October 30, 2003
January 1989 - Did I Really Hear That?
From Judge Jerome Jones, probate judge in Galveston, this marvelous exchange - which took place in a will contest trial when the attorney was examining "a woman friend" of the deceased.

Q. And so you had a conversation with the deceased prior to his death.

A. Yes, I did.

Q. When was this?

A. About three months after his wife's death.

Q. What did he say?

A. Well, he asked me to marry him.

Q. And what did you say?

A. I said, "Isn't that a little bit soon?"

Q. And what did he say?

A. He said, "Well, she's as dead as she's ever gonna be."

October 29, 2003
May 1990
This contribution from Cindy Singleton of the City Attorney's Office in Dallas.

Defense Counsel: Do you have an a.k.a?

Defendant: Hell Lady, I don't even have a car!

October 28, 2003
July 1988- I Can Tell by Reading It
Andrew Morris contributes "this excerpt from depositions taken by Steve McIntyre of our office."

Q. You don't remember 1981 or 1980, is that correct?

A. I remember 1981. I graduated.

Q. Okay. Did you have a cotton farm then?

A. Not to my name.

Q. Did you have one in 1982?

A. Not to my name, I remember -

Q. Did you hoe cotton?

A. No.

Q. You didn't hoe any cotton in '82?

A. I don't remember.

Q. You don't remember? You are under oath and your memory is totally wiped out, is that correct?

A. That's what Reagan says.

Q. Well, if Mr. Rodriguez provides us checks saying that he worked out there [on your cotton farm] and that you all had a working relationship and he provided you hoe hands in 1983, that might refresh your memory?

A. No, sir.

October 27, 2003
December 1987 - Did I Really Hear That?
The defense attorney became frustrated in cross-examinating a witness because, after each question, the witness answered with the time-honored "I don't remember." So, the attorney asked his final question:

Q. Well, what don't you remember?

A. I don't know.

October 24, 2003
September 2003 - Bushwhacked!
From Rebecca E. Hamilton of Dallas (Sumner, Schick & Hamilton), this excerpt from a deposition in a car accident case.

Q. Do you agree that - He also testified that in his opinion both you and Melinda were bushwhacked; do you agree with that opinion?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you know what bushwhack means?

A. No.

October 23, 2003
September 1988 - Not That I Recall
From Marc Garber, one of my former law clerks who is now with Gibson, Dunn in Dallas. Marc explains that "the witness was asked the background events to the execution of a particular loan agreement" - resulting in this exchange.

Q. Do you recognize the document given to you by the court reporter marked defendant's exhibit 328?

A. Yes, I do. It's the 1984 agreement.

Q. Do you remember the circumstances surrounding its execution?

A. Yes, and it would be a pure recollection on my part.

Q. And, what is that recollection?

A. Uh, I do not recall.

July 1987 - Do You Swear To Tell...
Earnest Langley of Hereford (Witherspoon, Alkin & Langley) wrote to tell me one of his favorite stories about "the nature of an oath."

Judge: (To young witness) Do you know what would happen to you if you tell a lie?

Witness: Yes, I would go to hell.

Judge: Is that all?

Witness: Isn't that enough?

October 21, 2003
April 2000 - Did They Really Say That?
From John D. Penn of Fort Worth (Haynes and Boone), this excerpt from a bankruptcy hearing before Judge Massie Tillman.

Q. (by Mr. Prostok) If we could just briefly in this letter go through what you did with respect to what the letter represents you would do.

The Court: This is probably a good place to stop. We will recess now for lunch. We will return at 1:30.

(a recess was taken)

The Court: Thank you, be seated.

Mr. Prostok: May I proceed, Your Honor?

The Court: You may.

Mr. Prostok: Thank you. Your Honor, I will pass the witness.

The Court: All right. Did you memorize that speech over the lunch hour, Mr. Prostok?

Mr. Prostok: Yes. It took a lot of practice.

October 20, 2003
July 1987 - Did I Really Ask That?
William S. Hommel, Jr. of Tyler (Ramey, Flock) has the good grace - and sense of humor - to confess that he asked these questions in "the very first deposition I took as a newly licensed lawyer":

Q. Lara, I don't recall if you were asked this question. Were you alone in your vehicle?

A. Yes.

Q. Okay. And you were driving?

A. Yes.

(And, demonstrating the dangers of modern technoloy, William even concedes that this was captured in a videotape deposition).

October 17, 2003
May 2003 - Classic Typos
From Arturo H. Saenz of Harlington, this Notice of Arraignment for Driving While License Suspended.

OFFENSE: Driving while lice suspended!

October 16, 2003
July 1987 - Did I Really Hear That?
John R. Halliburton, an assistant U.S. attorney in the Western District of Louisiana, shares this testimony from the examination of a doctor:

Q. All right. Have you ever treated or done an autopsy on a patient who had apparently suffered from anaphylactic shock?

A. Oh, yes.

Q. And could you tell me how many occasions that's been, if you can recall?

A. Uh, over the course of many of the years I've practiced I can't give you any specific numbers. But there are several cases here in Monroe, and when I was in the service, I did some.

Q. And were these fatal cases of -

A. Yes, ma'am. When I did an autopsy, they were fatal.

October 15, 2003
January 1992 - State Your Name
Q. What is your name?

A. Sam Kotun

Q. How do you spell your name?

A. Kotun...(spelling)...K-O-T-U-N.

Q. And how do you pronounce that?

A. Kotun...like "Coat on vest."

October 14, 2003
May 1987 - Did I Really Hear That?
In an armed robbery trial, the arresting officer testified:

"I advised the suspect of his Miranda rights, told him I wished to ask him some questions concerning the armed robbery, and he stated he would rather have an attorney present before he incriminated himself."

October 13, 2003
July 1987 - Did I Really Hear That?
John R. Halliburton, an assistant U.S. attorney in the Western District of Louisiana, shares this testimony from the examination of a doctor:

Q. You say you were in the cab of the tractor-trailer involved in the accident? I suggest, sir, that at the time of the accident you were in the sleeper.

A. No, sir, I was in the cab.

Q. I suggest that you were in the sleeper and that, further, you were in the arms of Morpheus.

A. I don't even know him. Does he live in Cleveland?

October 10, 2003
May 1990 - Coming Clean
From Barrett W. Stetson of Dallas, this excerpt from a deposition in an age discrimination suit:

Q. Mr. Brooks, I represent Paul Rifkin. Do you understand that he has brought a lawsuit claiming he's been discriminated against on the basis of his age?

A. Yes, sir, I do.

Q. Have you had an opportunity to prepare for the deposition?

A. Say again?

Q. Have you had the opportunity to prepare for the deposition today?

A. I took a shower and cleaned up.

October 09, 2003
April 1990 - Did I Really Hear That?
Judge John O'Keefe Barry of McKinney (County Court at Law Number Three) sends this excerpt "from the state's closing argument in a DWI jury trial in my court."

Prosecutor: I believe that the law is commonsensical and I believe this case can be based on common sense.

Def. Counsel: Your Honor, I'm going to object to that; I believe the court will instruct the jury what the law is and common sense is nowhere in the law.

The Court: Objection sustained.

October 08, 2003
June 2002 - Tell Us What You Really Think
From J. Robert Arnett II of Dallas (Sopuch, Nouhan, et. al.), this deposition testimony "taken in a trespass/nuisance by dumping case between neighboring landowners" in a case that recently settled.

Q. Do you have any idea where _____ is now?

A. I hope he's dead. I have no idea other than I hope he's dead.

Q. How about _____?

A. I hope he's on top of him dead. But that's all I know.

October 07, 2003
March 2000 - Did They Really Say That?
From Joseph V. Crawford of Austin, (Wright & Greenhill), this excerpt from a deposition he was taking in "a case of alleged whiplash where both cars drove home from the accident scene."

Q. All right. Tell me about other life activities that have been curtailed or taken away from you that you blame on the accident of September of '94.

A. I haven't had a pain-free day since I got married.

October 06, 2003
June 1987 - Did I Really Hear That?
In response to a question by the judge, the defendant admitted that he had driven over the complaining witness with a loaded truck.

JUDGE: What have you got to say in your own defense?

DEFENDANT: I didn't know it was loaded.

October 03, 2003
April 1990 - Recalling & Recollecting
This excerpt comes from Judge Frank Andrews of Dallas (116th District Court) and from a trial in his court:

Q. (By Mr. Flint) Mr. Tipton, is there any disagreement to your knowledge between the parties as to what portion of Mrs. Williams' body or what part of her body or cell structure or whatever is injured?

A. I don't recall.

Q. Would that be helpful to your recollection if you did recall?

Mr. Kizzia: Excuse me, I object to the question as ambiguous. It doesn't make sense. It's unintelligible, really.

The Court: (wisley) Sustained

October 02, 2003
April 1987 - Domestic (and other) Relations
Q. Mrs. Smith, you have already admitted in your evidence that you had sex with the co-respondent in London and on at least two occasions in Ottawa. Did you have any relations in Toronto?

A. No, but I have a brother and sister living in Sarnia.

October 01, 2003
October 2003 - Did They Really Say That?
From Jennifer P. Henry of Fort Worth (Thompson & Knight, L.L.P.), this excerpt from the transcript in a criminal case.

Direct Examination by Mr. Granger:

Q. Ma'am, I know the jury already knows who you are, but please state your name once again.

A. Rita L. Jones

Q. You testified here yesterday, correct?

A. Yes.

Q. You look a little different today. What did you do to your hair?

A. I washed it.

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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


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