Go to navigation Go to content

The defense attorney keeps asking a question the judge says he cannot ask. Are there any repercussions?

 

A:

The defense attorney appears to be badgering the witness at trial. He is asking the same inappropriate question over and over again. The attorney for the injured victim, also known as the plaintiff's attorney, keeps jumping up to object.

The judge keeps yelling "Objection sustained!"

That means the attorney cannot ask that question and the witness is not to answer it.

What happens when the attorney tries to ask the same question 10 different ways?

There are multiple strategies that can be used to highlight the fact that the defense attorney is not listening to the judge and   harrassing the witness.

After the first few times asking the same question he is told he cannot ask, the jury will quickly realize that there is something wrong with the question or the topic. On the other hand, when a lawyer continues to object repeatedly, it can give the impression that he is trying to hide something from the jury.

The defense lawyer knows full well that after the judge sustains the objection, he cannot ask that question again. You can however try and ask it in a different way. The defense attorney will also know that after repeated attempts to ask a similar question, that by continuing to ask the same question over and over again, he runs the risk of alienating the jury.

The jury will quickly see that he is doing this only to harass the witness and that he has no justification for asking this particular question.

If the judge repeatedly advises the defense lawyer to stay away from a particular topic, and the lawyer refuses, the judge will likely admonish the attorney in front of the jury and warn him not to do it again.

In extreme cases, the judge can fine or sanction the attorney for disobeying a court order. In defense, the defense lawyer will argue that he is doing what he is required to do in order to properly defend his client and preserve his client's rights.

In this situation, it is difficult to know what effect this will have on a jury and whether they will take it out on the attorney or the client for the attorney's behavior.