Objection! The timeliness and substance of trial objections

if you don’t make the timely objection, you have not only waived the objection and let in untrustworthy evidence, you have also waived the most important issues on appeal.

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You might want to pick up a copy of Dombroff’s Book on trial objections. This is something that most lawyers have not mastered even if they have been practicing for 25 years or more. Besides excluding “bad” exhibits and testimony it teaches the homeowner and the lawyer how to build a case so your evidence won’t be excluded or ignored. I mention this because many lawyers watching me in trial have said the same thing — they never realized how important trial objections were. In Orlando, last month, when I was done, and the Plaintiff rested, I rested and won the case because virtually none of their testimony or exhibits came into evidence. My most esteemed colleague, Patrick Giunta was co-counsel.You can reach him at 954-928-0100.

Objections don’t always work that way but it sure does preserve issues on appeal. And it gives you a much better chance of winning either at trial level or appeal.


The converse is true: if you don’t make the timely objection, you have not only waived the objection and let in untrustworthy evidence, you have also waived the most important issues on appeal.


Timeliness and guts are the key. If the lawyer says something like “I don’t like to make a lot of objections because it will piss of the judge,” run like hell. The Judge is already pissed off and the judge is already starting with the premise that the homeowner is a deadbeat and the judge is very far from thinking that the party seeking foreclosure is just an ordinary thief with a big name. The Judge already thinks that is a big waste of time and that the trial should last 2 minutes. If you concede that position you have already lost and will lose the appeal 9 out of 10 times.


As for timeliness, most lawyers raise their blanket objection after all the objectionable questions have been asked and answered. That is called waiver of objections in trial practice. I don’t know why lawyers do it. When the judge overrules the objection the homeowner doesn’t know that the lawyer should have been doing squats, rising up with almost every question asked with “Objection! hearsay” or Objection? Lack of foundation” or “Objection! Leading” or “Objection! best evidence”.


We want to preserve objections for trial if there is a trial order that says that the parties shall exchange exhibits by a certain date before trial and they shall disclose their objections at that time. And one thing I learned again last month — judges don’t appreciate it when the opposing lawyers “change an order” when they agree on a different set of rules or timing. So if you have a judge that is a stickler for the rules, any agreement that you make with opposing counsel that conflicts with an order is probably going to be ignored.


Of course just because an exhibit or testimony is allowed into evidence doesn’t mean it is automatically taken as true. It can be given zero credibility by the trier of fact. But that relies heavily on your ability to persuade the person sitting on the bench as the trier of fact.

See also the digital version of The Guerilla Guide to Trial Objections. On Amazon Kindle. Very inexpensive.



3 Responses

  1. Good insights that should help homeowners pre court action as well. Last call with Marshall was very good. Garfield said CFPB complaints have helped him get better settlements. Could also help attack the deadbeat bias where homeowners are accused of suing at the last minute.

  2. Bench trial????

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