July 31, 2008
 
December 2001 - Did They Really Say That?

From Judge Ralph H. Walton, Jr., of Granbury, 355th Judicial District), this excerpt “from the direct examination by the prosecutor in a recent driving-while-intoxicated case in [his] court in which the elderly, hard-of-hearing ‘Uncle Billy’ was called to testify.”

Q. Do you know Mr. Rinard?

A. Rinard?

Q. Rinard. He’s your neighbor.

A. Oh, yes.

Q. You might know him as Elias.

A. No, sir, he seems like a real respectable man.

Q. Not a liar, but Elias. Do you know his first name?

A. No, I don’t.

Q. You just know him as Mr. Rinard?

A. Actually, I know him as Mr. Bradshaw’s brother-in-law.

Q. Fair enough.

July 30, 2008
 
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!

July 29, 2008
 
July 1997 - Making Buck Myer'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 reporter?

Mr. Lapidus: Good question.

Mr. Klitsas: That just made Buck Myer's column.

July 28, 2008
 
September 1993 - Did I Really Hear That?

From Donald K. Buckman of Fort Worth (Cantey & Hanger), this excerpt from his deposition of the plaintiff in an age discrimination suit:

Q. Was it permissable for you and your employees to use the 1065 photocopier if the others were busy?

A. We were told to use it as little as possible and only onesies and twosies when it was necessary. That's what I was told.

Q. Somebody told you to use the 1065 only on Monday and Tuesday?

A. No, no, no. I was told to use the machine for onesies and twosies. That's the way it was put to me, onesies and twosies.

Q. I misunderstood what you said.

A. I've got to have a drink.

Q. Let's take a break.

July 25, 2008
 
February 1995 - Did They Really Ask That?

From Doug Gwyther of Corpus Christi (Doug is a legal assistant with Perry & Haas), these "unartful questions" asked by one of the "young and extremely talented partners" at Perry & Haas.

Q. Do y'all have any corners that you can't see around?

A. Yes.

And, following this preliminary question, the attorney tries to explain to "a rather unsophisticated" witness just how "pictures can often be produced in such a way that they tell only part of the visual story the picture-taker chooses to tell."

Q. Would you agree that with a camera, you can select the photograph that you want, by choosing which way you choose to focus it towards?

A. I'd agree with that.

July 24, 2008
 
September 1993 - Did I Really Hear That?

From Donald K. Buckman of Fort Worth (Cantey & Hanger), this excerpt from his deposition of the plaintiff in an age discrimination suit:

Q. Was it permissable for you and your employees to use the 1065 photocopier if the others were busy?

A. We were told to use it as little as possible and only onesies and twosies when it was necessary. That's what I was told.

Q. Somebody told you to use the 1065 only on Monday and Tuesday?

A. No, no, no. I was told to use the machine for onesies and twosies. That's the way it was put to me, onesies and twosies.

Q. I misunderstood what you said.

A. I've got to have a drink.

Q. Let's take a break.

July 23, 2008
 
July 1997 - Making Buck Myer'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 reporter?

Mr. Lapidus: Good question.

Mr. Klitsas: That just made Buck Myer's column.

July 18, 2008
 
February 1993 - Oh, Shucks! Oh, Lord!

From Cheryl D. Olesen of Beaumont (Wells, Peyton, etc.), this excerpt from the deposition of the owner of a construction company — with the explanation that "the questioning attorney was apparently attempting to establish that part of the delay [in completion of the job] was occasioned by company employees performing side jobs for adjoining landowners."

Q. All right. One quick last line of questions. During 1986 when you were working on Highland Avenue ... was there ever any time that people would come out and hire you or Earl to do small little construction projects for them along the way? ... I'm talking about moving driveways or installing culverts or anything to that nature?

A. No, Clint. Never happened.

Q. Have you talked to Earl about that to see if that happened?

A. Well, they would have said something to me, you know. I mean, they would not have done that. I'd kill them. Q. Is that common in the industry, though?

Ms. Stanley: What, to kill employees?

A. Oh, shucks.

Mr. Cooper: That was on the record.

A. Oh, lord!(2)


2. Cheryl Olesen footnotes: "The last I heard, the death rate among employees of the construction company did not exceed the norm.

July 17, 2008
 
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.

July 16, 2008
 
July 1989 - Did He Really Ask That?

Q. Did your father have any other children?

A. I didn't know about them. I weren't born yet.

Q. If you don't know, just say, "I don't know." Now, Mr. J., you don't know much about your family, do you?

A. I don't know.

July 15, 2008
 
May 1985 - What About Your Job?

Q. What do you do for a living?

A. I help my brother.

Q. What does your brother do?

A. Nothing.


***

Q. You said you went to Galveston in 1920, yet the first job you told me about was in 1946. What did you do between 1920 and 1946?

A. Well, I didn't go to work as soon as I got there.

July 14, 2008
 
December 1987 - Did They Really Say That?

Judge Buddie J. Hahn of Orange (260th District Court) sends this excerpt from "a murder trial that recently took place in my court."

During Voir Dire:
D.A.: Has anyone served on a criminal jury before?

(One juror raised his hand)

D.A.: Without telling me whether you found the person guilty or innocent, what was your verdict.

July 11, 2008
 
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.

July 10, 2008
 
Sept 1987 - Do You Mean Literally, Or What?

John Wright of Grand Prairie (Wright & Associates) submitted the standard "identify everybody and everything" interrogatories in a case in which is client had been sued in JP Court. Fortunately for all of us, these were the handwritten answers to questions 3 and 11 by the plaintiff, Tammy Sue Porter.

Interrogatory No. 3: Please identify all persons whom you intend to call as witnesses in a trial of this cause of action.

Teresa dark hair
Jesus dark
Susan light complexion
Cristine light
Caroline dark

Interrogatory No. 11: List, identify and describe all documents reviewed or relied upon by you in preparation of these answers.

White black ink as is
Yellow black ink receipt
Blue black ink ?

July 09, 2008
 
December 2002 - Did They Really Say That?

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."

Dear Mary:

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.

July 08, 2008
 
January 1989 - What Was That Again?

From Judge David G. Lewis of Dumas (Moore County Court of Law), this excerpt from a recent divorce custody trial in Moore County.

Q. And what did you do that night?

A. We made and sent out some fliers. [Being the West Texas pronunciation of "flowers"]

Q. What kind of flowers?

A. No flowers. Fliers!

Q. Well then, what were they made of?

A. Paper.

Q. So you made some paper flowers and sent them out?

A. No. Not flowers! Fliers! Paper fliers!

Judge Moore adds that the legal assistant elbowed her confused boss in the ribs and said just loud enough for the jury to hear. "You know, dummy, pamphlets!"

July 07, 2008
 
October 1993 - Be Careful With Experts

From Judge Frank Andrews of Dallas (116th District Court), this excerpt from the testimony of the obstetrician/gynecologist in a malpractice-death case.

Q. All right. Let's go back to 4:15 [on the patient's chart]. It says "Dr. Prince" here. Right?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Then 4:25, "Back to procedure due to bleeding and passing of clots." Did I read that right?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. 4:30, Dr. Prince began resurrection procedure.

A. No, sir.

Q. Resuction procedure.

A. I'm not that good. I can't resurrect anybody.

July 03, 2008
 
April 2004 - Defining the Specialties

This excerpt from the recent deposition of a doctor comes from Richard E. Hanson of Wichita Falls (Oldham & Hanson).

Q. But when it comes to a surgeon, you’re kind of separate and distinct from all the other medical specialties; that is, you actually go in and perform surgical procedures on the human body; is that correct?

A. Well, it brings to my mind an old aphorism. Internists, which is kind of what, in part, you know, gastroenterology is, they know everything but they don’t do anything. Now, surgeons aren’t supposed to know anything, but they do it all. Now, pathologists know everything and do everything, but it’s all too late.

July 02, 2008
 
February 2003 - Don't Leave Me Out

From Donald J. Drago of Austin, upon the review of a document shown as an exception on a commitment for title insurance covering a tract of land in Harrison County, this "restrictive covenant" found in a Warranty Deed from the Smiths (the sellers) to an investment entity:

Item No. 11 — Buyers must invite the Smiths over for BBQ or party at least twice yearly. Smiths will bring beer.

July 01, 2008
 
March 2005 - Did He Really Say That?

From Michael R. Ross of Houston (Tribble & Sanders), who represents the“not-so-innocent defendant (incarcerated in the state penitentiary) in an automobile collision case.”

The plaintiff was represented by C. Michael Davis of Friendswood, who filed special exceptions to the defendant’s original answer, where State Farm pleaded “the complications and/or injuries suffered by Plaintiff and giving rise to this suit were proximately caused by pathophysiological factors over which this Defendant possessed no control.” The plaintiff specially excepted, stating: In other lawsuits answered by this defense counsel, the term “pathophysiological factors” has been used, but has yet to be defined.

Counsel for Plaintiff has asked the assistance of defense counsel in pointing where in Webster’s dictionary, Black’s law dictionary, or a medical dictionary the term “pathophysiological” is defined.

Accordingly, Plaintiff must specially except to an allegation using this term because counsel for Plaintiff is honest enough to admit he has no idea what defense counsel is alleging.


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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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