We were standing in Juvenile Court, about to prosecute a teenaged boy, of burglary. The Judge asked everyone to stand and state their name.
"John Brand, Deputy Prosecutor"
"Linda Jones, Probation Officer"
"Sam Clark, Public Defender"
The teen who was on Trial suddenly blurted out "Michael," and as they look at this very nervous young man, he added, "I'm the one who stole the truck"!
Two burglars rifling through an apartment were disturbed by police and jumped out of a window with a stash of jewellery. Soon afterwards, the police picked up two men acting suspiciously.
While in custody, one man became ill and needed hospital treatment. X-rays showed up the problem: two rings, a pendant, and a necklace—all swallowed in haste. After swift surgery, the apartment owner identified the items, and police did the rest.
Gary Lee Owens, 42, was arrested on drug charges in Stilwell, Kansas, even though police weren't looking for drugs when they knocked on his door.
The police had received a tip that two fugitives were hiding at that address, and since Owens knew nothing about that, he matter-of-factly gave them permission to search the house.
He then added the restriction "everywhere but the garage."
The police naturally decided that this comment was worth a search warrant and later found the remains of a suspected methamphetamine lab.
Protesting Too Much
Arrested on a robbery charge, the law firm's client denied the allegations. So, when the victim pointed him out in a lineup, as one of four men who had attacked him, our client reacted vociferously.
"He's lying!" he yelled. "There were only three of us."
While prosecuting a robbery case, an interview was conducted with the arresting officer.
First question: "Did you see the defendant at the scene?"
"Yes, from a block away," the officer answered.
"Was the area well lit?"
"No. It was pretty dark."
"Then how could you identify the defendant?" he was asked, concerned.
Looking at us as if we were nuts, he answered, "I'd recognize my own cousin anywhere."
Running the Show
I'm a deputy sheriff assigned to courthouse security. As part of my job, I explain court procedures to visitors.
One day, showing a group of ninth-graders around. Court was in recess, and only the clerk and a young man in custody wearing handcuffs were in the courtroom.
"This is where the judge sits," I began, pointing to the bench.
"The lawyers sit at these tables. The court clerk sits over there. The court recorder, or stenographer, sits over here. Near the Judge is the witness stand, and over there is where the jury sits.
As you can see," I finished, "there are a lot of people involved in making this system work."
At that point, the prisoner raised his cuffed hands and said, "Yeah, but I'm the one who makes it all happen!!!"
As a judge, I was sentencing some criminal defendants when I saw a vaguely familiar face. I reviewed his record and found that the man was a career criminal, except for a five-year period in which there were no convictions.
"Milton," I asked, puzzled, "how is it you were able to stay out of trouble for those five years?"
"I was in prison," he answered. "You should know that—you were the one who sent me there."
"That's not possible," I said. "I wasn't even a judge then."
"No, you weren't the judge," the defendant countered, smiling mischievously. "You were my lawyer."
As a potential juror in an assault-and-battery case, I was sitting in a courtroom, answering questions from both sides.
The assistant district attorney asked such questions as: Had I ever been mugged? Did I know the victim or the defendant?
The defense attorney took a different approach, however. "I see you are a teacher," he said. "What do you teach?"
"English and theatre," I responded.
"Then I guess I better watch my grammar," the defense attorney quipped.
"No," I shot back. "You better watch your acting."
When the laughter in the courtroom died down, I was excused from the case.
Not So Humble
I was once a legal secretary to a young law clerk who passed the bar exam on his third try. This fledgling attorney worked hard on his initial pleading, which should have read "Attorney at Law" at the top of the first page.
After I submitted the finished document for his review and signature, I was embarrassed when he pointed out a critical typing error. "Must you rub it in?" he asked.
I had typed: "Attorney at Last."!!
I was a brand-new attorney in practice alone, and I had a likewise inexperienced secretary fresh out of high school.
The importance of proofreading the results of my dictation was highlighted one day when a reminder to a client's tenant to pay her rent or suffer eviction was transcribed as follows:
"You are hereby notified that if payment is not received within five business days, I will have no choice but to commence execution proceedings."
In the United Kingdom…
This dumb criminal left behind a vital clue at a house he'd broken into his mobile phone with a photo of himself on it.
He was recognized by a detective investigating the theft.
At first, the thief claimed he had lost his phone, and someone else was using it, but this excuse fell through when the stolen goods were found at his home.
The 44-year-old was sentenced to 160 hours of community service.
Long Tour of Duty
I work in a courthouse, so when I served jury duty, I knew most of the staff.
As I sat with other prospective jurors listening to a woman drone on about how long the process was taking, a judge and two lawyers passed by, giving me a big hello.
A minute later, a few maintenance workers did the same.
That set off the malcontent:
"Just how long have you been serving jury duty?"
A Little Too Literal
If you're interested in becoming a lawyer, you'll need a degree. But as these court transcripts reveal, the question is, in what?
Attorney: "How was your first marriage terminated?"
Witness: "By death."
Attorney: "And by whose death was it terminated?"
Attorney: "Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?"
Witness: "All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight."
The First Case
An investment banker decides she needs in-house counsel, so she interviews a young lawyer.
"Mr. Peterson," she says. "Would you say you're honest?"
"Honest?" replies Peterson. "Let me tell you something about honesty.
My father lent me $85,000 for my education, and I paid back every penny the minute I tried my first case."
"Impressive. And what sort of case was that?"
"Dad sued me for the money."
Frame of Reference
When my 88-year-old mother was called for jury duty, she had to submit to questioning by the opposing lawyers.
"Have you ever dealt with an attorney?" asked the plaintiff's lawyer.
"Yes. I had an attorney write my living trust," she responded.
"And how did that turn out?"
"I don't know," she said. "Ask me when I'm dead."
After I prosecuted a man for killing a bird out of season with his slingshot, the court clerk suggested setting up a date for him to return with both the money for the fine and proof of community service.
"That way," she said innocently, "you can kill two birds with one stone."
A young lawyer is working late one night when his door opens and in walks Satan himself.
"I have an offer," says Satan. "If you give me your soul and the soul of everyone in your family, I'll make you a full partner in your firm."
The lawyer stares icily at the devil for a full minute before demanding, "So what's the catch?"
Guilty of Annoyance
A defendant isn't happy with how things are going in court, so he gives the Judge a hard time.
Judge: "Where do you work?"
Defendant: "Here and there."
Judge: "What do you do for a living?"
Defendant: "This and that."
Judge: "Take him away."
Defendant: "Wait; when will I get out?"
Judge: "Sooner or later."
The Case of The Imaginary Dogs
My niece was dragged into court by a neighbor who complained about her barking dogs.
At one point, the Judge asked the neighbor a question.
The neighbor didn't reply.
So, the Judge asked again, "Sir, are you going to answer me?"
The neighbor leaped to his feet. "Are you talking to me?" he asked the Judge.
He continued with, "Sorry; I can't hear a darn thing."
The case was dismissed.
Six Dumb Questions Real Lawyers Asked in Court
"How many times have you committed suicide?"
"Were you alone or by yourself?"
"Was it you or your brother who was killed?"
"Without saying anything, tell the jury what you did next."
"Was that the same nose you broke as a child?"
"Now, doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?"
"The Dumpster Made Me Do It"
Judge Caprio recalls the time a woman argued against a parking ticket she'd received for parking in what had clearly been marked a loading zone. Not only was the sign clear on that, but the woman said she typically parked legally in an adjacent spot.
"So why not park legally this time?" the Judge asked.
"Because a dumpster parked in that spot. So, I took the spot the dumpster should have taken."
She had to, hm? She also had to pay her parking ticket...obviously.