February 26, 2010
March 1998 - The Energizer Bunny
From Marion J. Borchers of New Braunfels, this excerpt from a pleading filed in a bankruptcy court in the Southern District of California. In the case, "the ex-husband of the debtor opposed the sale of land in Comal County, Texas and appealed an adverse ruling, lost three motions to stay, and then filed an ex parte motion for clarification" - which drew this response from Jeffrey Isaacs of San Diego, Calif. (Procupio, Cory, etc.):

Response and Opposition to Ex Parte Application for Clarification of Court's Order Regarding Sale of Texas Real Property and Request for Sanctions Under Rule 9011 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure

Like the Energizer bunny, defendants just keep going and going and going ...

February 25, 2010
January 2005 - Did They Really Say That?
From Joe. G. Roady of Houston (Hirsh & Westheimer) this contribution "in a Juror Information Form" used in Judge Robert Frost's 116th District Court in Dallas:
In the block for information concerning the 'Highest Level of Education,' one prospective juror wrote 5'6".

February 24, 2010
November 2002 - Did They Really Say That?
From District Judge Joe M. Leonard of Greenville (196th Judicial District of Texas), this entry in an Affidavit of a bonding company.

5. It is my desire to surrender the defendant/principal to the custody of the Sheriff of Hunt County, Texas, for the following reasons: Has not obeyed terms of Bail Bond contract. Reason to believe defendant will flea jurisdiction.

February 23, 2010
June 2003 - I Can Now
From Joseph Jacobson, Texas Bar Journal, Vol. 49, No. 4 — April 1986.

Q. Isn’t it a fact that you have been running around with another woman?

A. Yes, it is, but you can’t prove it!

February 22, 2010
July 2003 - Did They Really Say That?
This contribution from Ileana M. Blanco (Bracewell & Giuliani):

Q. Let's talk about McNish for a moment. You said he was a beast. He weighed about 300 pounds, didn't he?

The Court: I don't think I heard anybody say anybody was a beast.

The Witness: I didn't say anybody was a beast.

Q. I thought he said five 10 and a beast. Maybe I misunderstood.

A. Obese. I didn't say he was a beast.

Q. Obese.

The Court: Okay.

Q. Maybe my accent is -- fat. McNish was fat?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. And like 300 pounds, 300-pound gentleman, somewhere in that ballpark area?

A. I'm not absolutely certain. He's certainly very overweight.

February 19, 2010
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 18, 2010
September 2005 - “Transquips”
From Lynn Brooks of DeSoto, who is a certified shorthand reporter:

Q. You must have been hurt in some event. What type of injury did you get?

A. Finger mashed.

Q. Nothing you lost time from work from?

A. (Indicating)

Q. I’m sorry?

A. Got a burn here. I didn’t lose any time. It’s frozen.

Q. People were a lot tougher. That’s a two-year disability injury these days.

Mr. Jones: I’ll object to my own sidebar and continue.

February 17, 2010
May 1992 - An Unprepared Witness
From Thomas M. Harlan of Alvin, this excerpt from a deposition he took in a child custody case:

Q. Are you asking me to believe this undying mother's love will spring forth ...

A. Mr. Harlan, I don't want you to believe anything I say. That's not what I'm here for. I'm Christopher's mother, and I'll be Christopher's mother whether you or anyone likes it or not. I can give Christopher love and affection that other people cannot.

Q. Have you ever cursed in front of Christopher?

A. I've probably said "____" or something; but other than that, no, I do not swear. I make it a point not to swear around any kids that I'm around.

Q. And you've never said anything but "____"?

A. I mean, I've never said - I probably have, but nothing that Christopher would even - as he got older, no, I didn't. When he was a baby, maybe I have; but when he started talking, no.

February 16, 2010
December 2001 - Did They Really Say That?
From Judge Ralph H. Walton, Jr., of Granbury, 355th Judicial District), this excerpt “from the direct examination by the prosecutor in a recent driving-while-intoxicated case in [his] court in which the elderly, hard-of-hearing ‘Uncle Billy’ was called to testify.”

Q. Do you know Mr. Rinard?

A. Rinard?

Q. Rinard. He’s your neighbor.

A. Oh, yes.

Q. You might know him as Elias.

A. No, sir, he seems like a real respectable man.

Q. Not a liar, but Elias. Do you know his first name?

A. No, I don’t.

Q. You just know him as Mr. Rinard?

A. Actually, I know him as Mr. Bradshaw’s brother-in-law.

Q. Fair enough.

February 12, 2010
June 1994 - Doing Pro Se
From a pro se pleading recently filed with Judge Eileen O'Neal of Houston (190th District Court), the "friendliest introduction" that she's ever received:

Now comes Plaintiff Ronald Dwayne Whitfield, and says to the honorable judge of this court, "Hello."

Judge O'Neill adds that she did not yield to the temptation to draft the following response:

Hello, Motion denied.

February 11, 2010
July 2004 - The Winner: Most Confusing Document Title
Paul J. Van Osselaer of Austin (Van Osselaer, Cronin & Buchanan) and Robert Slovak of Dallas (Gardere Wynne Sewell) — who are opposing counsel in a case on my docket — jointly submitted the following:

“Paul Van Osselaer of Austin … was hoping that the alternative relief would be granted just to figure out what is going on. He submitted this entry as a potential winner as the most confusing document title, deleting the actual names of the parties to protect the guilty. It’s from a filing in the U.S. District Court in San Antonio:


February 10, 2010
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 09, 2010
May 1994 - Did She Really Say That?
From Suzanne Saenz of Houston (Suzanne is a legal assistant with Ronald W. Ryan), this excerpt from the plaintiff's deposition in a medical malpractice case.

Q. Mr. Williams, are you on any medication today?

A. Yeah. No. Just a little old pain pill; but I'm not - I know what I'm doing ...

Q. What kid of pain pill is that?

A. Let's see. What did I Tell you the name of it was, a while ago?

Def. Attny: I think you said Vicodin.

A. Vicodin. That's what it is, and it doesn't really hurt my memory.

February 08, 2010
July 1987 - Do You Swear to Tell the Truth...
Judge: (To young witness) Do you know what would happen to you if you told a lie?

Witness: Yes, I would go to hell.

Judge: Is that all?

Witness: Isn't that enough?

February 05, 2010
July 1997 - Did They Really Say That?
From John E. Haught of Beaumont (Mehaffy & Weber), this excerpt from the deposition of a supposed eyewitness to an automobile accident who was a close friend of the plaintiff's family.

A. It's nothing out of the ordinary that I didn't, you know, go by and see Ms. Smith and Jim, you know, because, you know, I've always helped Jim out, you know - and, of course, - Ms. Smith having this Alzheimer's disease and all, you know, I always wanted to visit with her as often as possible.

Q. You say Ms. Smith has Alzheimers?

A. That's what I understand.

Q. Is she lucid?

A. No, sir. She's smart as s whip.

February 04, 2010
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 03, 2010
May 1993 - Did I Really Ask That?
From Judge David Cleveland of Palo Pinto (29th District Court), this testimony from the trial of will contest involving two wills left by Walter Howeth:

Q. When did you last see Walter?

A. At the funeral.

Q. Did he make any comment to you at that time?

A. No, sir.

Judge Cleveland adds: "I have wondered who might have been most relieved that the answer was no: the jury, opposing parties, mortician, or the doctor who signed the death certificate."

February 02, 2010
February 2001 - Industrial Strength Stupid Questions
From Stephen B. Schulte of Kerrville (Keith, Weber & Mosty), "the worst deposition questions" he has ever heard:

Q. And finally, if we can, Mr. Manne, the - that last sentence goes on to say, you know, after you're saying that it's the position we have taken - and, by the way, let me just ask you about that. When you say "we," is that just the general "we," because you're saying it - I assume that it was both "we" being Susman Godfrey and Mr. Hussey? Do you recall there being any distinction? That is, was that something that you had ever said, or was it something just that Mr. Hussey had said, and you're using "we" in the - in the royal sense ....

February 01, 2010
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.

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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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