Depp V. Heard: Attorney Objects to His Own Question – But Did He?

April 27, 2022 | Court | Current Events

The headline on this video clip of testimony in the trial of Johnny Depp’s case against his ex-spouse, Amber Heard, says that Amber Heard’s attorney “objects to his own question”. But did he?  What is actually happening here is that he objected to the answer, or at least he intended to do so.

He asked the witness: “You didn’t know what could cause damage to Mr. Depp’s hand while you were there on March 8, correct?”  That question, the way it was asked, calls for a yes or no answer, nothing more.  The witness, instead of answering “yes” or “no”, started explaining.  The explanation contained hearsay. The questioning attorney objected to the hearsay given in the answer, when he didn’t need to go that far.  The judge seemingly overruled his objection because the attorney was the one that asked the question, presumably because, it is true, you cannot object to your own question.

The proper objection would have been “nonresponsive, move to strike.” Any time a question calls for only a “yes” or “no” answer, and the witness gives more, the questioning attorney can object to the answer as nonresponsive to the attorney’s question and move to strike anything beyond “yes” or “no.”