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A formal attestation or declaration of disapproval concerning a specific point of law or procedure during the course of a trial; a statement indicating disagreement with a judge's ruling.
Some laws provide that an appeal to a higher tribunal can be based only upon errors objected to during the course of a trial conducted in a lower court. An error that initially slips by without any objection by the party's counsel cannot subsequently be set forth as a reason for the appeals court to overturn the original decision in a particular case. The making of objections in open court during the course of a proceeding is important so that on appeal, the appellate court can evaluate the record of the lower court action.
The Federal Rules of Evidence, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure govern the making of objections in federal actions. Comparable state provisions apply to state proceedings.
a lawyer's protest about the legal propriety of a question which has been asked of a witness by the opposing attorney, with the purpose of making the trial judge decide if the question can be asked. A proper objection must be based on one of the specific reasons for not allowing a question. These include: irrelevant, immaterial, incompetent (often stated together, which may mean the question is not about the issues in the trial, or the witness is not qualified to answer), hearsay (the answer would be what someone told the witness and is not what he/she knew first-hand), leading (putting words in the mouth of one's own witness), calls for a conclusion (asking for opinion, not facts), compound question (two or more questions asked together), or lack of foundation (referring to a document lacking testimony as to authenticity or source). An objection must be made quickly and loudly to halt the witness before he/she answers. The judge will either "sustain" the objection (ruling out the question) or "overrule" it (allow the question). The judge may ask for an "offer of proof" in which the lawyer asking the question must explain to the court the reason the question is relevant, and what evidence his/her questions will bring out. Badly worded, confusing or compound questions are usually challenged by an objection to the form of the question, which is essentially a demand that the question be withdrawn and reworded. An attorney may "object" to a witness's answer as "nonresponsive" to the question, but the proper request should be that the answer or a comment without a question be "stricken" from the record. (See: object, hearsay, irrelevant, immaterial, incompetent, compound question, sustain)