A Comedian Enters the Court

court

“Of all forms of monotony, the monotony of affirmation is the worst.”

— Joseph Joubert

According to Marcelle Boren in Disorder in the American Courts (2016), the following conversation apparently occurred in a US court of law:

Clerk: “Please repeat after me: ‘I swear by Almighty God…’”
Witness: “I swear by Almighty God.”
Clerk: “That the evidence that I give…”
Witness: “That’s right.”
Clerk: “Repeat it.”
Witness: “Repeat it.”
Clerk: “No! Repeat what I said.”
Witness: “What you said when?”
Clerk: “That the evidence that I give…”
Witness: “That the evidence that I give.”
Clerk: “Shall be the truth and…”
Witness: “It will, and nothing but the truth!”
Clerk: “Please, just repeat after me: ‘Shall be the truth and…’”
Witness: “I’m not a scholar, you know.”
Clerk: “We can appreciate that. Just repeat after me: ‘Shall be the truth and…’”
Witness: “Shall be the truth and.”
Clerk: “Say: ‘Nothing…’”
Witness: “Okay.” (Witness remains silent.)
Clerk: “No! Don’t say nothing. Say: ‘Nothing but the truth…’”
Witness: “Yes.”
Clerk: “Can’t you say: ‘Nothing but the truth’?”
Witness: “Yes.”
Clerk: “Well? Do so.”
Witness: “You’re confusing me.”
Clerk: “Just say: ‘Nothing but the truth.’”
Witness: “Is that all?”
Clerk: “Yes.”
Witness: “Okay. I understand.”
Clerk: “Then say it.”
Witness: “What?”
Clerk: “Nothing but the truth…”
Witness: “But I do! That’s just it.”
Clerk: “You must say: ‘Nothing but the truth.’”
Witness: “I WILL say nothing but the truth!”
Clerk: “Please, just say the words: ‘Nothing.’ ‘But.’ ‘The.’ ‘Truth.’”
Witness: “You mean, like, now?”
Clerk: “Yes! Now. Please!”
Witness: “Nothing. But. The. Truth.”
Clerk: “Thank you.”
Witness: “I’m just not a scholar.”

I wonder what happened to that witness and to the case as a whole. After all, many have been cited for contempt for less.

Posted by

My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is edmarklaw@learnfunfacts.com

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