By The Commentary
Evidence. The single most important concept that makes or breaks your case.
You don’t fear the guy that stays seated when he objects and mumbles:
Judge Old Chief : “Overruled.”
Judge Old Chief : “Wrong. Overruled.”
At this point Abel Michelson gives up…and boom, you win the case. Why? Because the evidence that just came into trial demolished your entire case. It ate away your theory. And it quenched its thirst with your theme. A lawyer who knows how to make the rules of evidence work in their favor, simply, wins the game.
Ryan Stygar is a full-time 3L student at California Western School of Law. He is also a former firefighter, a former SBA class representative, and a published fiction author. His latest and first nonfiction book, “Understanding Trial Objections,” will be released on Amazon in two weeks!
Having a background as a firefighter, one of the essential skills Ryan learned was the ability to take big, confusing problems and break them down into small, manageable parts.
Next thing you know, Ryan found himself triaging objections! Too often, students know that opposing counsel is doing something objectionable, but they aren’t sure which objection applies; too often the opportunity to object passes them by; and too often students get stuck trying to figure out how to respond to an objection.
“The purpose of this book is to teach readers the essential skill of excluding opposing counsel’s evidence, and to overall teach readers about evidence.”
Through months of research, and hours of interviews with practicing attorneys, Ryan found a way to break down every objection into essential “ingredients.”
Each trial objection gets its own chapter, broken down into five, soon to be seen as simple, parts:
- Red flags / what to look for
“I wrote this book because I wanted to help students make trial objections an easy-to-use part of their skillset.”
Ryan explains the federal rules of evidence with multiple examples, not only showing how to raise each objection but also how to defeat them ALL! This book provides examples from real cases actually observed in court as well as a few Ryan specifically created to demonstrate a particular skill. To make sure readers win the game, Ryan even includes an easy-to-use chart, which defines each objection and keys it to the specific evidence code that supports it.
So how does one decide to go from writing books about snot rockets to evidence objections?
“I know right?” Ryan explains that he got the inspiration while clerking for Judge Medel at the Superior Court. There, he had the opportunity to not only observe trial attorneys in action, but also got the insider view of a judge’s perspective. That’s when he started his research.
Knowing how to raise an objection is the easy part. Much more challenging is knowing how to beat one. As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said:
“A smart man knows the rules, but a wise man knows the exceptions.”