Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Humor in courtroom

Just as in any other field, there are several funny anecdotes and jokes about courtroom exchanges.  There are some I have heard when I was in school and they still linger in the mind.

Just as it is difficult to face and answer a veteran lawyer during cross examination, it is difficult for the lawyers also to handle experienced witnesses.   Some of these witnesses are found frequently in court and as such they are called "Court-birds".  One such witness was being cross examined by an advocate.

"How far you were from the scene of the accident?"
"I was eighteen feet and three inches away?"
"How do you say so accurately?"
"I knew some stupid lawyer would ask me in the court and hence I actually measured it".

In another court a witness was always giving long replies and the examining attorney was exasperated.
"I do not want lengthy answers. Just answer "Yes" or "No"  to my questions"
"It is not possible to answer all questions with yes or no, Sir"
"Why it is not possible?"
"OK, I will ask a question and you answer yes or no"
The advocate feel for the trap. "Ask your question",  he said.
"Have you stopped beating your wife?",  the witness asked.

Several years ago, a friend sent me a selection of courtroom exchanges between witnesses and attorneys.  These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts, and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters who had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place.   They make interesting reading and will evoke the same laughter when read with a gap in time.

Attorney:      What is your date of birth?
Witness :      July 18th.
Attorney:      What year?
Witness  :     Every year.

Attorney :    What gear were you in at the moment of  the  impact?
Witness  :    Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

Attorney    :    How old is your son, the one living with you?
Witness     :    Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember  which.
Attorney    :    How long has he lived with you?
Witness     :    Forty-five years.

Attorney    :    What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
Witness     :    He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
Attorney    :    And why did that upset you?
Witness     :    My name is Susan.

Attorney    :    Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't  know about it until the   next morning?
Witness     :    Did you actually pass the bar exam?

Attorney    :    The youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old is  he?
Witness     :    Uh, he's twenty-one.

Attorney    :    Were you present when your picture was taken?
Witness     :    Would you repeat the question?

Attorney    :    So the date of conception (of the baby) was August  8th?
Witness     :    Yes.
Attorney    :    And what were you doing at that time?
Witness     :    Uh....

Attorney    :    She had three children, right?
Witness     :    Yes.
Attorney    :    How many were boys?
Witness     :    None.
Attorney    :    Were there any  girls?

Attorney    :    How was your first marriage terminated?
Witness     :    By death.
Attorney    :    And by whose death was it terminated?

Attorney    :    Can you describe the individual?
Witness     :    He was about medium height and had a beard.
Attorney    :    Was this a male or a female?

Attorney    :    Is your appearance here this morning  pursuant  to deposition notice which I sent to your  attorney?
Witness     :    No, this is how I dress when I go to work.

Attorney    :    Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on  dead  people?
Witness     :    All my autopsies are performed on dead people.

Attorney    :    ALL your  responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go  to?
Witness     :    Oral.

Attorney    :    Do you recall the  time that you examined the body?
Witness     :    The autopsy started around 8:30  p.m.
Attorney    :    And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
Witness     :    No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing  an autopsy on  him!

Attorney    :    Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
Witness     :    Huh

Attorney    :    Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check  for a  pulse?
Witness     :    No.
Attorney    :    Did you check for blood pressure?
Witness     :    No.
Attorney    :    Did you check for breathing?
Witness     :    No.
Attorney    :    So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when  you began the  autopsy?
Witness     :    No.
Attorney    :    How can you be so sure, Doctor?
Witness     :    Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Attorney    :    But could the patient have still been alive,  nevertheless?
Witness     :    Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and  practicing  law!

Attorney    :    This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
Witness     :    Yes.
Attorney    :    And in what ways does it affect your memory?
Witness     :     I forget.
Attorney    :    You forget? Can you give us an example of something that you've forgotten?

There are thousands more.  Keeping us laughing.


  1. Excellent and enjoyable humor. Refreshing for the mind.

  2. Sanjeev Kumar SungerDecember 5, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    really eeeexxxcellent....:-)))

  3. fantabulous Maama!!!! most refreshing especially after boarding the train early in the morning!!!! :D