Have Your Objections "Locked and Loaded"

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Aug 10, 2021 | 0 Comments

Good court-martial trial lawyers are all about preparation.  They have their case prepared, they've thought through all of the issues, and they have anticipated legal issues and different situations that could arise during the taking of evidence in court.  Anticipating those legal issues is important, and having objections "locked and loaded" and ready to use against the Government's evidence or being ready to defend against the Government's objections is all part of good, sound preparation.

Having objections "locked and loaded" means your court-martial lawyer has properly researched the issues that are sure to arise during the trial.  Those objections that were painstakingly researched weeks before the start of trial can make a huge difference and can result in the exclusion or inclusion of key evidence that either hurts or helps your case.  This level of preparation really separates the veteran trial lawyers from the rookie, newbie lawyers.  Seeing your court-martial lawyer prepared in court, with objections readily available and well-researched with case law to back it up is not only noticed by the Military Judge, but more importantly, its noticed by the panel members judging your case.

Court-martial lawyers with more experience have those objections ready to go.  I generally have my objections thoroughly researched, with citations to supporting case law.  I will have my entire argument written out on my laptop or in my trial notebook.  I've already anticipated when the objection will arise and when to make the objection.  For example, if the Government wants to elicit statements made by an investigator regarding what some random witness purportedly made, I will have that hearsay argument "locked and loaded", and I'll be ready to argue why the evidence is hearsay and inadmissible.  In preparing, I will already have points written out ready to argue, and I'll have citations to past supporting court opinions.  Your court-martial lawyer has to have those objections ready to use when the issue comes up, already anticipating the matter in court.

Having your objections "locked and loaded" will set your court-martial lawyer apart and give him or her credibility.  It will also give your counsel more credibility over the prosecutor, who may not be at that same level of preparation.

Overall, your court-martial lawyer should know when objections will be made in the trial, and know what objections should be expected for each item of evidence.  Second, your court-martial lawyer should diligently prepare well-thought out objections long before trial, always including the rule from the Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM) along with any on-point cases if they exist.  Lastly, your court-martial lawyer should prepare a separate hard copy print-out of the expected objections and written-out arguments in its own separate section of his trial notebook or folder, always keeping it close and readily available to reference throughout trial.

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Ernesto Gapasin



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