September 1992 - Did He Really Mean That?Mark Giles
sent me a paragraph from a temporary order in a divorce case - in which "the parties took strong positions as to their parrot, Herme
" - with the note that the order (drafted by the opposing counsel, of course) "uses words that could have a double meaning," explaining "some of her client's disgust at the parrot arrangement."
Temporary Custodial Orders for Pet
IT IS ORDERED AND DECREED that as to the parrot, HERME, each party shall have the exclusive possession of HERME for alternating two-week periods, with Respondent having the first two-week period ... Respondent is ordered to deliver the parrot at the end of such period to Petitioner...Petitioner is ordered to deliver the bird
to Respondent at her residence by 6 p.m. at the end of his two-week period.
December 1990 - Did I Really Hear That?
From Parker C. Folst, III
of Houston (Susman Godfrey), this excerpt from a deposition in a RICO case taken by his partner, Ken Marks
; the witness was "the chairman of a New York-based investment banking company"- who was not too "bashful about volunteering his opinions concerning a former employee."
Q. Are you aware that in 1986 Jones & Company entered into an engagement with an outfit called Three Initials Corporation?
A. I've heard about it since, but I did not know about it at the time, and I would have been madder than hell if I had ... Because that outfit is headed by a guy that I don't like.
Q. Is that Mr. Smith?
A. That's Mr. Smith.
Q. Do you know where Mr. Smith is today?
A. I hope he's in hell, but I don't know.
I can't confirm it.
October 1985 - Are You Ready?
Q. Am I talking loud enough to where you can hear all of my questions distinctly and clearly?
A. Yes, sir. I don't know how good I can talk, I left my teeth at home, in a glass of water.
Q. Well, gum it out good and loud.
June 1987 - Did I Really Ask That?
Court Jesters records this question asked by a Vancouver lawyer: "what colour were the blue jeans?" As well as the Canadian lawyer who single-handedly (or mouthily) asked these immortal questions:
Q. How long have you known your brother?
Q. Were you alone or by yourself?
Q. How long have you been a French Canadian?
December 2002 - Inmate Mail
From R. Neel McDonald
of Wortham, Texas, this letter he received from an inmate, “Rev. Luther B. Sneed, Jr.” of Tennessee Colony — which Neel found “perfectly charming.”
Pay anyone $100,000 to find me a wife, will pay $200,000 if she is 6’4” or taller, and will have 25 children by me.
Neel adds: “Haven’t found ‘just the right gal’ yet, but the offer is so good, I’m keeping my eye out.”
March 2005 - Did He Really Say That?
From Kristy Crawford
of Tyler (court reporter for Judge Carole Clark, 321st District Court), this excerpt from a recent proceeding in court:
Mr. Sinclair: Judge, I agree with most of what Mr. Hogan said, but not everything.
The Court: Okay.
Mr. Sinclair: You did order it just the way it reads on the docket sheet, Judge. … The issue here is why did you order that? First of all, you ordered —
The Court: I can’t tell you why.
Mr. Sinclair: I’m going to, hopefully, refresh your memory.
The Court: No. But, I mean, you can’t inquire into the judicial process of the brain.
Mr. Hogan: Of “the” brain?
The Court: Of the judge’s brain — if she has one.
January 2007 - The Last Time I Looked
This contribution is from Judge Russell H. Roden
of Dallas (County Court at Law No. 1), who writes that he was one of the many Republican sitting judges who lost in their bids for re-election. Less than 12 hours after the votes were in, Judge Roden was back on the bench “hearing his usual 8:30 motion docket” and:
THE COURT: Okay. Let the record reflect that notice of today’s hearing on the motion to withdraw by defendant’s attorney was provided and that no one has filed any written opposition, nor has anyone appeared in person voicing an opposition; so the court is granting the motion.
MS. THIBAULT: Congratulations on your win.
THE COURT: Nope, I lost.
MS. THIBAULT: Oh, I’m sorry
THE COURT: No problem. Keep that on the record.
MS. THIBAULT: The last time I —
THE COURT: I’m going to send that one to Buchmeyer. Okay.
MS. THIBAULT: The last time I looked, you were ahead.
THE COURT: Yeah, well.
MS. THIBAULT: Oh, I’m sorry.
THE COURT: Okay. Well, have a good day.
June 1989 - Did I Really Say That?
From a telephone hearing conducted by one of the bankruptcy judges in Dallas: the judge has been advised that 12 attorneys are ready for him on the conference call.
The Court: Okay. Thank you. I'm going to give the decision on the motion. I'm going to go through it all and make findings and conclusions of law and give an opinion ... if any of you can't hear me, let me know.
February 1989 - Did I Really Hear That?
From Mary Strand
, a staff attorney for the Tyler Court of Appeals, this testimony from a hearing on temporary child conservatorship - by witness who had "obviously not been testifying as expected":
Q. Let me ask you this: Have you been frank
in your answers?
A. No, I've been telling the truth.
January 2004 - That's Good Advice!
This contribution, from Carl Pipoly and Melissa Brantner of San Antonio, is from a personal injury trial where the defense counsel violated a motion in limine by injecting the workers' compensation case into the trial. The subrogation attorney then asked the court for advice on how to handle future violations.
Mr. McLin: Your Honor, for future reference, this is going to be an issue that will be brought up again. How would you like me to handle objections?
The Court: Just ask me to put her in jail.
Mr. McLin: Okay. Thank you, Your Honor.
January 2002 - Did They Really Say That?
From Al Ellis
of Dallas (Al is of counsel with Howie & Sweeney), this excerpt from “a routine personal injury deposition” in which he received “the final answer as to why the divorce occurred.”
Q. What was the reason for your mom’s first divorce, if you know?
A. My dad
April 1999 - Let The Record Reflect
From Judge Juan R. Partida
of Edinburg (275th District Court, Hidalgo County), this marvelous excerpt from testimony in an aggravated robbery case tried before Judge Partida.
By Mr. McPherson:
Q. So you had him picked up for failure to identify?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Would you point him out?
A. Be the defendant right there (indicating).
Q. If I'm number one, he's number two, she's number three, he's number four, which one would he be?
A. Be number one.
Mrs. Miller: Judge, let the record reflect he's identified the prosecutor
The Witness: My mistake
May 1998 - Doing Voir Dire
From Judge Milton Gunn Shuffield
of Beaumont (136th District Court), this excerpt from voir dire in an automobile accident case - where the plaintiff's attorney is asking the panel members about any accidents they may have had.
Q. Yes, Juror 25.
A. I run over a camel in Saudi Arabia.
Q. A camel? Was it a bad accident?
A. Camel thought so. It killed him.
From Connie Crawford
of El Paso (Connie is an assistant county attorney), these answers in a Juror Questionnaire in one of her recent trials.
Length of residence in El Paso: 37 years
From Charles M. Allen, II
of Richardson (Charles is in the legal office of the Richardson Police Department), this excerpt from voir dire
in a criminal trial in Mobile County, Ala.
Q. I would like to ask the venire if any of the members of the jury venire have recently been the victim of a homicide
Judge: Any members of the venire - did I get an answer there?
July 1997 - What Is The Truth, Anyway?
From James Cooper-Hill
of Houston, this excerpt from a post-judgment deposition he took in an attempt to uncover assets to satisfy a judgment against the witness's employer.
Q. And what was your job?
Q. How were you paid?
May 1996 - The All-Purpose "Brief in Opposition"
From John E. Farrow
of Albuquerque, N.M. (Fairfield, Farrow, etc.) this marvelous brief filed in opposition to the plaintiffs' motion to reinstate a "truly frivolous wrongful termination suit" that the defendant had won in a jury trial. In a one-sentence order, U.S. District Judge Barbara K. Hackett (Eastern District of Michigan) denied the motion for reinstatement "for the reasons best stated in defendant's brief in opposition to the motion," which read in full
Brief in Opposition to Plaintiff's
Motion for ReinstatementPlaintiff has got to be kidding
Simpson & Moran
By Donald A. Van Sullehem
Attorneys for Defendant
March 1995 - Verbal Typos
From David E. Herrman
of Dallas (Herrman, Henley & Herrman), this response by his client to David's directions to the Dallas Courthouse: "I know where it is because I've been to the Texas School Book Suppository
From Jim Branton
at the last State Bar board of directors meeting: "In the Florida State Bar's lawyer advertising case, we have filed a curious amigo
September 1994 - Did He Really Ask That?
From Jim Loveless
of Fort Worth, this excerpt from the deposition of his expert in a divorce case; Jerry Loftin is the deposing attorney.
A. The guy I know is Rossi. He's an Italian. He's lived his whole life in Lancaster, PA. Worked for me at the printing plant.
Q. Do you know a gentleman named Jack Miller
A. That's me
Q. I'm sorry. That's a good thing. I'm wide awake, today. Boy. My mind is really - let me turn my ears back on, click. I'm sorry.
June 1992 - The Musechenheim Trilogy
From Jon Musechenheim
of Corpus Christi (Law Offices of Douglas Tinker), this excerpt from a Hidalgo County Murder case tried before Judge Juan R. Partida
(275th District Court). The defendant is being examined by his attorney:
Q. Now, when is your birthday, Mike?
A. My birthday? July 13th.
Q. Of what year?
A. Every year.___
Also from Jon Musechenheim, these excerpts from a felony guilty plea for possession of methamphetamines, before Judge Manuel Banales
(105th District Court):
Judge Banales: (establishing the factual basis for the plea) Did you take those pills?
Defendant: Yes, Judge, all of us girls take diet pills because it helps us work faster and we do piece work and are paid by the piece
(Later in the same plea)
Judge Banales: How quickly can you pay the fine? Let's see, the pre-sentence report says you make $1,400 a month ...
Defendant: Oh, you can't go by that, Judge. I won't be getting as many pieces out now that I can't take those diet pills.