Jury: Twelve men and women trying to decide which party has the best lawyer.
Justice: A decision in your favor.
Between the pigeons and the politicians, it's hard to keep the courthouse clean.
In a courtroom, a purse-snatcher is on trial and the victim is stating what happened. She says, "Yes, that is him. I saw him clear as day. I'd remember his face anywhere." At which point, the defendant bursts out, "You couldn't see my face, lady. I was wearing a mask!"
Matthew P. Dukes, 26, sentenced to 30 days in jail in 1989 following his sixth drunken-driving conviction, tried for 15 months (through December 1990) to get into jail in Ravenna, Ohio, but each time was turned away because the jail was full. In December, Dukes filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming that his constitutional rights are being violated by the jail's refusal to admit him.
Just remember: when you go to court, you are trusting your fate to twelve people that weren't smart enough to get out of jury duty!
A witness was called to stand to testify about a head-on automobile collision. "Whose fault was this accident?" the lawyer asked. "As near as I could tell," replied the witness, "they hit each other at about the same time."
The U.S. Attorney in Miami declined to prosecute a drug smuggling case in which the Customs Service had confiscated a half ton of marijuana because the office is overworked and won't touch cases under the 2.5 ton minimum.
There once was a young fellow who fell prey to a speed trap in a small southern town. The cop wrote him a ticket and then hauled him before the local Justice of the Peace. The Justice fined the young man $200 and collected the money on the spot. The young fellow turned to go but was called back by the Justice and handed the old ticket. The speedster said, "Just what am I supposed to do with this? I paid my fine!" Whereupon the old J. P. replied, "Keep it, when you get three, you get a bicycle!"
In 1993 in Bangladesh, Falu Mia, 60, was released from prison after 21 years. He had been locked up until his trial for theft in 1972, then found not guilty, but a lethargic bureaucracy failed to release him. He recently filed a lawsuit against the government for 21 years' back wages (about $26,000).
In December 1993, Atlanta attorney Dennis Scheib stopped by the prosecutor's office on his way to court to represent a new client in a criminal case. Just outside the office, he saw two officers chasing a man down the hall, and he joined in to help. After the three men caught the escapee and handcuffed him, Scheib learned the man was the client he had been on his way to court to represent.
In February 1994, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., accused murderer Donald Leroy Evans, 38, filed a pre-trial motion asking permission to wear a Ku Klux Klan robe in the courtroom and to be referred to in legal documents by "the honorable and respected name of Hi Hitler." According to the courthouse employees interviewed by the Associated Press, Evans thought Adolf Hitler's followers were saying "Hi Hitler" rather than "Heil, Hitler."
Heard through friends: Rumor has it that the state of California, which recently enacted a "Three Strikes" crime bill (three felonies and you're jailed for life), was considering the following amendment:
Three strikes and you're out, unless the judge drops the gavel on the third strike and you can run out of the courtroom before the bailiff grabs you.
Rachel Barton-Russell petitioned a court in Springfield, Ore., in February 1994 for a ruling on the meaning of the state's law against corpse abuse. Her deceased husband, Donal Eugene Russell, had declared in his will that he wanted his skin used to make book covers for a collection of his poetry, but the state Mortuary and Cemetery Board claims that carrying out that request would subject a funeral home to liability for corpse abuse.
The defense attorney was hammering away at the plaintiff. "You claim," he jeered, "that my client came at you with a broken bottle in his hand. But is it not true, that you had something in YOUR hand?" "Yes," he admitted, "his wife. Very charming, of course, but not much good in a fight."