what you described happened. (Ms. Friendly) It was on a Saturday, because that's when Mr. Filfo has his visits with Tommy at 2:30, 2 weeks ago.

(Judge) Ms. Gibla, you may continue

(Ms. Gibla) Thank you your honor. Ms. Friendly, what happened two weeks ago?

(Ms. Friendly) I was babysitting Tommy while you went to the grocery store to pick up some things, and Mr. Filfo showed up at 11:45 and he wanted to take Tommy for his visit.

(Ms. Gibla) Was that Mr. Filfo's usual time?

(Ms. Friendly) No, Mr. Filfo's usual time is at 2:30 in the afternoon. (Ms. Gibla) Did you let Tommy go with Mr. Filfo? (Ms. Friendly) No

(Ms. Gibla) Why? (Ms. Friendly) Because the moment I opened the door I saw that Mr. Filfo he had glossy eyes, he smelled like liquor,

he had obviously something spill all over his shirt and I just didn't think I should let Tommy go with him in that condition. (Ms. Gibla) What happened next?

(Ms. Friendly) He got mad, cussed at me and just left.

(Ms. Gibla) Where was Tommy?

(Ms. Friendly) Tommy was standing behind me the whole time. I told him to go into the other room so I could talk to his daddy, but he just wanted to be by me.

Sounds like this testimony could be helpful in determining what is in the best interest of the child, especially since Tommy witnessed what happened. Let's continue.

(Ms. Gibla) Did Mr. Filfo come back? (Ms. Friendly) Yes

(Ms. Gibla) What time? (Ms. Friendly) He came back at 3:45 in the afternoon.

(Ms. Gibla) Was I already home? (Ms. Friendly) Yes

(Ms. Gibla) Were you still there? (Ms. Friendly) Yes

(Ms. Gibla) Why? (Ms. Friendly) Because I was worried about you and Tommy, I didn't want to leave you alone.

(Ms. Gibla) Why were you so worried? (Ms. Friendly) I heard some gossip from Rose, our neighbor, that when Mr. Filfo gets drunk, he gets into fights -

(Mr. Lawless) Objection, hearsay.

As we said earlier, Objections are used to keep out evidence, like the witness's testimony. Hearsay is another common objection.

The reason hearsay is not allowed into testimony is because it's not reliable.

Hearsay is a statement that's being made by a witness on the stand or testifying in court about another statement that they heard someone else say out of court.

It would be far better to bring the person that had originally said the statement into court and let them testify to what they have personal knowledge about.

That way the judge can rely on the testimony.

Now remember, there are many exceptions to hearsay, so it could sound like hearsay, and yet the judge may still allow it into evidence.

(Judge) Sustained. Ms. Friendly, you cannot testify about what you overheard somebody else say. Ms. Gibla, you may continue.

(Ms. Gibla) Ms. Friendly, what happened when Mr. Filfo started kicking me?

(Ms. Friendly) While he was kicking you, I was yelling at him to stop. And he went to go grab Tommy and I ran to the door to stop him, and I immediately called 911.

He then shoved me out of the way and let go of Tommy and just left.

(Ms. Gibla) So where was Tommy in all this? (Ms. Friendly) Poor Tommy, when he saw his dad kicking you, all he could scream was "stop, daddy, stop!"

Again, this kind of testimony could be helpful for me in determining what's in the best interest of the child, especially since I have a third party, Ms. Friendly, who witnessed how Tommy reacted to his father's actions.

(Ms. Gibla) After that incident, did Mr. Filfo do anything threatening towards you?

(Ms. Friendly) Well, Mr. Filfo does weird things, I remember him rummaging through a neighbor's trash can a couple years back when he was still with you.

And he also has this weird habit of talking to all the neighborhood dogs, especially my two little pugs - (Mr. Lawless) Objection, non-responsive!

Non-responsive is another common objection. It means that the witness really isn't answering your question. Here, Ms. Gibla has asked whether her ex-boyfriend ever did anything threatening to Ms. Friendly.

But instead of answering the question, Ms. Friendly begins talking about things really not related to the question.

There's a lot of information that both parties want the judge to hear about, but it's very important to keep your witness focused.

Your questions should be short and simple. And each question and answer should go to make a point in favor of your case.

(Judge) Sustained. Ms. Friendly, would you please just respond to the question that has been asked. Ms. Gibla would you repeat the question?

(Ms. Gibla) Yes your honor. Ms. Friendly, did Mr. Filfo do anything threatening towards you?

(Ms. Friendly) Yes. (Ms. Gibla) What did he do?

(Ms. Friendly) After that incident two weeks ago, he sent this nasty threatening letter to me.

The Description of Objections