I’m not sure.  As far as I know, this information is not compiled at either the federal or state level.

The most common objections at criminal trials might be different from objections at civil trials but I’m not sure.

Here’s a guess at the most common objections at civil trials:

  • Relevance 

To be admissible at trial, evidence must be relevant.  Law professors like this type of question on exams because it is so fundamental students often forget about it.   To be relevant, under Rule 401 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, the evidence must make a consequential fact more or less likely to be true.

 Balancing against relevance is the possibility of prejudice.  That is, if evidence would make it likely that a jury would dislike one of the parties, and that prejudice outweighs the value of the evidence, then a judge might not admit the evidence even if it has some relevance to the trial.

Generally speaking, a person cannot testify about what another person said outside the courtroom, for the truth of the matter asserted.  Wally can’t testify that Terry told him last week that the defendant, David, caused a car crash.  Terry can testify as to what she personally witnessed but Wally can’t testify for her.  Likewise, Wally can’t read a note that Terry wrote about David causing the accident.  There are some exceptions.  I’ll try to have more videos up but I do have a couple hearsay videos on my YouTube page.

  • Best evidence rule

To prove the contents of a document, the party should present the document unless an exception applies. Best Evidence Rule Video is here.

  • Speculation/Inadmissible opinion testimony

Courts distinguish between percipient witnesses (also known as eye-witnesses or fact-witnesses) and expert witnesses.  Percipient witnesses testify as to what they personally experienced and generally do not give their opinion as to matters that require expert knowledge.  We do not expect a doctor to testify as to whether a car was designed properly.  

Similarly, witnesses can’t speculate as to things outside their personal knowledge.     For example, we can ask Wally when he sent an email.  However, Wally can’t tell us what Terry was thinking when she read the email.