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An Explanation of Inflammatory Statements


Inflammatory questions or an inflammatory statement can be objected to within a trial by the opposing counsel. An inflammatory question or an inflammatory statement would be one which would somehow predispose the listeners towards a subject in an unreasonable, prejudiced way. For example, an inflammatory set of questions might involve one attorney asking questions which produce the impression that a particular witness, or the defendant him or herself, actually has a history of criminal activity and behavior, where no such history might exist. If such a history did exist, then an inflammatory statement might include the attorney making some comment as to the fact that it seems likely the defendant would have been predisposed to perform the crime, or making some statement to the effect that the witness might not be trustworthy due to his or her prior experiences. Such an inflammatory question or sentence can be objected to because it falls under the overall purview of deceptive, manipulative tactics employed for the sake of winning an argument instead of actually determining the proper dispensation of justice. An objection regarding an inflammatory statement or question would likely require significant judgment on the part of the judge as to whether or not it was inflammatory and appropriate for being disallowed, unless the statement was clearly and unquestionably inflammatory. If the judge believed that a particular question or piece of evidence would unjustly inflame the jury, however, then the judge would likely sustain an objection of an inflammatory statement. For example, if one attorney attempted to use a line of questioning which inflamed the jury against the defendant because he or she is Muslim, and therefore “has links to terrorists,” then the judge would almost certainly sustain an objection of an inflammatory statement or question.

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