February 28, 2007
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.

February 27, 2007
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.

February 26, 2007
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.

February 23, 2007

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?

February 22, 2007
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.”

February 21, 2007
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.

February 20, 2007
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.

February 16, 2007
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 15, 2007
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.

February 13, 2007

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.

February 12, 2007
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.

February 09, 2007
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.

(Direct Examination)
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.

February 08, 2007
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.

Age: 36
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?

February 07, 2007
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?

A. Purchaser.

Q. How were you paid?

A. Poorly.

February 06, 2007
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 Reinstatement
Plaintiff has got to be kidding.

Respectfully submitted,
Simpson & Moran
By Donald A. Van Sullehem
Attorneys for Defendant
Birmingham, Mich.

February 05, 2007
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 before."

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 brief."

February 02, 2007
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.

February 01, 2007
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.

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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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