I get a lot of emails about things that were supposedly really said in court. I'm doubtful about most of them.
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
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: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Would you repeat the question?
ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
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: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.
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!
What's the funniest exchange that you have heard or been involved in?
We had an ARP hearing once in which the defense attorney had his guy on the stand. During questions about his background, the defendant mentioned his military experience. This was obviously news to his attorney because he really pepped up at thought of now having a veteran as a client with a somewhat impressive list of duties and stations. Unfortunately, the series ended as the attorney asked how he was discharged and the reply came "court-martialed".
A local DWI defense attorney, known more for his smoke and mirrors defenses than his mental acumen, was recently asked by a judge how long an upcoming trial would take. When he hedged about a time frame, the judge said, "Well, are there any legal issues that will take a lot of time to resolve?" His response: "You know me judge, I don't argue too many LEGAL issues." Even the normally stoic bailiff guffawed at that one.
I was trying an agg. robbery in about 1994. The defendant had an alibi - he was not with the co-defendant (already convicted & who testified that this guy was the mastermind of the agg. robbery) because he was at home arguing with his wife about something. Wife of robber said, they argued late that evening, from 10:00 to 11:00 P.M. Then defendant took the stand and said the same thing. I then broke the rule about not asking questions to which you don't know the answer. So I asked him,
"So how do you know you argued with your wife for exactly one hour? Are you a clock-watcher?"
To which the defendant replied, "Yes, I am."
I then asked him, "So what time did we start testimony after lunch today?"
Defendant's response was priceless - that stuttering, unintelligible stammering that told everybody - he had no freakin' idea when we started up after lunch! He got convicted and the 3g tag, 'cause he was the one with the knife!
Years ago, I tried a woman for murdering her husband and in the middle of trial I found a guy who had been the defendant's supervisor at work and had wanted a closer relationship with her, he had given her at least $2500 over a period of time in his desire to get closer, and while she never gave him exactly what he wanted, he testified that she told him of her attempts to hire a hitman to kill her husband and finally told him how she was going to do the deed herself when the hitman failed to perform. During cross-examination, the defense attorney asked this witness if it wasn't a fact that a couple of months prior to the murder, the witness had given the defendant $800 in order to assist her in getting a hysterectomy, to which the witness replied in the affirmative. Defense counsel then asked if it wasn't true that the witness had DEMANDED sex from the defendant in exchange for the money, to which the witness responded no, but he would tell counsel how it happened if he wanted him to, to which counsel agreed. The witness then proceeded to say that when he gave her the money, he asked the defendant if she "would like to give him a ride in the boat before they re-design the hull".
Needless to say, everybody in the courtroom (except for the defendant and the witness) nearly died from laughter, it took several minutes to regain our composure, and even though the witness was in many respects a screwball, the jury convicted the woman and sent her to prison.
I went through the major portion of a jury trial, sitting with the prosecutor at his table, as is our general course of action in trials across the state. As I have done in a couple hundred trials over the years, (even back when Williamson County's own T. Macdonald was with our unit) I jotted notes and passed them to the prosecutor, fidgeted with paperwork and got bored, as would any normal person in trial.
About the second day of testimony, not including that first day of lengthy voir dire process where all the parties had been identified and pointed out to the panel members, a sudden plea deal was struck and the bad guy took his licks without succumbing to a jury's verdict. Of course the jury was kept on hold in their quiet room during the plea in case things went south, and after all was said and done and everybody was brought back in and made aware of the situation, one of the more intelligent members of our former jury stood up in the courtroom, pointed at me, the innocent one, and said audibly and with clear articulation, "I thought HE (me) was the defendant; why'd that other guy have to plead guilty?"
It was the banjo that threw him off !
Or the jumbo catfish that AP drug into court with him that day!
This summer I tried a dope case when the defense attorney began attacking my DPS chemist (drug section supervisor, impeccable credentials, great witness, etc.). His angle was, of course, to point out that he, the chemist, made a mistake in testing the dope. So he says, "Well [Mr. Chemist], nobody's perfect, right?" The chemist sat there for a bit, quietly pondering his answer, looked up and said, "I can only think of one." You could have heard a pin drop. And then defense counsel followed up with, "And he didn't test it, did he?"
Many years ago I was second chairing a young attorney in our offense, trying to help him through his first murder trial, when in the middle of direct on the usually dry, boring testimony of the pathologist, my bold young associate tried to do the standard bit about identifying the picture of the dearly departed on the autopsy report. However he sort of went off script and asked, "So, Dr. Jones is what I'm showing you a real live picture of B. W. Smith?" To which the doc immediately came back, "No, that is a real dead picture of B. W. Smith."
After I and half the jury picked ourselves up off the floor from laughing, we continued on.
Well, don't know how funny all of this is but it's definitely unique. An ADA and myself just finished a jury trial of an aggravated robber with 10 priors. On Monday, we were having a hearing before jury selection regarding whether the defendant would wear a shock belt during trial or just nylon restaints. The defendant hikes up his leg and (very loudly!!!) passes gas. Nobody said anything. I really couldn't think of the proper (legal) objection... Then, while the ADA was talking to the jury panel during voir dire, the defendant proceeds to talk very loudly to his attorney. This goes on for a minute or two and one of the jury panel members on the front row tells the defendant to hush because he can't hear the ADA. Of course, the defendant doesn't take kindly to that so he gets into a rather heated argument with the jury panel member. We finally got to the lunch hour and the def is locked up in a hold-over cell. When the guards come back in to get him. He's got 2 pieces of metal conduit in his hands. After being threatened with pepper spray, he drops them. Seems he climbed to the roof of the cell and broke off some conduit. He had used them to cut partially through his nylon restraints. So he gets chains put on him for the rest of the day. The judge was very careful about trying to conceal the chain restraints during the remainder of jury selection but the defendant apparently still had gas and proceeded to try to fan his rear with his hands (with the attendant noise of rattling chains). There's even more but it's not appropriate for mixed company. Then the def waived his right to be present during the actual trial and stayed in his cell at the jail. Yep............ quick verdict.....
Mixed company? Come on, Mike, the women on this forum aren't really mixed company, we're prosecutors! Let's hear the rest!
Jane, Jane, Jane... You're assuming that when I used the term "mixed company" that I was referring to men vs. women... Au contraire... I meant that non-prosecutors read this forum as well. I'll just have to fill in the details when I see you at a future seminar.
Lets hear it, speaking from the 'mixed' side.
Long ago, when I suffered a bout of public service in El Paso (actually, it was the most fun I ever had as a prosecutor), one of the older attorneys was quite well known for his uncontrolled flatulence. It was rumored (ok, told by the prosecutor in the courtroom at the time) that during a closing argument to the jury, he let one rip, then turned to his client and threw a stern pointer finger in his direction and admonished him out loud 'I told you not to do that in the courtroom'.
"Now, thats funny, I don't care who ya are"
"The Court: It can't be a dying declaration if the man didn't die and he was under care of professionals."
As an appellate attorney I fell out of my chair laughing when I read this, though I'm pretty sure no one in the courtroom was.
|Powered by Social Strata|
© TDCAA, 2001. All Rights Reserved.