Common Types of Evidentiary Objections
Are you involved in a divorce or child custody case? You are probably feeling a bit overwhelmed at life events and the legal process. The good news is that you can take charge and seek expert assistance. It is important to educate yourself and learn about the trial process if your case will go to trial to include common evidentiary objections.Objections
It is possible to object to improper questions asked by the other party at trial. However, there are specific times when it is appropriate to object. These are defined in the Colorado Rules of Evidence. When you object, you will say "Objection" and then state your reason. The witness should stop answering the question and wait for the court to sustain or overrule the objection. If the court sustains the objection, then the witness does not continue the answer. If the court overrules the objection, then the witness continues the answer.
Because the parties file evidence seven days in advance of trial, you will you will be able to prepare objections in advance as to the documentary evidence. With regards to testimonial evidence, you will have to recognize and formulate those on the spot during testimony. Common types of objections are:Hearsay CRE 803
Hearsay is an out of court statement offered for the truth of the matter asserted. It is something said out of court by someone who is not a party to the case or by someone who is not available to testify. The reason for this rule is because the statement can not be verified if the speaker is not present to testify and be cross examined on any statement alleged to have been said.
There are some hearsay exceptions wherein hearsay may be allowed because it is offered for a purpose other than to show the truth of the matter asserted. Some hearsay exceptions for statements are:
- To show the effect on the listener
- Prior inconsistent statement made under oath at an earlier court proceeding
- Admission by the other party to the action
- Statement against interest - based on the premise that a statement made that is not in the party's interest is likely to be true
- Dying declaration - based on the premise that a statement made shortly prior to death is likely to be true
- Excited utterance - made at or near the time that the act causing the utterance is committed - based on the premise that a statement made in the course of experiencing an emotion is likely to be true
- Present sense impression - a statement made while perceiving an event - based on the premise that a statement made contemporaneously with perceiving something is likely to be true
- Statements made to medical personnel for purpose of diagnosis or treatment - based on the premise that a statement made to receive a medical diagnosis or treatment is likely to be true
- Public records with certification
- Business records with certification
Testimony has to be relevant to the issues that the court has to decide. Testimony that is not relevant does not help the court and could prejudice the Judge against a person for reasons unrelated to the legal issues to be decided. Sometimes parties are angry at the other and want to publicly disparage them, however unless specifically related to a legal element that the court must find, this approach is generally not helpful to the court.Speculation CRE 602
Witnesses can only testify as to matters within their personal knowledge. They can not speculate. Speculation is not considered to be reliable information as it is not a description of existing facts presented by someone with firsthand knowledge of the facts.Privilege CRE 501 & 502
Certain communications are protected and can not be required to be disclosed in court. Examples are communications between attorney and client, doctor and patient, therapist and patient and priest and parishioner. The public policy reason for this is so that people can speak freely and benefit from these relationships. If they had to worry about later disclosure of the conversations, many people would not feel free to be open and to fully disclose in such conversations.Settlement Negotiations CRE 408
Settlement communications are protected for the same reasons as privileged communications. The protection fosters agreements between parties outside of court.Turning Change Into Opportunity in Colorado Springs
A knowledgeable and experienced divorce and family law attorney can guide you through Colorado Springs divorce and family law matters by negotiating, mediating and litigating and advising as to common types of evidentiary objections. Sabra Janko from Janko Family Law has more than years of legal experience. Contact us at 719-344-5523 for a free 30-minute informational consultation or complete our online form.