"OBJECTION JUDGE!" I shout out.
"OBJECTION! THAT'S HEARSAY!" I say as I jump up out of my seat.
"OBJECTION YOUR HONOR, HE'S LEADING THE WITNESS!" I argue.
This continues throughout your trial.
I'm getting tired of making these objections.
The defense is doing everything he can to gain an advantage in your case.
The jury is getting frustrated every time I object.
You're sitting in the back of the courtroom watching the trial and wondering if there's a maximum number of times I can object.
The answer is no, there's no limit to how many times an attorney can object during a civil trial in New York.
Let's go back for a moment and explore why an attorney objects during trial.
It's really to alert the judge that something's wrong.
It's to tell the judge that my opponent is doing something he shouldn't be doing.
I want the judge to correct what's happening.
Maybe the attorney is asking an improperly worded question.
Maybe my adversary is asking the witness a question after being told by the judge he can't ask that question.
Maybe the defense lawyer is trying to get a document into evidence that the judge has already said can't be shown to this witness. Maybe the lawyer is trying to have a witness testify who is not qualified. There could be many reasons why an attorney would raise an objection.
An objection is simply an attorney voicing his belief that something is wrong.
It gives the trial judge an opportunity to decide if the lawyer is correct.
It gives the judge a chance to fix the mistake as it's happening.
There's another key reason why an attorney objects.
It has to do with what happens if he and his client lose the case.
If he appeals the verdict, the higher court will evaluate the trial transcript to see if there were errors of law made by the judge.
The appellate court looks to see what the attorneys and the judge were doing at the time one of the lawyers objected.
Was the judge asleep?
Was the attorney doing something he was already told not to do?
Did the judge make an error of law in deciding this issue and did it make a difference in the outcome of the case?
If an attorney fails to make an objection when something is wrong and now tries to appeal the verdict, the appellate court stops him and says "Wait a second counselor... you want us to decide, at the appellate level, whether something was done wrong during this trial? The trial transcript shows that you never objected when this was happening. Because you failed to object when you should have, you have waived your right to appeal this particular issue. Your request to appeal this verdict on this issue is denied."
What does that mean?
It means that if the attorney doesn't object when the wrongdoing is actually happening, he will have lost his chance to appeal on that particular issue. From a practical standpoint, that forces the attorney to make many objections during trial in order to preserve his right to appeal those issues if the need arises later.
You should know that the attorney must balance his need to object with the jury's perception that he's trying to hide something from them or keep them from certain records or evidence. Not every perceived wrongdoing must be objected to. Young attorneys don't realize this yet.
If you watch seasoned trial lawyers, you will find that they don't object to every improper tactic by their adversary. Only the ones they feel are important.