Overruling Her Own Objection

by Jamison Koehler on July 19, 2013

Midway into my cross-examination of the police officer, the judge calls the prosecutor and me up to the bench so that she can talk to us outside the hearing of the jury.

“That line of questioning is objectionable,” she tells me.

We spend a few minutes debating this, and I ultimately convince her that the government opened the door to my line of questioning on direct.  So she sends us back to continue the cross-examination. She has in effect overruled her own objection.

But the damage is done.  She took me out of my rhythm.  She signaled to the jury that she thought I was doing something wrong.  And she put the prosecutor on notice that the court thought he should be objecting more.  Sure enough, the prosecutor objects on my very next question.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Max Kennerly July 25, 2013 at 5:35 am

If there’s a claim for ineffective assistance of counsel, is there a claim for effective interference of court?

Jamison Koehler July 25, 2013 at 6:21 am

Ha, ha.

I hate when you feel as though you face two adversaries: opposing counsel and the judge.

And in D.C., there are far more former prosecutors on the bench than former defense attorneys.

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