Eighth Circuit reviews whether a challenged evidence ruling by the trial court was properly preserved for appeal under FRE 103(b); the issue turned on whether the trial court’s ruling was “tentative” or “definitive”; the objecting party holds the burden to clarify the nature of the ruling, in United States v. Young, _ F.3d _ (8th Cir. May 23, 2014) (Nos. 12-2527, 12-2593).
I have made this point before about objections. You do an excellent job of making the objection, but did you actually preserve it. Most judges will give you a direct definitive answer on your objection. Some however, deliberately or otherwise punt the ruling. If you get a definitive ruling then the objection is made and preserved. If you get punted, you MUST make the objection again, or as in Young here, you have to pin the judge down.
The consequences of failing to preserve an evidence issue for appeal can be fatal. Either the issue may be waived or it may be reviewed for plain error under FRE 103(e). Under FRE 103(b), addresses the circumstances in which a party needs to renew an objection at trial: “Once the court rules definitively on the record — either before or at trial — a party need not renew an objection or offer of proof to preserve a claim of error for appeal.” the application of this rule was recently reviewed by the Eighth Circuit.