Duty of a Lawyer to Object to Improper Comments Made During Closing Arguments
In Florida, "just like with any other trial error, lawyers have a duty to object to improper comments made during closing arguments." Fravel v. Haughey, 727 So. 2d 1033, 1034 (Fla. 5th DCA 1999) (en banc).
In Pfeifer v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp., 678 F.2d 453, 457 n.1 (3d Cir. 1982), vacated on other grounds, 462 U.S. 523 (1983), the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit stated that the reasons for the contemporaneous objection requirement:
Go to the heart of the common law tradition and the adversary system.
It affords an opportunity for correction and avoidance in the trial court in various ways: it gives the adversary the opportunity either to avoid the challenged action or to present a reasoned defense of the trial court's action; and it provides the trial court with the alternative of altering or modifying a decision or of ordering a more fully developed record for review.
In castor v. State, 365 So. 2d 701, 703 (Fla. 1978), this Court similarly stated:
The requirement of a contemporaneous objection is based on practical necessity and basic fairness in the operation of a judicial system.
It places the trial judge on notice that error may have been committed, and provides him an opportunity to correct it at an early stage of the proceedings.
Delay and an unnecessary use of the appellate process result from a failure to cure early that which must be cured eventually.