A Comedian Enters the 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 […]

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Being a Criminal Lawyer

Raymond Burr in Perry Mason In 1977, Michael George Cummings of Tulsa, Oklahoma was charged with purse-stealing. He refused to have a lawyer defend him at his impending trial. His reason? He said that he had watch enough episodes of Perry Mason, a US legal drama, to know how things go. Cummings was sure that […]

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Peculiar Index Cross-References

The index section of William Hawkins’ Treatise of Pleas of the Crown, a treatise on England’s criminal law published in 1716, contains some quaint and amusing cross-references: Assault, see Son. Chastity, see Homicide. Convicts, see Clergy. Death, see Appeal. King, see Treason. Shop, see Burglary. Sickness, see Bail.  

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Testimony from Beyond

The following is a transcript during the trial of a contest over two wills left by Mr. Walter of Arkansas: Q: When did you last see Walter? A: At the funeral. Q: Did he make any comment to you at that time? A: No. “I have wondered who might have been the most relieved that […]

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Is Poetic Justice Wright Or Nott?

In the December 1904 issue of Green Bag, Vol. 16, there is an amusing account through poetry chronicling the aftermath of a court case. When the Court of Clams passed a judgment in the case of Harvey Steel Company v. United States, by a majority of four out of five judges, the majority opinion was […]

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Gleanings From The Past #63

Numerical Coincidence I have heard of certain individuals being regulated in all the important events of their lives by certain peculiar numbers, which fell out to them respectively, with a strangeness of accuracy which it is almost impossible to reckon altogether the effect of chance. The following account, which is taken from the work of an Arabian historian, affords […]

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Disorder In The Court

The following is a peculiar court transcript cited in Rodney Jone’s Disorderly Conduct: Verbatim Excerpts From Actual Cases (1987): The Court: I got the Quadrophenia, but then he said somebody played in it, and I didn’t get that. Prosecutor: The Who. The Court: The what? Witness: Musicians. Prosecutor: The Who. Witness: The Who. The Court: […]

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Gleanings From The Past #55

The Sword and the Pen The sword of the warrior was taken down for the purpose of being polished. It had not been long out of use. The rust was rubbed off, but there were spots that would not go; they were of blood. The sword was placed on the table, near the pen of […]

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Conveyance Of An Orange

The Western Law Journal, Vol. 5 (August 1848) gave the following interesting passage about the process of writing a deed of gift of an orange: If a man would, according to law, give to another an orange, instead of saying, “I give you that orange,” which one would think would be what is called in […]

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How Many Lawyers Does It Take To Change A Light Bulb?

Q: How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb? A: Such number as may be deemed to perform the stated task in a timely and efficient manner within the strictures of the following agreement: Whereas the party of the first part, also known as “Lawyer,” and the party of the second part, […]

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