What does sustain objection mean?

DURING a trial or deposition, the word "objection" is often used by an attorney to formally protest what is being said.

But what does it mean when the judge responds "sustained"?

What does sustain objection mean in court?

When an attorney objects, they are signalling they want the judge to disallow the testimony being given or a question from the opposing party.

It would be their belief that what is being said in some way violates the rules of evidence or other procedural law, according to Cornell Law School.

During a trial, objections are commonly raised when the opposing side asks a question or requests to put an exhibit into evidence.

When a judge rules the objection is "sustained" it means the judge agrees the question was improper under the rules of evidence.

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The witness may not answer the question but if they answer anyway, their response can be "stricken" through a motion to strike.

A good rule of thumb to remember how it works is sustained means stop.

If a judge disagrees with the objection, they will say "overruled" and proceedings are allowed to continue.

In some cases, the judge will ask the attorney to rephrase their question.

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Some common reasons for objections include:

  • Irrelevant – the testimony given after a question asked or the particular item of evidence is not relevant to the case
  • Violation of the hearsay rule
  • Asked and answered
  • Speculative – the question calls for the witness to speculate about something
  • Violation of the best evidence rule
  • Violation of the hearsay rule
  • Leading

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