Jim Porter: Courtroom bloopers — your favorites
Ryan Summerlin April 25, 2013
You loyal readers always press for “more legalese” — “more boring columns Porter,” but every now and then we need to take a humor break. More courtroom bloopers:
“You seem to have more than the average share of intelligence for a man of your background,” sneered the lawyer at a witness on the stand.
“If I wasn’t under oath, I’d return the compliment,” replied the witness.
A diminutive lawyer, appearing as a witness in one of the courts, was asked by the opposing attorney, who was a giant 6’8”, what he did for a living.
The witness replied that he was a lawyer.
“You, a lawyer?” said the huge attorney, “Why, I could put you in my pocket.”
“Very likely you could,” replied the other. “But if you did, you’d have more law in your pocket than you ever had in your head.”
“Your Honor, in the first place, as they say, I am going to say it. I was going to say what you said and the reason I am going to say it, is not because you just said it. If you had not said it, I was going to say it first.” — A lawyer speaking to a judge.
A lawyer cross-examined the adversary’s main witness:
“You claim to have stopped by Mrs. Edwards’ house just after breakfast. Will you tell the jury what she said?”
“Objection, your Honor,” shouted the other lawyer.
There then followed a long argument between the lawyers as to whether the question was proper. Finally, after 45 minutes the judge allowed it.
So, the first lawyer continued, “Please answer the question: What did Mrs. Edwards say when you went to her house after breakfast on December 3rd?”
“Nothing,” said the witness. “No one was home.”
The judge admonished the witness”
“Do you understand that you have sworn to tell the truth?”
“Do you understand what will happen if you are not truthful?”
“Sure,” said the witness. “My side will win.”
A true story from a prospective jurist, who writes that it occurred during her stint of jury duty:
The first lawyer questioning us began right off as an intimidating showman. when he came to his question, ‘Do any of you here today dislike lawyers?’
Before the pause became too long, the judge announced, “I do.”
Prosecutor: “Did you kill the victim?”
Defendant: “No, I did not.”
Prosecutor: “Do you know what the penalties are for perjury?”
Defendant: “Yes, I do. And they’re a hell of a lot better than the penalty for murder.”
A witness was called to stand to testify about a head-on automobile collision:
“Whose fault was this accident?” the lawyer asked.
“As near as I could tell,” replied the witness, “they hit each other at about the same time.”
Counsel: “Now, in your report under ‘Foundation’ you indicated that there is a minimum of cracking and no signs of settling.”
Counsel: “When you say there is a minimum of cracking, I take it that you did find some cracking.”
Witness: “No. Because if I said there was no cracking, I would be in court just like this answering some stupid lawyer’s questions. So I put minimum in there to cover myself, because somebody is going to find a crack somewhere.”
The Court: “I could say I would like to shake your hand, but I won’t.”
Counsel: “Move to strike.”
The Court: “No. We are not going to strike it.”
Counsel: “Move to strike the word ‘stupid,’ Your Honor.”
The Court: “The most appropriate word you want stricken? It is worth the whole trial.”
The above quotes are from: “Disorderly Conduct – Verbatim excerpts from Actual Court Cases.”
Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City, California, and Reno, Nevada. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the firm’s website www.portersimon.com.