July 31, 2006
 
February 1994 - The Payment Plan

From Thomas G. Sharpe, Jr. of San Antonio (Whetley & Sharpe), this excerpt from his deposition of a defendant regarding the collection of a judgment for Tom's client:

Q. First of all, what I'm asking, sir, is what are you going to do to pay this judgment?

A. Well, you said you had a payment plan and I said I would pay you half when I die and the other half when I come back or, if you have another plan - do you have a plan where I can pay nothing down or nothing a month?

Q. Neither one of those would be satisfactory to settle the judgment.

July 28, 2006
 
January 1994 - et cetera Happens

From Paul H. Williamson of Amarillo (Burdett, Morgan & Thomas), this is an excerpt "from the deposition of an elderly non-party witness;" David Lobingier of Fort Worth was the opposing attorney.

Q. (By Mr. Williamson) Mrs. Bradshaw, I want to impress upon you the formal and legal significance of what you are about today. You have just been placed under oath and the testimony you give today is just as binding as if you are sitting in the courtroom, in the witness stand, and testifying in front of the judge and the jury. Do you understand that?

A. Yes, I have watched Perry Mason all of my life.

(Later)

Q. Is [this] the subpoena and notice of deposition which you received requesting your appearance here today?

A. Yes, uh-huh.

Q. Are you a plaintiff or a defendant in this lawsuit, so far as you know?

A. A plaintiff I guess. What am I?

Q. Are you a party to this lawsuit?

A. No. I am not. I am not a party to the lawsuit.

Q. You are simply a witness?

A. A witness or something.

(Later)

Q. And also, will you speak up loudly enough so that the court reporter can hear what you are saying?

A. Okay.

The Witness: Am I speaking loud enough?

Court Reporter: You're fine.

Q. (By Mr. Williamson) You're doing very well.

Mr. Lobingier: you're doing so well, I think that part of this ought to be submitted to Judge Buchmeyer in Dallas for inclusion in the Bar Journal!

July 27, 2006
 
July 1993 - Did She Really Say That?

From Thomas S. Terrell of Kerrville, this excerpt from the deposition of the wife in a custody case:

Q. Your husband says you smoke marijuana. Is that true?

A. I quit.

Q. Why did you quit?

A. My attorney told me I would have to, if I wanted to get custody.

July 26, 2006
 
April 1993 - Did He Really Say That?

From Dan Rutherford of San Antonio, this excerpt from a personal injury case; the boy who was hit by "something protruding from a train" while he was walking alongside the railroad tracks:

Q. Mike, your lawyer's given us three photographs and you've looked at them, haven't you?

A. Yeah.

Q. Who's the person in the picture?

A. Me.

Q. These are three photographs and you're in each one of them, weren't you?

A. Yes.

Q. Were you present when these were taken? Obviously you were.

A. Yes.

Mr. Rutherford: I want that typed up separately and I'll pay for it separately.

Defense Attorney: As soon as I said it I knew that that's what you were going to do.

July 25, 2006
 
February 1993 - Child's Play

From J. Grady Randle of Houston (Ross, Banks, etc.), this excerpt from a "very tense and technical multi-day, multi-volume deposition of an oil and gas expert on cash flow reports with present values and regression analysis." Finally, the defendant's attorney asked:

Q. Now, the 16.22.10, what does that mean? Is there any kind of code or what does that refer to?

A. We're still on VOOO292. If falls after evaluated by, my initials, 6-7-91. It must be in code, and I didn't get my decoder ring. I don't know. I do not know. They're just numbers on the page for me.

July 24, 2006
 
June 2003 - How Do You Define Drunk?

From Judge Buddie J. Hahn, Texas Bar Journal, Vol. 50, No. 11 — December 1987.

Q. On the day that Twine was shot, were you intoxicated?

A. I definitely was not.

Q. Had you been drinking that day?

A. I drank a few beers.

Q. How many beers did you drink?

A. About thirty (30).

Q. And you were not drunk?

A. No.

Q. What is your definition of drunk?

A. Drunk is when you fall down and you can’t get up.

July 21, 2006
 
July 2006 - Great Law Firm Names

Alan T. McDonald, an intellectual property attorney at Shaw Industries Group, Inc. (Dalton, Ga.) adds to this new category with this contribution:

There was a now disbanded Arlington, Virginia Intellectual Property firm named: Lowe, Price, Le Blanc & Becker.

Had this firm not disbanded and instead merged with the Canadian intellectual property firm of Smart & Biggar we could have had the firm of Lowe, Price, Smart & Biggar.

July 20, 2006
 
March 1997 - We're Sending That To Et Cetera

From Judge Lee G. Alworth of Conroe (221st District Court), this "faux pas that occurred on a motion for continuance" in his court.

Mr Gano: I have a motion for continuance and for an extension of time, which we'd like to urge to the court this morning based on the proposition that the two experts Englebert and Chandler are deceased.

The Court: And they're both deceased?

Mr. Gano: Yes.

The Court: How long have you known that?

Mr Gano: Well, I've known it since about Friday - last Friday, I believe - or since last Thursday.

Mr. Christiansen: Judge, as I pointed out in my reply, I don't know why he has never communicated with them. They were designated in '91. We tried to depose them in 1994, 1995, and 1996. He's never presented them for deposition.

Mr Gano: Your Honor, as far as I know, they were not dead before, when I talked with them.

The Court: Get that down! We're going to send that to et cetera, okay? As far as he knows, they weren't dead when he talked to them?

July 19, 2006
 
May 1996 - Classic Typos

From Bryce J. Denny of Shreveport (Cook, Yancey, King & Galloway), this "creative writing sample" from a demand letter he received from a Kansas attorney:

[My client] has never misled any of the people whom he contacted. ... To the contrary, [he] will not be intimated by inaccuracies contained with your letter. [He] does not agree to execute the letter forwarded to him as same is not necessary, inaccurate as to contents and a blatant effort to intimate him. ...

July 18, 2006
 
May 1996 - Classic Typos

From Jay V. Stribling of Dallas, this excerpt from the end of a mortgage on file in Collin County:

This written loan agreement represents the final agreement between the parties and may not be contradicted by evidence of prior, contemporaneous or subsequent or oral agreements of the parties.

There are no unwritten oral agreements between the parties.

July 17, 2006
 
May 1996 - Classic Typos

From Shellie Wakefield of Austin (Shellie is a law clerk to Magistrate Judge Stephen Capelle), this advertisement for an assistant general counsel of the University of Houston:

QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS:

*J.D. or L.L.B. from an accredited law school;

*Minimum two tears experience as a practicing attorney ...

July 14, 2006
 
May 1996 - Of Poetry & Perjury

From P. Michael Jung of Dallas (Strasburger & Price), this excerpt from the examination of the opposing expert by Jim Williams of Dallas (Bailey & Williams).

Q. And you understand that Dr. Thompson is an expert witness in this case for Drs. Smith and Jones?

A. Yes.

Q. And what's your opinion of Dr. Thompson as a colleague?

A. I like him as a person. We're good friends. He's fond of poetry.

Q. He's what?

A. Fond of poetry.

Q. Of perjury?

A. Poetry.

Q. Good God. I need to make a quick call. I apologize.

July 13, 2006
 
April 1996 - Did They Really Say That?

From Joe and Ann Hathaway of Midland (who proofread depositions for Patricia Reid, court reporter, CSR), this deposition excerpt:

Q. How long were you the manager of this place in Longview?

A. One week.

Q. What happened after that? Where did you go?

A. I quit my job and went nowhere and stayed there ever since.

July 12, 2006
 
March 1996 - Seeing A Chance Not To See

From Fred R. Jones of San Antonio (Goode, Casseb & Jones), this excerpt from his deposition of the plaintiff - a motorcycle policeman in Laredo - "who 'had to lay the bike down' (why do they always say that?) when another vehicle suddenly turned in front of him."

Q. You have said that Price Construction had improperly and inadequately marked the lanes of travel and failed to control traffic. How did that contribute to this accident, sir?

A. Had there been adequate-markings or perhaps a flagman, to indicate what side of the lane to use, perhaps either myself or the driver of the van wouldn't have been in the other lane.

Q. Which other lane?

A. Well, whichever one we weren't in ...

Q. What did you do after the accident?

A. The first thought that crossed [my mind] was that somebody was going to have the new green lights to travel west, who's going to recognize me and try to run over me ...

Q. Why would somebody try to run over you?

A. Motorcycles are notorious here in Laredo for issuing citations. ... They have respect for us. It's just that, I felt that one of them would see it as their chance to not see me lying on the road and take advantage of the situation.

July 11, 2006
 
December 1995 - Did They Say That?

This trial excerpt from Judge J. Manuel Banales of Corpus Christi (105th District Court):

Questions by Judge Banales:

Q. What were you doing in Austin at that time?

A. I was going to Austin Community College.

Q. And were you working at that time?

A. Yes, sir, I was.

Q. Tell me, do a lot of students at that college smoke marijuana?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. They do?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Well, now I know where not to send my kids.

July 10, 2006
 
December 1995 - Did They Really Ask That?

This deposition excerpt from James D. McCarthy of Dallas (Hughes & Luce):

Q. All right. Tell me the names of your first two wives and the years of those marriages, if you can.

A. My first wife was Vicki. She deceased in 1975.

Q. Was that the reason for the termination of that marriage?

A. Yeah.

Q. All right. That's a good reason.

Mr. McMarthy: Jerry Buchmeyer's getting another one.

July 07, 2006
 
December 1995 - Did They Really Ask That

This deposition excerpt from Michael L. Hood of Dallas (Haynes and Boone):

Q. Who did you interview with at defendant company?

A. I didn't interview.

Q. Who offered you the job?

A. Wayne _______ .

Q. Was Wayne _______ somebody you knew prior to going to work for defendant company?

A. Yes.

Q. How did you come to meet Mr. Wayne _______ ?

A. I am his daughter.

Q. So you have known him for some time?

A. Yes.

July 06, 2006
 
April 1994 - Some People Don't Think So

From Justice Ron Chapman of Dallas (Fifth District Court of Appeals), this excerpt from closing arguments in a burglary trial before Judge Larry Baraka of Dallas (Criminal Court No. 2):

Prosecutor (in closing argument): I close with this, I am reminded of that Elvis Presley song when it talks about ... Santa Claus is coming to town. ...

Def. Attorney: Objection, just stop right there. Judge, I don't know anything that would permit the injection of Elvis Presley into this trial. He is dead. Let him stay dead.

Prosecutor: Common experience, Judge, common experience. He's got no ...

Judge Baraka: I don't know what to do. I will overrule this. I want to hear this.

Def. Attorney: No, tell him to stop. He is dead. Tell him to leave Elvis alone, he is dead.

Judge Baraka (wisley): Okay.

July 05, 2006
 
July 2006 - How To Get Off The Jury

This marvelous contribution is from W.B. Etheridge of Conroe. It happened several years ago, when he was preparing to try a DWI case before a jury in a county court-at-law.

He went over the jury list with his client — who said he knew none of
them. Then, when W.B. was questioning the jury panel, he asked one prospective juror, “Do you know the judge or any of the district attorneys up here?” The juror answered “no.”

W.B. next asked, “How about the defendant, do you know him?” The juror replied, “Yeah, we go out drinking pretty often.”

An immediate motion for mistrial was granted. Then, outside the courtroom, W.B. demanded of his client, “Why didn’t you tell me that when you went over the jury list?” His client answered, “Mr. Etheridge, I never saw that man before in my life.”

A week or so later, W.B. happened to see that juror on the street, and asked him, “Why did you tell the court about drinking with my client?” His answer: “Well, I just didn’t want to get on that jury, and that got me off!”

July 03, 2006
 
April 1995 - I'm Glad We Cleared That Up!

From Rob Ramsey of San Antonio (Soules & Wallace) from a murder trial.

Defense Attorney: Doctor, isn't there a medically-recognized condition that affects people who are under sudden stress where they distort space and time? Their perception of it is distorted?

Prosecutor: Your Honor, I have to object at this time. I believe he's asking questions that are getting into the expertise area of psychology or psychiatry, and we have not qualified this doctor as an expert in this field.

Court: Sir, can you answer those questions?

Witness: Not really, Judge, because I say I only do dead bodies. Those dead bodies don't have any more perception.

Court (Wisely): Sustained.


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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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