March 1987 - At The Harris County Courthouse
Judge Frank Price, asking a defendant whether anyone had promised him an easy sentence in exchange for pleading guilty:
Q. Has anyone led you to believe the governor will pardon you if you plead guilty?
A. Well, I haven't been home judge, but he might have called my mother.
January 1990 - Let's Be Particularly Careful
From Robert F. Alexander of Houston, this testimony from a cocaine possession trial before a jury and Judge Miron Love (177th District Court, Harris County). The cocaine was allegedly found by the jail officer/witness during a "routine inventory search"; on cross, Robert is trying to establish that this "client was quite sober during his search."
Q. So my question once again is, with regard to whether or not he had been drinking, do you have an opinion as to whether he was heavily intoxicated, mildly intoxicated or stone sober?
A. I do not have an opinion on that, sir.
Q. Do you think if he had been falling down drunk, you would have noticed?
A. I'm sure I would have.
Q. And do you think if he had a strong odor of alcohol about his breath, you would have noticed?
A. No. I can't smell.
Q. (With Disbelief) You can't smell?
A. No, sir.
Q. No kidding?
A. No kidding.
[Pause — then question from defense counsel, now with genuine concern and empathy.]
Q. Is that for like all the time?
A. Well, it has to be a very, very, very strong odor for me to be able to smell.
Q. I'm sorry to hear that.
A. Working in the jail, sometimes it's an advtange.
From Thomas B. Alleman of Dallas (the Winstead firm), this letter "suggesting the most singular method for resolving a dispute that [Tom] has seen in 25 years of practicing law."
Enclosed please find a check in the amount of $2,500.00 representing an installment toward the payment pursuant to the Tuesday Morning override. As I indicated to you via telephone and in person, the balance shall be paid forthwith.
... If you, Bob Grady, or any other member of your team disagree with the priority of this foregoing, I sincerely desire that we have a telepathic or face-to-face conference to discuss your position.
March 1998 - It Only Hurts When I Laugh
An elderly farmer — who hadn't been to town in many years — hitched his horse to the rig, called his dog, and went to See the Sights. Of course, at the first interstate near town, a speeding car hit the rig, dolishing it and seriously injuring the farmer and his horse and his dog. At the trial of the personal injury suit brought by the farmer, a police officer testified that he arrived immediately after the accident; that he asked the plaintiff/farmer how he felt; and that the plaintiff said, "I never felt better in my life." Then, the plaintiff was re-called by his attorney:
Q. Did you really tell that police officer that, after the accident, you never felt better in your life?
A. Yep, that's what I said.
Q. I want you to explain that, please.
A. Well, you see, I was knocked unconscious in the accident, and when I came to I saw this officer examining my horse, and then he took out his gun and shot him in the head. Then he examined my dog and shot him in the head. Then he came to me and asked, "How do you feel?"
May 1989 - I'm Glad We Cleared That Up
Judge William L. Baskette, Jr. of Kerr County sends this "unplanned discussion" which took place in a hearing before him:
The Court: And what is the basis of your motion? Do you have any case law or anything you'd like to cite to the Court at this time?
Attorney: In our last hearing in this case, I was left here with the thought that the Court had said based on some 25 cases of Mr. Stehling's that the Court was issuing an edict or ruling, or a ruling that he contemplated or whatever, saying that if the state —
The Court: The court doesn't issue edicts; only the Pope does.
From Joseph G. Rollins of Houston, this excerpt from a Trespass To Try Title case that he tried in Sherman "way back in the early 1950's." Joseph sets the stage by explaining that the witness' father had been "well known to have been an alcoholic."
Q. And your father died intestate?
A. (Halfway coming out of his seat) No, he died in a train wreck, Mr. Rollins, and you know it!!
Judge: He's just trying to find out if your daddy had a will.
A. Well, why didn't he just ask me that instead of getting personal about it.
From Tod A. Phillips of Galveston (McLeod, Alexander, etc.), this deposition excerpt from a railroad accident case:
Q. Had you seen that car up on the tracks before the accident?
A. No, sir.
Q. Never saw it before you hit it?
A. We saw it right at —
Q. Right at the last minute?
Q. How far were you from it when you hit it?
May 1997 - Spouses and Headaches
From George H. Nelson of Lubbock (Nelson & Hall), this marvelous explanation that one of his clients gave for wanting a divorce.
I've tried to get alon with her but I no sooner get home from work till she starts telling me to do the washing, carry out the trash, clean up the house, cook my own supper, excederin, excederin.