May 30, 2008
February 1999 - Lawyers are Next

From Amy K. Rosenberg of Fort Collins, Colo. (Liggett, Smith & Williams), this trial excerpt from a "marriage dissolution proceeding" in which Amy's colleague, Michael Liggett, "was cross-examing the soon-to-be ex-wife" regarding some of her expenditures.

Q. "Wynbriar," is that an antique store?

A. No, that's not. That's a tobacco shop.

Q. What did you buy for $831?

A. A fox.

Q. A fox?

A. Yes.

The Court: Wait a minute. I've got to know. You mean, an animal?

The Witness: No. He's - I have a dead animal farm. It's a stuffed fox.

The Court: A stuffed fox. Okay.

Q. You say you have a dead animal farm. You collect taxidermy?

A. Does that surprise you?

Q. What other animals do you have?

A. Lawyers are next.

May 29, 2008
July 1987 - Did I Really Hear That?

Q. What's his first name?

A. I can't remember.

Q. He's been your brother-in-law for 45 years and you can't remember his first name?

A. No, I tell you. I'm too excited! [Rising from the witness chair and pointing to Borofkin] Nathan, for God's sake, tell them your first name.

May 28, 2008
April 1996 - Did They Really Ask That?

From Beverly Hays of Dallas (Beverly is a paralegal with Patterson, Lamberty, etc. who "hopes this one makes the cut"), this excerpt from a personal injury deposition.

Q. Why were you in Dallas that day?

A. To see "Catherine the Great."

Q. Is she a friend of yours?

A. She's the Russian. It was the show -

Mr. McNeil: Catherine the Great.

Mr. Keith: Oh, I'm sorry

May 27, 2008
October 1989 - I'm Glad We Cleared that Up

Theodore A. Hargrove, III of San Angelo sends this story about the Very First Divorce Client of Judge Royal Hart (51st Judicial District, Tom Green County):

His client, the wife "lived on a ranch and apparently got none of the benefits of grocery shopping. When going through the list of required questions to have the divorce granted, Judge Hart realized he had never inquired of his client as to why she wished to get a divorce."

Q. Tell the Court why you want this divorce.

A. Well, I just can't eat any more deer meat.

The divorce, of course, was granted.

May 23, 2008
December 2002 - Did They Really Say That?

From John T. Flynn of Atlanta, Ga. (Smith, Currie & Hancock), this exchange between his client "and opposing counsel in a dispute where [his] client, as the developer of a series of multi-family residential units, had not responded to a letter from the defendants requesting payment for certain money they believed due."

Q. If you would look at Exhibit 12, please, for a second, did you receive this letter on or about February 21st?

A. I believe so, yes.

Q. Did you review it?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you respond to it?

A. No.

Q. Did you purposely not respond to it?

A. I did not respond to it.

Q. That was a conscious decision on your part?

A. I was conscious at the time.

Q. I don't mean whether you were awake. But did you consciously decide not to respond to it, or did you just forget?

A. No, I did not forget it.

May 22, 2008
April 2001 - Did They Really Mean That?

From Christopher L. Graff of Austin (Hutchinson & Grundy), this excerpt from the plaintiff's deposition in an automobile accident case.

Q. Are you aware of any acts or omissions that Mr. _____ did or failed to do that caused or contributed to this accident?

A. I don't know.

Q. You don't know of any acts or omissions that Mr. _____ did that caused or contributed to this accident?

A. Well, I don't - I don't know Mr. ____ or his corporation. I don't know anything unless my attorneys have told me it.

May 21, 2008
June 1999 - How Dead Was He?

From U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John C. Akard of Lubbock, this explanation he received from an attorney in San Angelo who was explaining why his client was not present for the hearing before Judge Akard:

The first time he died was in the Brownwood hospital.

May 20, 2008
April 1998 - Doing Voir Dire

From Judge Bonnie Sudderth of Fort Worth (352nd Judicial District), this excerpt from a voir dire examination in her court:

Mr. Smith: Okay, Mr. Riley?

Prospective Juror: Yes, sir.

Mr. Smith: You served on a civil jury. What were the facts?

Prospective Juror: I never got it. I've been called for jury, but I never got to a trial. The judge never showed up.

Mr. Smith: How long did they wait on the judge?

Prospective Juror: Two days.

May 19, 2008
July 1997 - What Is The Truth, Anyway?

From Melvin R. Wilcox, III of Longview (Smead, Anderson, Wilcox & Dunn), this excerpt from the deposition of a representative of the Chicago Northwestern Railroad concerning contracts filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission.

Q. Okay. You're aware that certain contracts had to be filed with the ICC?

A. Right.

Q. Were you aware that you had to tell the truth when you filed - made those filings with the ICC?

A. Could you clarify "tell the truth"?

Q. Raise your hand, like you are now.

May 16, 2008
September 1996 - Did They Really Say That?

From U.S. Magistrate Judge J.Q. Warnick of Lubbock, this excerpt from a civil rights jury trial in his court - in which the pro se plaintiff claimed he was assaulted by several corrections officers. Texas Assistant Attorney General Bruce Garcia was questioning the male plaintiff:

Q. Did you receive any injury as a result of this alleged assault?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. What was the injury?

A. I suffered a broken uterus.

May 15, 2008
October 1995 - Do The Preliminary Stuff First

Q. Mrs. Jones, is your appearance this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?

A. No. This is how I dress when I go to work.

May 14, 2008
April 2003 - Doing Voir Dire

From Paul Mewis of Houston, this excerpt from a voir dire record in a criminal case.

The Court: What kind of work do you do?

Prospective Juror: I'm a financial analyst.

The Court: How long have you been doing that?

Prospective Juror: 610 years.

The Court: Do you like it?

Prospective Juror: Yes.

May 13, 2008
May 1985 - Were You in the Military Service

Q. Were you in the Army?

A. No sir, I didn't go.

Q. Why?

A. Well, when I was ready to leave they said, 'Well, everything is over,' and I say, 'Okay,' So I didn't go.

May 12, 2008
February 2002 - Classic Typo's

From Trish Nasworthy of Grand Prairie (Trish is an Assistant City Attorney), this mistake she spotted in an ad in the Dallas Morning News.

LITITAGATION ATTORNEY needed immediately. Large plaintiff's personal injury firm seeks associate. Duties include depositions, medication, and trials ...

May 09, 2008
February 2002 - Those Jurors

From Dan Lewis Carabin of San Antonio, this incident which his secretary Mary Lou Oravits, recently observed during voir dire in a criminal trial pending in the 144th District Court of Bexar County (the Honorable Robert Barton, Senior Judge presiding).Assistant District Attorney to a prospective female juror:

“Could you return a verdict of guilty on the testimony of only one eye witness?”

Prospective Juror (with all seriousness): “No, I could not give a guilty verdict, the witness would have to have two eyes.”

May 08, 2008
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 07, 2008
July 1999 - Classic Typos

From Lillie Knight of Houston (Lillie is an assistant city attorney), this typo in a letter she received from a property tax consultant:

Dear Ms. Knight:

... Thank you for your business, and please send your fiends our way. Please return before May 31st.

May 06, 2008
January 2001 - Classic Typos

From Sue F. Reid of Dallas, this marvelous typo in "an order appointing special commissions ... in an eminent domain proceeding for the appointment of three free-holders (disinterested parties) ... for the county court at law to hear testimony and assess damages ... to the property owner." Instead, the order provided:

... for the appointment of three disinterested freeloaders ...

May 05, 2008
May 1995 - The Thinker

From Martha Hardwick of Dallas (Bauer, Rentzel, Millard & Hardwick), this deposition excerpt - with Martha's admission that she was "the obviously surprised questioner":

Q. What made you decide to do that?

A. I am thinking.

Q. That's all right.

A. That's a good question.

Q. I never had anybody stop to think in a deposition before.

May 02, 2008
April 1998 - How Far Did You Go In School?

From Rob Ramsey of San Antonio (Soules & Wallace), this trial excerpt:

A. I known him [Mr. Barrera] since we started school. We went to school together and part of college.

Q. Did you go to the same high school together?

A. Went to the same elementary, same high school. We're Ben Bolt graduates.

Q. Ben Bolt? Were you in the same class?

A. Graduated top 10, both of us.

Q. You both graduated in the top 10?

A. Yes. There was 10 of us.

May 01, 2008
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?"

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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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