May 28, 2004
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 unsure to 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.”

May 27, 2004
October 1989 - I'm Glad We Cleared That Up!

From Judge Michael D. Schattman of Fort Worth (348th District Court), this exchange "between attorney Ken Kreis of Bosie, ID and a pretty hostile witness in a case I tried Feb. 15 of the year."

Q. Well, my question wasn't whether he made a lot of trips to the office. My question was, when he did bring anything over for you to sign, any of these administrative or corporate documents, was he personally present most of the times when he hand delivered these things to you?

A. Was Mr. Fugit present when he hand delivered them to me?

Q. Yes, ma'am.

A. Well, I think he would have to be.

Not able to restrain himself, Mike adds this note: "Did tempus fugit or had Fugit already fugited?"

May 26, 2004
February 1997 - How Did The Accident Happen?

From Brian C. Jobe of Dallas (Wimer & Jobe), this excerpt from the deposition of the plaintiff, whose car had been hit by another vehicle which crossed the center line in the street:

Q. Was it foggy at the time of the accident?

A. No.

Q. The accident report indicates - and I don't know what the officer meant by this - but it says four and one, which one is clear and cloudy and four is fog. So was it clear or cloudy at the time of the accident?

A. He might have been talking about his glasses. His glasses might have been fogged up.

Brian adds that with this "clarification," the case settled several weeks later.

May 25, 2004
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:

Q. Now, in addition to 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.

May 24, 2004
February 2002 - Did They Really Do That?

This contribution is from Vanessa Boyd, who is a legal secretary for the Exxon Mobil Law Department in Houston. It involves an incident which happened when Vanessa was a deputy district clerk in Walker County, Huntsville, in a felony criminal court — and involved “a female inmate brought in for an arraignment hearing.”

Judge: Do you waive your right to a jury?

Female Inmate: She turns and waves her right hand to an empty jury box.

May 21, 2004
May 1987 - Did I Really Hear That?

Richard Henderson of Fort Worth (Henderson & Snell) was court-appointed to represent the defendant in an ear biting case. His client, Grace Marie Jones, was accused "of biting off a piece of her step-mother's ear while having a fit under the influence of some type of inhalant." During the plea for probation the testimony was:

Q. You are Grace Marie Jones, the defendant in this case?

A. Uh-huh.

Q. Is that Miss Jones?

A. Uh, you can call me Grace.

May 20, 2004
January 2004 - Did She Really Ask That?

From Robert A. Bragalone of Dallas (Cooper & Scully), this excerpt from a deposition he recently attended.

Q. And where are - how are you calculating that? How old do you believe Damien was when he was born? We'll start there.

Mr. Bragalone: Object to form. That's one of those for Judge Buchmeyer.

Ms. Vaughan: Let me rephrase that.

A. From the discharge -

Q. (By Ms. Vaughan) That one would have definitely been misleading. Let me rephrase that.

May 19, 2004
October 1989 - I'm Glad We Cleared That Up

John Farrow of Albuquerque (Fairfield, Farrow) - emphasizing that these questions were not asked by an attorney in his firm - sends this excerpt from a deposition in a savings and loan association case.

Q. So the Jim Trump, Sr., we're referring to is now deceased?

A. That's correct.

Q. And he's no longer afiliated with Sandia Federal?

May 18, 2004
April 1991 - I Can Understand That

One from the Anguished English (a very funny book):

Q. As an officer of the Dodge City Police Department, did you stop an automobile bearing Kansas license plates SCR446?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Was the vehicle occupied at that time?

May 17, 2004
February 1999 - Did They Really Say That?

From Patricia Nellenbach Carter of Houston, this excerpt she discovered during her clerkship with Justice Ben Z. Grant, 6th District Court of Appeals (Texarkana):

From trial testimony of an expert:

Well, I'm trying to think because I don't want to lie to you. I mean I don't want to get caught in a lie. If I do lie to you, I don't want to get caught.

May 14, 2004
February 2004 - Bring Out The Dead

This contribution is from Kenneth Nash of Huntsville. Kenneth, who is a staff attorney with the State Counsel for Offenders, recently received this poetic motion to dismiss from the state:

The accused is dead,
Our jurisdiction he’s fled,
Our case thus amiss,
The State must dismiss.

A recent New York Times article recounted that Lenny Bruce, the “potty-mouthed” beat-generation comedian, was posthumously pardoned by New York Governor George E. Pataki — 39 years after he was convicted of obscenity for using dirty words in a Greenwich Village nightclub act. The article subtly noted:

“Being dead, Mr. Bruce is not expected to reap an immediate benefit from his pardon.”

May 13, 2004

From Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise Williams of Lubbock, these “Funnies” committed by defense attorney Randy Taylor of Dallas during a criminal trial before U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater.

Q. All right. … Now, you don’t know anything — as an old country boy would say, you don’t know pea-turkey-dog about that, do you?

A. No, sir. …

Q. All right. And then down below that somebody has written another date down below that in handwriting, human handwriting; is that correct?

A. True. …

Q. Now, can you tell me between the fall of ’92 and April of ’93, are you claiming that you had any business with Mr. Jordan or any of his compadres? That’s a Hispanic word for amigos. …

THE COURT: They’re two different issues. It might be 404(b) or not and be admissible as subject matter, but as you know it takes the 801(d)(2)(E) to get the exception to the hearsay.

MR. TAYLOR: Does that mean I win?

THE COURT: I’m going to sustain the [government’s] objection.

May 12, 2004
May 1997 - Classic Typos

From a pro se letter which was not about pastry:

One of the issues that has been important to Realtors has been torte reform.

May 11, 2004
May 1997 - Classic Typos

From a juror's request to be excused from service:

I have several medical problems - including anxiety attache when the least upset.

May 10, 2004
April 2004 - Classic Typos

From Judge Joe M. Leonard of Greenville (196th District Court), this excerpt from “a recent motion for contempt which shows an extraordinary failure of spell check.”

On the 9th day of January, 2004, the Court in the above-entitled and numbered cause duly rendered and caused to be entered an Oder Compelling Appearance requiring. …

May 07, 2004
May 1997 - Classic Typos

From a letter by the pro se plaintiff in a discrimination case:

I disagree with defendants Status Report because they are putting wards in my mouth...

May 06, 2004
February 2003 - The Exploding Toilet

From Melody Bock Womble of Maryville, Tenn., this deposition excerpt “from a Federal case involving an alleged exploding toilet at a tourist motel near the Tennessee Smoky Mountains.” Melody represented the toilet manufacturer.

(Examination by the motel owner’s attorney)

Q. And how long did you stay there on the commode doing your business?

A. Well, it didn’t take very long.

Q. Five minutes? 10 minutes?

A. No. It didn’t take that long. Everything went along pretty smooth.

Q. You used paper?

A. Yeah. We got rid of corn cobs a long time ago.

(Discussion off the record.)

Q. You had not put any toilet paper down the commode?

A. Not — no, no.

Q. Okay. Had you used any toilet paper?

A. Yeah; I used toilet paper.

Q. But you didn’t put it down in the commode?

A. No.

Q. You put it in another receptacle?

A. I guess so. A basket, we call them up home. I don’t know what you call it down here, a trash can or something.

May 05, 2004
January 2002 - Did They Really Ask That?

From Senior State District Judge A. D. Azios of Houston, this incident which took place while he was trying a felony case as a visiting judge in Montgomery County. The questions are by Assistant District Attorney Mike Seiler.

Q. Mrs. …, will you please identify yourself to the jury?

A. My name is Mrs. …; I am the complainant’s mother.

Q. Have you been her mother all her life?

May 04, 2004
May 2004 - With Help From The Lord

This contribution is from Overton Anderson of Little Rock, Ark. (Anderson, Murphy & Hopkins). He was deposing the plaintiff in a medical malpractice case — and was inquiring about “the fact that the plaintiff has continued treatment with the defendant physician for a considerable time before suing him.”

Q. Could you have gone to another doctor?

A. I probably could have.

Q. Did you have faith in Dr. Dixon?

A. Yeah, from his actions. How he — I was mad at him of what went on in the office that day but I figured that I was still alive and he had got me there to that point so far. I guess you don’t kick a working mule in the tail, do you?

Q. No.

A. Okay.

Q. Do you recognize Dr. Dixon saved your life?

A. I think he had a lot to do with it, him and the Lord.

May 03, 2004
October 1998 - Just How Dead Was He?

From Frank H. Newton of Houston (Fulbright & Jaworski), this excerpt from his deposition of the Justice of the Peace in a personal injury death case.

Q. Now, as the Justice of the Peace in 1990, you had the authority to order an autopsy. Correct?

A. I did.

Q. Okay. But you did not order [an autopsy] in this case. Correct?

A. No.

Q. Okay. And why was that?

A. Well, the person was dead, for one thing.

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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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