Found in the April 1992 issue of "The Working Communicator":
From the Salt Lake City Deseret News: "Juvenile Court To Try Shooting Defendant"
From the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion-Ledger: "Suicides Asked To Reconsider"
From the Sacramento Bee: "Drug Firm Ordered To Supply Women"
From the San Francisco Examiner: "New Autos To Hit 5 Million"
From the Honolulu Pacific Business News: "Office Building Permits Plunge"
The lawsuit Irene Geschke, then age 55, filed against a mortgage company in 1979 in Chicago has passed its 15th anniversary without coming to trial. There have been more than 530 motions and orders, and nine dates for trial have come and gone. Geschke claims the mortgage company caused her to go out of business when it wrongly foreclosed on a loan and is now acting as her lawyer, managing the one ton of legal documents involved in the case.
Apparently weary of inter-family bickering in the federal bankruptcy case of Judith Herskowitz of Florida, Judge Jay Cristol ordered Herskowitz in March to "obtain and mail to" her sister Susan Charney, at least five days before Susan's next birthday, a card which reads "Happy Birthday, Sister" and contains the signature of Ms. Herskowitz. Further, Cristol ordered that "the card shall not contain any negative, inflammatory, or unkind remarks."
In Pittsburgh in March of 1994, Donita Jo Artis, 24, told prosecutors and the judge, after being denied custody of her 3-year-old son and sentenced to prison for beating him until he was blind, deaf, and unable to walk, "You guys are so unfair."
In June 1994 in London, lawyers for convicted murderer Stephen Young filed an appeal after learning from one juror that three other jurors had conducted a Ouija board seance during jury deliberations and "contacted" the dead man, who named Young as the killer.
Prosecutor: Did you kill the victim?
Defendant: No, I did not.
Prosecutor: Do you know what the penalties are for perjury?
Defendant: Yes, I do. And they're a hell of a lot better than the penalty for murder.
Judge: Why did you kick Mr. Smith in the crotch?
Defendant: How was I supposed to know he was going to suddenly turn around?
The following is a courtroom exchange between a defense attorney and a farmer with a bodily injury claim.
It came from a Houston, Texas insurance agent.
Attorney: At the scene of the accident, did you tell the constable you had never felt better in your life?
Farmer: That's right.
Attorney: Well, then, how is it that you are now claiming you were seriously injured when my client's auto hit your wagon?
Farmer: When the constable arrived, he went over to my horse, who had a broken leg, and shot him. Then he went over to Rover, my dog, who was all banged up, and shot him. When he asked me how I felt, I just thought under the circumstances, it was a wise choice of words to say I've never felt better in my life.
Mary Louise Gilman, the venerable editor of the National Shorthand Reporter has collected many of the more hilarious courtroom bloopers in two books, 'Humor in the Court' (1977) and 'More Humor in the Court', published a few months ago.
From Mrs. Gilman's two volumes, here are some of my favorite transquips, all recorded by America's keepers of the word:
Q: What is your brother-in-law's name?
Q: What's his first name?
A: I can't remember.
Q: He's been your brother-in-law for 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 Mr. Borofkin.) Nathan, for God's sake, tell them your first name!
Q: Did you ever stay all night with this man in New York?
A: I refuse to answer that question.
Q: Did you ever stay all night with this man in Chicago?
A: I refuse to answer that question.
Q: Did you ever stay all night with this man in Miami?
Q: Now, Mrs. Johnson, how was your first marriage terminated?
A: By death.
Q: And by whose death was it terminated?
Q: Doctor, did you say he was shot in the woods?
A: No, I said he was shot in the lumbar region.
Q: What is your name?
A: Ernestine McDowell.
Q: And what is your marital status?
Q: Are you married?
A: No, I'm divorced.
Q: And what did your husband do before you divorced him?
A: A lot of things I didn't know about.
Q: And who is this person you are speaking of?
A: My ex-widow said it.
Q: How did you happen to go to Dr. Cherney?
A: Well, a gal down the road had had several of her children by Dr. Cherney, and said he was really good.
Q: Do you know how far pregnant you are right now?
A: I will be three months November 8th.
Q: Apparently then, the date of conception was August 8th?
Q: What were you and your husband doing at that time?
Q: Mrs. Smith, do you believe that you are emotionally unstable?
A: I should be.
Q: How many times have you committed suicide?
A: Four times.
Q: Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?
A: All my autopsies have been performed on dead people.
Q: Were you acquainted with the deceased?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Before or after he died?
Q: Officer, what led you to believe the defendant was under the influence?
A: Because he was argumentary and he couldn't pronunciate his words.
Q: What happened then?
A: He told me, he says, "I have to kill you because you can identify me."
Q: Did he kill you?
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.
The court: Now, as we begin, I must ask you to banish all present information and prejudice from your minds, if you have any.
Q: Did he pick the dog up by the ears?
Q: What was he doing with the dog's ears?
A: Picking them up in the air.
Q: Where was the dog at this time?
A: Attached to the ears.
Q: When he went, had you gone and had she, if she wanted to and were able, for the time being excluding all the restraints on her not to go, gone also, would he have brought you, meaning you and she, with him to the station?
Mr. Brooks: Objection. That question should be taken out and shot.
Q: And lastly, Gary, all your responses must be oral.
Q:What school do you go to?
Q: How old are you?
Q: What is your relationship with the plaintiff?
A: She is my daughter.
Q: Was she your daughter on February 13, 1979?
Q: Now, you have investigated other murders, have you not, where there was a victim?
Q: ...and what did he do then?
A: He came home, and next morning he was dead.
Q: So when he woke up the next morning, he was dead?
Q: Did you tell your lawyer that your husband had offered you indignities?
A: He didn't offer me nothing; he just said I could have the furniture.
Q: So, after the anesthesia, when you came out of it, what did you observe with respect to your scalp?
A: I didn't see my scalp the whole time I was in the hospital.
Q: It was covered?
A: Yes, bandaged.
Q: Then, later on.. what did you see?
A: I had a skin graft. My whole buttocks and leg were removed and put on top of my head.
Q: Could you see him from where you were standing?
A: I could see his head.
Q: And where was his head?
A: Just above his shoulders.
Q: What can you tell us about the truthfulness and veracity of this defendant?
A: Oh, she will tell the truth. She said she'd kill that son-of-a-bitch, and she did!
Q: Do you drink when you're on duty?
A: I don't drink when I'm on duty, unless I come on duty drunk.
Q: ...any suggestions as to what prevented this from being a murder trial instead of an attempted murder trial?
A: The victim lived.
Q: Are you sexually active?
A: No, I just lie there.
Q: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
A: Yes, I have been since early childhood.
Q: The truth of the matter is that you were not an unbiased, objective witness, isn't it. You too were shot in the fracas?
A: No, sir. I was shot midway between the fracas and the naval.
Q: What is the meaning of sperm being present?
A: It indicates intercourse.
Q: Male sperm?
A: That is the only kind I know.
Q: (Showing man picture.) That's you?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And you were present when the picture was taken, right?
Q: Was that the same nose you broke as a child?
Q: You say you had three men punching at you, kicking you, raping you, and you didn't scream?
A: No ma'am.
Q: Does that mean you consented?
A: No, ma'am. That means I was unconscious.
According to Department of Justice figures, 30,000 inmate lawsuits were filed last year (added to heavy backlogs, more than 28,000 inmate lawsuits in New York alone) against prison officials for "civil rights" violations, the vast majority described by judges and court officials as frivolous. Among the lawsuits were those prisoners complaining that the prison canteen supplied "creamy" peanut butter when a prisoner bought "crunchy", that guards wouldn't refrigerate his ice cream snack so that he could eat it later ($1 million lawsuit), that his toilet seat was too cold, that, as an inmate-paralegal in the prison law library, he should make the same wage that lawyers make, that prisons should offer salad bars ($129 million), that a limit on the number of Kool-Aid re-fills is "cruel and unusual punishment", and that the scrambled eggs were cooked too hard. In New York, 20 percent of the entire budget of the Attorney General's office is spent on prisoner lawsuits budget.
Amil Dinsio, 58, filed a $15 million lawsuit in May of 1994 against the United Carolina Bank in Charlotte, N.C. from his federal prison in Loretto, Pa., where he is serving four years for robbing the bank in 1992. Sentencing guidelines call for consideration of the amount of money involved in the robbery, and Dinsio accused the bank of fraudulently inflating the amount, resulting in his spending an extra 16 months in prison.
From the L.A. Times:
A British court threw out a paternity suit against Boy George. The magistrate found the case a
little odd...not to mention the defendant.
In May 1994, the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court decision dismissing Richard
Overton's $10,000 1991 lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch for false advertising. In the lawsuit,
Overton had said he suffered physical and mental injury and emotional distress because the
implicit promises in the company's advertisements, especially of success with women, did not
materialize for him when he drank its product. Besides that, Overton contended, he sometimes
got sick when he drank.
Ex-student Jason Wilkins sued the University of Idaho in July of 1994 for $940,000 to pay for
injuries he suffered when he fell through a third story window while mooning students. Wilkins
had climbed onto a three-foot-high heater to reach the window but claimed the university should
have posted warnings.
The sentencing of Jose Manuel Miguel Xaviar Gonzales by Judge Roy Bean (1881):
Jose Manuel Miguel Xaviar Gonzales, in a few short weeks, it will be spring. The snows of
winter will flow away, the ice will vanish, the air will become soft and balmy. In short, Jose
Manuel Miguel Xaviar Gonzales, the annual miracle of the years will awaken and come to pass.
But you won't be there. The rivulet will run its soaring course to the sea. The timid desert
flowers will put forth their tender shoots. The glorious valleys of this imperial domain will
blossom as the rose. Still, you will not be here to see. From every treetop, some wild woods
songster will carol his mating song. Butterflies will sport in the sunshine. The gentle breeze
will tease the tassels of the wild grasses, and all nature, Jose Manuel Miguel Xaviar Gonzales,
will be glad. But you will not be here to enjoy it. Because I command the sheriff of the county
to lead you away to some remote spot, swing you by the neck from a knotting bough of some
sturdy oak, and let you hang until dead. And the, Jose Manuel Miguel Xaviar Gonzales, I further
command that such officer retire quickly from your dangling corpse, that vultures may descend
from the heavens upon your filthy body until nothing shall remain but bare, bleached bones of a
coldblooded, bloodthirsty, throat-cutting, murdering S.O.B."
Evidence produced at the Camden, New Jersey, kidnapping trial of James A. Howard, 39, revealed
that he had done substantial library research on the crime, calculating the average prison
sentence to be seven years and fixing at $500,000 the amount that would justify his risk in
taking the teenage son of an Atlantic City businessman.
Eye Weekly January 5 1994 Toronto's arts newspaper .....free every Thursday
Naked Eye Naked Eye
Will You Have A Fried Crotch With That, Ma'am?
by William Burrill
In sue-happy America, a woman wins a $2.9 million lawsuit against McDonald's for spilling a
steaming hot coffee on her very own crotch. Thus encouraged, another reportedly rather large
plaintiff files suit for emotional harm caused by the fact that she fell off the toilet while
taking a dump at Mc.D's. This could be the start of a whole new trend:
Here are then suggested reasons to sue McDonald's for gazillions of bucks in the New Year (and,
we at eye, of course, claim 15 per cent of any actual settlements because, after all, it was
1. Sue for permanent case of nausea from looking at pimples on workers who cook fries.
2. Sue for environmental guilt trip over having to throw away about 18 pieces of plastic and
StyroFoam containers and utensils after eating one Mc-Hap-Hap-Happy- Wappy Meal.
3. Sue because you are constantly, against your wishes, being asked to have "fries with that."
4. Sue because they never give you vinegar unless you specifically ask for it. It should be
your RIGHT, goddammit!!!
5. Sue because the cheesy-faced mock-jolliness of staff is obviously a deviously conspired act
to make you feel like a piece of shit because YOU aren't working for minimum wage.
6. Sue because you have to look at those bad polyester uniforms.
7. Sue because the blithering, blabbering dickweeds you are forced to sit beside are obviously
inbred morons and your mental health might suffer from Second- Hand Stupidity.
8. Sue because, just because you're a writer who sleeps until four in the afternoon, you can't
get a Big Breakfast after 11 a.m.
9. Sue because the lady in the lime green stretchie pants budded into line ahead of you,
causing you permanent anxiety disorders.
10. Sue because they won't tell you what's in the Secret Sauce on the Big Macs. How do we know
it's not bull jism or something? The public has a right to know.
Issues of eye in archive gopher://interlog.com Coupla Mailing lists available
http://www.interlog.com/eye firstname.lastname@example.org "Break the Gutenberg Lock..." 416-971-8421
In an October 1994 trial in Corpus Christi, Texas, involving alleged indecent activities by one
man toward another in a men's room toilet stall, both the prosecutor and defense attorney
brought into the courtroom full-size models of that particular stall in order to demonstrate
what did or did not take place.
From a Universal Press Syndicate article:
In Detroit, the lawyer for accused murderer Rondelle Woods, 23, delivered part of his closing
argument to the jury in rap: 'Went to a party, sweet 16, decided to stay on the scene.' Woods
was acquitted. But in Las Vegas in December, Eric Clark, 22, pleaded with the judge, in rap for
a light sentence: 'I'm sellin' dope, and I as gettin' paid too blind to see how I was gettin'
played.' He got 23 years.
From Late Show with David Letterman; Friday, February 3, 1995
Top Ten Least Convincing Alibis
10. I was out drinking beer and picking up babes with Richard Simmons. 9. Busy trying to get
Connie Chung pregnant. 8. Home watching CBS primetime. 7. Playing ping pong with Carol
Channing. (videotape of Dave and Carol playing ping pong) 6. Out buying hams for the audience!
5. Was attending a PBS fundraiser with Newt Gingrich. 4. Spent entire weekend trying to suck
myself into a Pepsi bottle. 3. Hypnotized by the sound of Casey Kasem's voice. 2. Alone in my
room doing some of that Joycelyn Elders stuff. 1. I'm Batman!
From Late Show with David Letterman; Thursday, March 9, 1995
Top Ten Signs You're Watching Too Much Court TV
10. Recurring nightmare about being trapped in Ito's beard. 9. You've named your poodles "Rosa"
and "Lopez". 8. You have overpowering urge to pay people to lie for you. 7. You've let both
foreign and domestic policy slide for months. (Bill Clinton only) 6. When your kid breaks a
neighbor's window, you yell, "Get in the Bronco and drive!" 5. All your erotic fantasies seem
to involve bailiffs. 4. You ask MCI to add Johnnie Cochran to your Friends and Family list. 3.
Kato Kaelin no longer seems like a freeloading bonehead. 2. You go to the supermaket every day,
but all you ever buy is O.J. 1. You're having conjugal visits with yourself.
[Music: "Watching the Detectives" by Elvis Costello]
In December 1994, a jury in Ellsworth, Wis., deliberated for three hours before ruling against
Stewart Blair in his lawsuit against his friend Maurice Poulin for injuries incurred when Blair
tripped over a snowplow blade. Blair claimed that Poulin caused the fall when he startled Blair
by accidentally passing gas in his face. In a postscript to the trial, as the jurors
ceremonially exited the courtroom, the foreman accidentally, audibly passed gas as he walked by
Years ago, I read that habeas corpus (the principle that a person cannot be held in jail without a warrant) originally passed in the English parliament when the person counting the votes jokingly counted a fat legislator as ten votes. According to the article, the bill would not have passed otherwise. (If anyone has a solid reference for this story, email it to me.)
In Calgary, there is a by-law that is still on the books that requires businesses within the city to provide rails for tieing up horses.
Wearing a sweatshirt inside-out is deemed a "threatening misdemeanor" in Half-Moon Bay.
But as records of courts and justice are admissible, it can easily be proved that powerful and malevolent magicians once existed and were a scourge to mankind. The evidence (including confession) upon which certain women were convicted of witchcraft and executed was without a flaw; it is still unimpeachable. The judges' decisions based on it were sound in logic and in law. Nothing in any existing court was ever more thoroughly proved than the charges of witchcraft and sorcery for which so many suffered death. If there were no witches, human testimony and human reason are alike destitute of value. - Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary"