June 27, 2003
 
July 1989 - Did I Really Hear That?
Jim D. Bowmer of Temple (Bowmer, Courtney) sent me a couple of stories "about our great friend Percy Foreman." One time when Percy was questioning a prospective juror of German heritage in Comal County, which is not noted for its leniency against criminal defendants. It wa a murder case. The questioning had been centered on the venireman's concept of reasonable doubt." Finally, Percy asked:

Q. What would you do if you thought the defendant was innocent?

A. (After a long period of silent deliberation) Oh, about two years.

June 25, 2003
 
June 1987 - Did I Really Hear That?
George A. Kelt, Jr., a United State Magistrate in Houston, discovered "this bit of testimony given by the young widow in the case concerning the fracus" in State of Texas v. Charlie Coleman:

Q. Do you remember what day of the week Nov. 29, 1980 was?

A. It was on a Saturday.

Q. Were you or your husband working that day?

A. No, sir.

Q. Sometime during the day of Nov. 29, 1980 did something unusual happen, ma'am?

A. Nothing except my husband got shot.

Q. About what time of the day was that?

A. It was about 2:30 or a quarter to three, something like that.

June 23, 2003
 
June 2002 - Did They Really Say That?
From Jeffrey S. Lisson of Winston-Salem, N.C., this excerpt from a deposition he "recently took of a maintenance supervisor for a hotel at which a paraplegic woman I represent was scalded in a hotel bathroom."

Q. [By Mr. Lisson]: Have you ever undergone any training or gone to any seminars from the American Hotel/Motel Association?

Mr. Helms: Are you talking about him personally?

A, Yes. That's why I said you.

 
January 1992 - Tell Me About Your Education
Q. How far did you go in school?

A. About 4 1/2 miles, both ways, every day.

June 20, 2003
 
February 2002
From Paul A. Leche of Austin (Paul is General COunsel of the Texas Department of Human
Services), this contribution:
Years ago in Washington, D.C., I had a case before a large federal agency in which I was eager to call as a witness a highly placed administrator in tha agency. Opposing counsel was sure to object that the witness would not be able to add anything new. When I made my request, he jumped to his feet and said that the proposed witness' testimony would be "duplicitous." For the record, I agreed.

June 19, 2003
 
April 1998 - Pursuing the Truth
From Bill Reid of Austin. Examination of officer by a defense attorney.

Q. You haven't discussed this case with anybody prior to today, have you?

A. yes.

Q. Who was that?

A. Everybody. I was wondering why I was subpoenaed

Q. Okay, and did they tell you?

A. They didn't know either.

Q. They didn't know?

A. No.

June 18, 2003
 
January 1992 - Tell Me About Your Education

Q. Did you graduate from high school?

A. No, but I got right up to the 11th grade.

June 17, 2003
 
July 1987 - Did I Really Hear That?
From John R. Halliburton, an assistant U.S. attorney in the Western District of Louisiana, shares this testimony from the examination of a doctor:

Q. Do you drink?

A. Yes. Well, not at the moment. I've been sober now going on three years. But before that I used to drink fluently.

June 16, 2003
 
October 2002 - "A/K/A/ BUBBA"
From David A. Rutledge of El Paso, who found the style of this case so interesting that he sent a copy to Jay Leno as well as "et cetera."

The State of Texas, Plaintiff
v.
Cox, Sylvester, A.K.A. Butler, Sylvester, A.K.A. Sylvester Butler, A.K.A. Bubba

June 13, 2003
 
October 2002 - The Record Will So Reflect
From Judith K. Shipway of Austin, Judith is an Assistant District Attorney for Travis County. This excerpt is from direct examination conducted by Chris Dagan, also a Travis County Assistant District Attorney. Judith suggests this is how "a careful prosecutor makes sure the record clearly reflects the meaning of the words used by a witness in his or her testimony."

A. "Well, I'm walking home," is what he tells me, "I"m walking home." And she opened the door and jumped out. Then he said she stood up and flicked him off.

Q. Okay. And what is your opinion about what he meant of flicking off? Some kind of gesture?


A. (Indicating).

Q. Okay.

Mr. Dagan: I guess, Your Honor, the record should reflect that the witness pointed her middle index finger at the prosecutor.

The Court: The record will so reflect.

June 12, 2003
 
June 1988 - How Long Was Basic Training?
Joe A. Williams of San Antonio submits this excerpt concerning a somewhat unusual military career.

Q. Well, how long was basic training?

A. Well, I got hurt in basic training and I stayed there extra long.

Q. What happened to you in basic training?

A. I got jungle rot?

Q. What's jungle rot?

A. It's like, I guess, athlete's foot, but it gets worse.

Q. Is that all behind you? Did the rot go away?

A. On my feet.

Q. You still got it?

A. No.

June 11, 2003
 
January 2002 - Did They Really Say That?
From Elisa Maloff Reiter of Dallas, this letter which she received from a legal assistant at another Dallas firm.

RE: In the Matter of the Marriage of ...

Dear Ms. Reiter:
Pursuant to Mr. Brumley's request, following you will find the initialed page 18 by Mr. Brumley and our client. Mr. Brumley apologizes fr the incontinence.

Sincerely

June 10, 2003
 
September 1997 - Did They Really Say That?
From Sharon E. Conway of Houston (Evans, Kosot, etc.), this excerpt from the deposition of her client in a DTPA/fraud case, which involved the wrongful repossession of a truck purchased by her client.

Q. Has he been treated for any injuries in this case?

A. No.

Q. Has he seen a doctor or psychiatrist or health-care professional in this case?

A. No.

Q. Has he met with clergy or other counselors relative to the incidents of this reposssion?

The Witness: Clergy, is that you?

Ms. Conway: No, I think I'm the opposite.

Q. Pastor or minister or something?

A. No.

June 09, 2003
 
December 1987 - I Refuse To Answer
Josh Turin of Dallas was representing a client in a recent deportation hearing. According to Josh, the client was attempting to follow "my advise [when he] gave the following answer to a question regarding his possibly fraudulent marriage to a United States citizen":

A. I refuse to answer that question on the ground that it tmay tend to inseminate me.

June 06, 2003
 
December 1987 - Did I Really Hear That?
Judge David Cleveland of Palo Pinto (29th District Court) submits this testimony from two criminal cases:

Q. Do you have an attorney?

A. No.

Q. You are advised that you must have an attorney to represent you. Can you afford an attorney?

A. No.

Q. Are you a pauper?

A. No.

Q. Are you destitute?

A. No, I'm a Baptist.

June 05, 2003
 
May 1985 - What About Your Job?
Q. Why did you leave there?

A. Well, I caught myself getting a better job.

June 02, 2003
 
September 1997 - Making Buchmeyer's Column
From Loren G. Klitsas of Houston (Celedonia, Smith & Klitsas), this excerpt from the long cross-examination of an investigating police officer "recording his opinions as to the cause of the traffic accident."

Q. Have any of your opinions changed after all this stuff that they've told you and all this stuff that they've shown you?

Mr. Klitsas: Objection, vague.

A. No.

(Court Reporter sneezed).

Mr. Lapidus: Bless you.

Mr. Celedonia: Are you saying that to the deputy or to the court?

Mr. Lapidus: That just made Buck Myers' column.


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About the Judge


In Memory of Judge Jerry Buchmeyer, 1933-2009
Real life Texas Courtroom Humor.
From 1980 to 2008, U.S. District Judge Jerry Buchmeyer entertained lawyers far and wide with his "et cetera" column in the Texas Bar Journal. For this page, we've reached into the vault to bring you classic material spanning two decades of courtroom humor, most of which comes straight from actual depostions and trials.


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Buchmeyer's First Podcast

In June 2006, Judge Buchmeyer was interviewed by the Legal Talk Network.

Click here to listen (Windows Media format)


Classic Articles

Labor Relations: The Wututtut Review Brimelow v. Casson (& A Strike)
June 1983

Jurisdiction: Serving Satan Mayo v. Satan & His Staff
February 1984

Judicial Reasoning: "The Law Is A Ass"
December 1983

'Tis the Season
December 1984

A Fable
March 1985

Classic Article Archive

Links

Order Buchmeyer's new book, Texas Courtroom Humor (pdf format)

Ernie The Attorney Searching for Truth & Justice (in an unjust world)

Inter alia An internet legal research weblog

Lawhaha Andrew McClurg's Legal Humor Headquarters




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