June 30, 2005
 
June 2003 - I Can Now

From Joseph Jacobson, Texas Bar Journal, Vol. 49, No. 4 — April 1986.

Q. Isn’t it a fact that you have been running around with another woman?

A. Yes, it is, but you can’t prove it!

June 29, 2005
 
March 2004 - Don’t Have A Cow

Todd Anderson of Midland (Todd is a court reporter for U.S. District Judge Robert Junell) submits an excerpt from a 404(b) hearing involving Assistant U.S. Attorney John Klassen.

Mr. Klassen: The problem is if I introduce it [the defendant’s prior conviction] and I’m wrong, then the case is going to get reversed. And these cases do get reversed for — You know what, Judge? I’m not going to offer it, but I am going to have a cow if there is an argument at closing that ‘the Government hasn’t brought you any evidence that my client knows anything about cocaine.’

The Court: Okay. Could you not have your cow on the carpet?

Mr. Klassen: I will try not to do that.

The Court: Because it is expensive to clean the carpet when you have your cows there, Mr. Klassen. Could we get you to use the linoleum to do that?

Mr. Klassen: Certainly.

June 28, 2005
 
July 2005 - Ozzie and Harriett

These two contributions are from Stephen A. Doggett of Richmond from his examination of the husband in a divorce case:

Q. So, what are you saying? Are you saying she is not a good mother? …

A. I’m just saying that sometimes I may have felt that she did things I wouldn’t have done.

Q. Well, you are not supposing … that everybody is an Ozzie and Harriett kind of family situation, are you?

A. I don’t know who Ozzie and Harriet are.

Ms. Scardino: Can I ask Roger if he would take all of that out of the record?

The Court: No, Ms. Scardino. You have shot your own foot off about your age.

Ms. Scardino: Okay. I guess I will continue now.

June 27, 2005
 
From Donald K. Buckman of Fort Worth (Cantey & Hanger), this "snippet of testimony" from the deposition of the plaintiff in a nursing home whistleblower case.

Q. Are you married?

A. More or less. Can I -

Q. I've never had that answer before.

A. I mean, the girl that I've been with, I've been with for - you know, for a long time.

Q. What would she say if I asked her if she was married? Would she say "yes" or "no" or "more or less"?

A. Yeah, yeah, we're - I say I'm married. Like, if someone, you know, asked me at a job or something, I'm married.

Q. No ceremony?

A. I meant - no, sir. That's what I meant by "more or less." I'm sorry.

June 24, 2005
 
January 1992 - From the Trials of Buchmeyer, Too

Q. What did you do with the money you got from the land flip?

A. Bought a Mercedes 450 SL convertible.

Q. Why?

A. Well, it was a little less ostentatious than buying a Rolls Royce.

June 23, 2005
 
June 2004 - Classic Typos

Charles W. Hury of McAllen received this last page of an apartment lease guaranty form from a friend whose son is attending Texas A&M.

7. Binding Nature. This Guaranty shall be binding upon and unsureto the benefit of the parties hereto and there respective heirs, legal representatives, successors and assigns.

Charles adds: “Apparently … the parties to the contract, in an unusual flash of honesty, are actually admitting they do not have a clue as to how a guaranty actually works.”

June 22, 2005
 
October 1997 - The Plea

Promises, Promises...
From Michael D. Valicek of San Antonio, this paragraph in a not-so-standard plea agreement in a criminal case in Comal County (22nd Judicial District).

3. My plea is entered without any persuasion, and I have not been promised nothing for entering this plea.

June 21, 2005
 
March 1996 - Verbal Typos

(1) From Linda J. Stanley of Austin (Tomlinson & Stanley), this docket call announcement made "many moons ago" by her partner, Denise P. Tomlinson:

(case called by Judge Harley Clark)

Ms. Tomlinson: I have an agreed honor, your order.

(2) From Thomas G. Reid of Largo, Fla. (Tom is general counsel of Martin Marietta Specialty Component), this classic typo from the file department. Tom explains: One of my responsibilities includes the review of contract terms and conditions. I asked my new secretary to establish a file on T's and C's. She dutifully provided me with a file appropriately labeled "tease and seize." To this day I have no idea what she thought I ws going to put into that file.

(3) Another contribution from Harding J. Rome of Houston, this verbal typo that occurred in a deposition taken by Pamela Fulbright-Schever of his office:

Q. So you were living in Houston back then, in the 1960s?

A. No ma'am. I went back and forth. I transmuted, whatever they called it, from La Marque to Houston.

June 20, 2005
 
July 1990 - He Has the Veracity

From James M. Benson, Jr. of Houston (VP & general counsel of WNS) this excerpt from a deposition in which the witness is being questioned about "her former employer who was a plaintiff in an arbitration proceeding." Jimmy R. Sledge (of Baker, Botts) is representing WNS: A. Branton Kotch (of Crain, Caton, etc.) is representing the plaintiff; and Mr. Kotch begins:

Q. Have you had - have you had a chance over those 10 years to hear about his reputation in this community?

A. Very much so.

Q. His reputation for truth and commitment?

A. Uh-huh. Yes. Art has a reputation as being, well, a workaholic, an overachiever.

Q. Is his reputation in this community for truth and veracity good?

A. He definitely has the veracity. I've never heard a word against him far as truthfulness. I know he runs all the stores that he owns in a fair way to his employees. I would say very much so. I wouldn't go to work for anyone with less than an excellent reputation, I don't need to be in that atmosphere.

Mr. Kotch: I'll pass the witness.

Mr. Sledge: That means I get another shot at you. It won't take long.

Questions by Mr. Sledge:

Q. I don't know big words like Mr. Kotch. What does veracity mean?

A. Well, I've got my definition. You want to tell him yours?

Q. Well, I'd like to hear your definition.

A. Like go get'um, love for life and getting what he wants out of life. Is that-

Q. If that's your answer, I'm through with you. You can go home as far as I'm concerned.

A. Okay.

June 17, 2005
 
January 1998 - Classic Typos

(1) From a letter confirming the mediation date of a Dallas mediator:

The fee for a dull day of mediation is seven hundred fifty dollars ($750) per day.

(2) From objections to interrogatories in a Houston case:

Objection; Defendants objection to this interrogatory is that it is over board and seeks information irrelevant and immaterial to subject litigation and is not likely to lead to discovery of inumerable evidence.

These classic typos were contributed by (1) Scott A. Barber of Garland (Brown, Brown, etc.); (2) James A. Dunn of Houston (Bennet, Dunn, etc.)

June 16, 2005
 
April 1985 - Some Kinda Guy

From Jessica Stettler of Dallas (Office of the City Attorney), this deposition in a personal injury case, Jessica explains: "The deponent [being cross examined] is a biker who drove "Blue," his Harley Davidson, into a city curb on a Saturday night and injured himself and the girl bartender on the back of his bike. They have mostly recovered, but I believe Old Blue is still in a coma. The case is set for trial.

Q. But as far as my original question, you don't know of any medical reason or any reason why your memory got worse the longer you stayed in the hospital?

A. I don't know unless it was something the hospital was feeding me.

Q. Are you currently taking any medication?

A. Yes, I am.

Q. What are you taking?

A. I have never had nor will I ever have an epileptic attack, but part of my brain is missing so the doctor for insurance purposes gives me Dilantin because the back side of my brain is missing. Einstein only used eight percent of his brain. What do I care if a fourth of it is missing?

Q. Did you really lose a fourth of your brain?

A. Yes.

June 15, 2005
 
February 2002 - Waxing Poetically

From Phillip C. Umphres of Dallas (Phil is an Assistant U.S. Attorney), this beginning to a Motion to Dismiss that he recently filed in a criminal case:

RESPONSE OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TO DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR RELIEF UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 2255

I. Motion to Dismiss
Ricky Lacardo McGee
Just couldn’t wait to be free.
So he filed an appeal
And said, “Boy, what a deal, I’ll try and undo my bad plea.”

Not content to await fate in the Fifth
He said, “I’ll give my old lawyer the shrift,”
So he filed a petition
For sentence remission And claimed his P.D. was adrift.

But the law only gives you one chance
At a time to decide where to dance,
So we’re forced to implore
That this court do no more
Than consider his Motion askance.

June 14, 2005
 
June 1994 - Doing Pro Se

From a pro se pleading recently filed with Judge Eileen O'Neal of Houston (190th District Court), the "friendliest introduction" that she's ever received:

Now comes Plaintiff Ronald Dwayne Whitfield, and says to the honorable judge of this court, "Hello."

Judge O'Neill adds that she did not yield to the temptation to draft the following response:

Hello, Motion denied.

June 13, 2005
 
April 1993 - All In A Name

From Kevin M. Lippman of Tyler (Kevin is a law clerk for Bankruptcy Judge Houston Abel of the Eastern District of Texas), this excerpt from the very long cross-examination of an expert witness in a five-day trial before Judge Abel.

Q. Ms. Grimmer, is it Grimmer? Am I saying that right? I want to pronounce your name right.

A. Yes, sir.

The Court: And she's getting more and more so, Counsel, as time goes on. [general laughter in the courtroom].

The Court: She is not as happy as when she got up here, Counsel. Go ahead.

June 10, 2005
 
April 1995 - Well, That's Entirely Different!

From Danny L. Tran of Houston (Danny is a paralegal with Able & Monroe), this excerpt from the husband's deposition in a divorce case in San Angelo, being taken by Levert J. Able (who has been practicing since 1934):

Q. I don't want to be personal, but was your father sent to jail for allegedly pushing dope?

A. No, he sure wasn't! And I resent you implying that. My father was put into jail for money laundering. That's what it says on his record.

Q. Okay. I see. Well, I'll withdraw the statement. I didn't know that.

A. Thank you.

June 09, 2005
 
October 1997 - Sentencing: Cruel and Unusual Punishment

From Edward E. DeWees, Jr. of San Antonio (DeWees & Spence), this excerpt from the sentencing of his client in County Court at Law No. 6 - in which the judge, afer giving the defendant 15 days in jail, granted Edward's request for home confinement with electronic monitoring. But then ...

Judge: You stated that the only telephone that you had access to was at your ex-mother-in-law's house where you stay occassionally. You have to be near a telephone at all times when you're on electronic monitoring. You, therefore, have a choice of staying with your ex mother-in-law for 15 days, or to stay in jail. Which one do you want to do?

Defendant: I'd rather be in jail for 15 days than with my ex mother-in-law for 15 days.

June 08, 2005
 
April 1995 - Well, That's Entirely Different!

From Danny L. Tran of Houston (Danny is a paralegal with Able & Monroe), this excerpt from the husband's deposition in a divorce case in San Angelo, being taken by Levert J. Able (who has been practicing since 1934):

Q. Now, in addition to the money that you had with Turner, Eppler & Guerin -

A. It's Eppler, Guerin & Turner.

Q. Well, correct me every time I do that.

A. Okay.

Q. Kick me every time I do it. Well, no, don't. You'd probably kill me.

June 07, 2005
 
April 2003 - Objection Overruled!

From William G. Holloway (U.S. District Court Reporter, Brownsville Division, Southern District of Texas), this excerpt from a trial of a narcotics case before U.S. District Judge Filemon B. Vela. The excerpt is from the direct examination of the witness by an Assistant U.S. Attorney.

Q. Who was working on the dope inside the house? We talked about you helped take some of the nylon sacks out or the bags out. Who else was helping you?

A. Him and that other guy over there, all of us.

Q. When you say “him,” who are you referring to?

A. This guy and Jesse.

Q. When you say “this guy,” who are you referring to? What do you know him as, at least what somebody told you his name was?

A. Chango.

Defense Attorney: Your Honor, I am going to object. He is calling my client a monkey.

The Court: Overruled.

June 06, 2005
 
June 2002 - Did They Really Ask That?

From District Judge Bob McCoy of Fort Worth (48th District Court), this statement made by a pro se plaintiff to Judge McCoy and defense counsel in chambers:

“I am going to sue them all for alienation of infection (sic) and I am going to do it in Federal Court.”

June 03, 2005
 
October 2002 - How Far Did You Go in School?

From John E. Haught of Beaumont, this excerpt from the plaintiff's deposition.

Q. Where is your place of birth?

A. The hospital in Kountze, Texas. That's the hospital I was born in.

Q. How far did you go in school?

A. I'm not sure. Just in Silsbee. Approximately estimating about eight miles or so.

June 02, 2005
 
May 2002 - Permission to be Verbose Denied

From Brenda Jenkins of Dallas, Ga. (Brenda is a former employee of the Federal District Clerk's Office in Dallas), this pleading filed in the Northern District of Georgia, Rome Division.

Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendants Obtaining Permission to be Verbose

VERBOSITY

When others are verbose,
It makes me morose,
Deny the motion,
And curb the notion,
To write an ocean,
Of prose.

Respectfully submitted this
27th day of February, 2002

James A. Satcher

June 01, 2005
 
December 2001 - Order To Retain On Docket

On this day came on to be heard the motion of William Robinson, Plaintiff in the above-entitled and numbered cause, seeking to retain this cause on this Court’s docket. The Court is of the opinion and finds that this cause should be retained.

IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED, that the above-entitled and numbered cause is retained until mañana is today!


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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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