In Cross-Examination Handbook we explain that if the witness is nonresponsive, one countermeasure is to object. The objection to a witness’s nonresponsive answer belongs exclusively to counsel who poses the question. You can also move to strike the nonresponsive answer.
If the witness interjects harmful inadmissible evidence in the nonresponsive answer, you must object in order to preserve the issue for appeal and prevent later use by opposing counsel, such as in closing argument. However, just because you can object, doesn’t mean that you should. If the testimony is nonresponsive but admissible, you are better off not objecting because opposing counsel can get it in anyway. You will only highlight it by objecting.
Two important considerations will determine your objection strategy. First, will the jurors react favorably? Is it apparent to them that the witness is dodging your question? Do they want you to cut the witness off? Second, is the judge fed up enough to sustain the objection? Ordinarily, the judge is more likely to side with the witness and rule against you. You don’t want both the nonresponsive answer of the witness and the judge’s adverse ruling allowing it. Therefore, lean toward resorting to the non-judicial countermeasures discussed in the next two sections and avoid going to the judge. However, if you are confident that the judge will sustain your objection and strike the answer, this countermeasure can help you manage the witness.