December 29, 2006
July 2006 - Classic Typo

Jack Haney of Huntsville (Haney, Kraemer & Moorman) recently received a motion for production of documents that asked for production of:

Copies of signature card and other records concerning any account of decedent, _______, with Vanguard and Infidelity Investments.

December 28, 2006
July 2006 - Great Law Firm Names

Carey Charles Dippel of Houston (Andrews Kurth) writes that he "was once associated with Sears and Burns. The partners tongue-in-cheek sought to join ____ Hurtz and ____ Hollers so that the name of the new firm would be: "Sears, Burns, Hurtz and Hollers."

December 27, 2006
September 2006 - The Request for Another Court Date

This marvelous contribution is from Ann Jones Kazemzadeh of Minneapolis, Minn., the president of Kay's Naturals, Inc., who "in another life was an assistant city attorney for the City of Dallas."

Ann was recently cleaning up some files when she came across her "favorite court motion of all time" - which was submitted to traffic court in Dallas many years ago. As Ann says, "It speaks for itself."

Dear Judge,

I was to be in court on May 2, 1995, for two traffic tickets that I dearly paid for since 1993. Because of my stupidity in not handling these tickets, I have been to jail twice - once in Waxahachie, which cost $672, and once in Rockwall County, which cost me another $672.

If I would have known that I was to get a court date when I was released at Waxahachie, the Rockwell money would have been prevented. The sad thing is that if I would have took care of these tickets, I would have probably got the no insurance ticket dropped because I had insurance at the time but I didn't have my card with me. (Copy of policy attached). Back to the issue of why I wasn't able to make my court appearance, back in the first of April I was checking our traps that we catch wild hogs in down in Italy, Tex., when I was shot in the face accidentally, because of the wound being in the upper cheek area it left bullet fragments around the sinus area and therefore caused an infection and it caused a great deal of pain and swelling. Your Honor, I really do want to get this issue handled and I pray to the courts that I be granted another court date so I can handle this in a responsible way.

December 22, 2006
September 2006 - Law Clerk Contribution

Marc Garber, one of my former law clerks, who practices in Marietta, Ga., sent me this exchange involving one of his clients - a named plaintiff testifying during the class-certification stage of an ADEA suit against a federal agency:

Q. Do you contend the agency retaliated against you in terms of salary for complaining about the supposed discrimination?

A. No. My salary has not increased. But it has not gone up either.

Marc adds: "This is my life. Take care!"

December 21, 2006
July 2005 - Good Choices!!

Jackson Wilburn of Dallas (Kenneth D. Martin & Associates) specializes in probate and estate planning, and he has his clients "fill out an estate planning questionnaire" - which includes the question, "Names of all persons you would NOT want to serve as guardian for you."

Jackson says that, in the blanks, his client wrote, "Michael Jackson and Jack Kevorkian."

"Good choices," Jackson thought.

December 20, 2006
October 2006 - The Notice of Appeal

This marvelous contribution is from Owen M. Goudelocke of Lafayette, La., who received it from Jerry Perlman, an office chief in the litigation division of the Louisiana Department of Justice in Shreveport, La.

Notice of Appeal

I hereby am informing you that I am appealing the asshole Ronald B. Leighton's decision in this matter.

You have been hereby served notice. You're not getting away with this **** that easy.

Signed this 10th day of July, 2006.

Plaintiff, Pro Se

December 19, 2006
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.

December 18, 2006
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?

December 15, 2006
September 1993 - From The Trials of Buchmeyer

These excerpts are from criminal cases that I tried during the past six months.

Q. As an expert, what steps do you take in making an appraisal of real property?

A. Well, first you make sure you're on the right piece of property.

Q. Did you build a house for her daughter?

A. Yes, it was a marginal home.

Q. What kind?

A. Marginal. You know, it came unassembled. And I put the walls together and then the roof. You know, marginal.

Q. Do you mean "modular"?

A. Yes, that's it. I've been having a little trouble with my wife here.

Q. The motels I took over from the Savings & Loan were not in good shape. They had bug drusts almost every night.

A. You had ...

Q. Drug Busts! I mean we had drug busts.

December 14, 2006
March 1998 - It Only Hurts When I Laugh

An elderly farmer — who hadn't been to town in many years — hitched his horse to the rig, called his dog, and went to See the Sights. Of course, at the first interstate near town, a speeding car hit the rig, dolishing it and seriously injuring the farmer and his horse and his dog. At the trial of the personal injury suit brought by the farmer, a police officer testified that he arrived immediately after the accident; that he asked the plaintiff/farmer how he felt; and that the plaintiff said, "I never felt better in my life." Then, the plaintiff was re-called by his attorney:

Q. Did you really tell that police officer that, after the accident, you never felt better in your life?

A. Yep, that's what I said.

Q. I want you to explain that, please.

A. Well, you see, I was knocked unconscious in the accident, and when I came to I saw this officer examining my horse, and then he took out his gun and shot him in the head. Then he examined my dog and shot him in the head. Then he came to me and asked, "How do you feel?"

December 13, 2006
June 1985 - How Did the Accident Happen?

This excerpt from an actual deposition originally appeared in the book "I Solemnly Swear" by Houston court reporter Jerry von Sternberg (Carlton Press, 1978).

Q. What happened then?

A. The last thing I remember I see a car up in the air, and I knew I was being turned. I blacked out for a little bit.

Q. There was a collision, right?

A. That's right. I heard somebody groaning, and I knew it was me.

December 12, 2006
March 1993 - It's About Time!

To Jerry W. Kirby of Kingsland, the award for the first - and most appropriate - response to the new "et cetera" photograph:

Thank you for upgrading your photo in the Bar Journal. I have not seen you since 1956 at U.T. Law School and I was beginning to wonder if you were pulling a Dorian Gray job on us.

December 11, 2006
November 1991 - Did He Really Say That?

From Judge John McClellan Marshall of Dallas (14th District Court), this exchange from one of his recent trials:

Plaintiff's Attorney: Your Honor, at this time I would offer Plaintiff's Exhibit 17 under the Texas laws of business records.

Def. Attorney: If it's a record, it's a record of the hospital, Your Honor. It's not his record. We still object to it as hearsay, also repetitious and also cumulative.

Judge Marshall: Overruled. The exhibit is received.

Def. Attorney: Your Honor, are you the custodian of the records?

Judge Marshall: No, I'm not.

Def. Attorney: I'm sorry.

December 08, 2006
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.”

December 07, 2006
December 2006 - All The Way

Judge John Ellisor of Galveston (122nd District Court) was trying a criminal case when this exchange occurred between the defendant's attorney and the police officer on the stand:

Q. How old was Northrup at the time?

A. I believe it was 19 - I'm sorry 17.

Q. And that's - for the purpose of criminal procedure, that is being an adult?

A. Correct.

Q. How much into adulthood is that for the purpose of criminal procedure?

A. All the way.

December 06, 2006
April 1997 - A Kinder, Gentler Old Judge

U.S. Senior District Judge Lucius D. Bunton, III - who bills himself as "a Kinder Gentler Old Judge" in the newsletter he writes for the district judges of the fifth circuit - had this report in his Sept. 17, 1996 newsletter:

All of us are familiar with the Pattern Jury Charge in criminal cases that has to do with reasonable doubt. The charge itself reads in part:

If you are convinced that the accused has been proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, say so. If you are not convinced, say so.

This identical charge is given in the 11th circuit, and, sure enough, a juror in Judge Davis' court, in Miami, when this portion was read, stood up in the jury box, raised his hand and exclaimed loudly: "Guilty." Judge Davis reported that this created quite a bit of consternation, particularly at the defendant's table.

December 05, 2006
April 1996 - Can They Do That?

From John and Susan Albach of Dallas, this "Examining Trial Pre-Trial Judgment" from JP Court in Collin County:

On this the 27th day of February, 1996, the District Attorney advised No evidence would be offered.

It is therefore, ordered, adjudged and decreed by the court that there is PROBABLY CAUSE to hold the Defendant under Bond to await action of the Grand Jury.

Given under my hand this the 27th day of February, 1996.

December 04, 2006
April 1995 - The Prepared Witness

From Jane M. Corley of Dallas (Corley & Corley), this excerpt from the testimony of a nine-year-old boy in a criminal case in the 203rd District Court:

Q. Henry, do you remember what I told you about testifying today? Do you remember I talked to you about being on the witness stand?

A. Yes.

Q. What did I tell you is the most important thing to do? You remember what I said about telling the truth?

A. Yes.

Q. What did I tell you about that? What did I tell you, Henry?

A. To sit up straight.

December 01, 2006
April 1994 - Did He/She Really Say That?

From Christine H. Campbell of San Antonio (Small, Craig & Werkenthin), this "List-The-Things-You-Used-To-Do-That-You-Cannot-Do-Anymore excerpt from the plaintiff's deposition in a slip and fall case:

Q. What did you used to like to do that you can't do now?

A. Football, baseball. Running. Outdoor swimming.

Q. Anything else that you used to do that you can't do now?

A. Can't pick up my kid any more. Can't do any of that.

Q. He is 14 years old. I don't know that I -

A. Can't pick him up any more.

Q. I don't know if that is a result of this accident.

A. No.

Q. Maybe because he is getting too old. Anything else?

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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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