Courtroom Humor

Jury: Twelve men and women trying to decide which party has the best lawyer.

Justice:    A decision in your favor.

A judge in a semi-small city was hearing a drunk-driving case and the defendant, who had both a record and a reputation for driving under the influence, demanded a jury trial.  It was nearly 4 P. M.  And getting a jury would take time, so the judge called a recess and went out in the hall looking to impanel anyone available for jury duty.  He found a dozen lawyers in the main lobby and told them that they were a jury.  The lawyers thought this would be a novel experience and so followed the judge back to the courtroom.   The trial was over in about 10 minutes and it was very clear that the defendant was guilty. The jury went into the jury room, the judge started getting ready to go home, and everyone waited. After nearly three hours, the judge was totally out of patience and sent the bailiff into the jury-room to see what was holding up the verdict. When the bailiff returned, the judge said, "Well have they got a verdict yet?" The bailiff shook his head and said, "Verdict? Hell, they're still doing nominating speeches for the foreman's position!"


It had to happen sooner or later. Lawyer Dobbins was wheeled into the emergency room on a stretcher, rolling his head in agony. Doctor Green came over to see him. "Dobbins," he said, "What an honor. The last time I saw you was in court when you accused me of malpractice." "Doc. Doc. My side is on fire. The pain is right here. What could it be?" "How would I know? You told the jury I wasn't fit to be a doctor." "I was only kidding, Doc. When you represent a client you don't know what you're saying. Could I be passing a kidney stone?" "Your diagnosis is as good as mine." "What are you talking about?" "When you questioned me on the stand you indicated you knew everything there was to know about the practice of medicine." "Doc, I'm climbing the wall. Give me something." "Let's say I give you something for a kidney stone and it turns out to be a gallstone. Who is going to pay for my court costs?" "I'll sign a paper that I won't sue." "Can I read to you from the transcript of the trial? Lawyer Dobbins: 'Why were you so sure that my client had tennis elbow?' Dr. Green: 'I've treated hundreds of people with tennis elbow and I know it when I see it.' Dobbins: 'It never occurred to you my client could have an Excedrin headache?' Green: 'No, there were no signs of an Excedrin headache.' Dobbins: 'You and your ilk make me sick.' " "Why are you reading that to me?" "Because, Dobbins, since the trial I've lost confidence in making a diagnosis. A lady cane in the other day limping ..." "Please, Doc, I don't want to hear it now. Give me some Demerol." "You said during the suit that I dispensed drugs like a drunken sailor. I've changed my ways, Dobbins. I don't prescribe drugs anymore." "Then get me another doctor." "There are no other doctors on duty. The reason I'm here is that after the malpractice suit the sheriff seized everything in my office. This is the only place that I can practice." "If you give me something to relieve the pain I will personally appeal your case to a higher court." "You know, Dobbins, I was sure that you were a prime candidate for a kidney stone." "You can't tell a man is a candidate for a kidney stone just by looking at him." "That's what you think, Dobbins. You had so much acid in you when you addressed the jury I knew some of it eventually had to crystallize into stones. Remember on the third day day when you called me the 'Butcher of Operating Room 6? That afternoon I said to my wife, "That man is going to be in a lot of pain.' " "Okay, Doc, you've had your ounce of flesh. Can I now have my ounce of Demerol?" "I better check you out first." "Don't check me out, just give the dope." "But in court the first question you asked me was if I had examined the patient completely. It would be negligent of me if I didn't do it now. Do you mind getting up on the scale?" "What for?" "To find out your height. I have to be prepared in case I get sued and the lawyer asks me if I knew how tall you were." "I'm not going to sue you." "You say that now. But how can I be sure you won't file a writ after you pass the kidney stone?"


One evening, after attending the theater, two gentlemen were walking down the avenue when they observed a rather well dressed and attractive young lady walking ahead of them.  One of them turned to the other and remarked, "I'd give $50.00 to spend the night with that woman."  Much to their surprise, the young lady overheard the remark, turned around, and replied, "I'll take you up on that."  She had a neat appearance and a pleasant voice, so after bidding his companion good night, the man accompanied the young lady to her apartment.  The following morning, the man presented her with $25.  00 as he prepared to leave. She demanded the rest of the money, stating: "If you don't give me the other $25.00, I'll sue you for it."  He laughed, saying: "I'd like to see you get it on these grounds."    The next day he was surprised when he received a summons ordering his presence in court as a defendant in a lawsuit. He hurried to his lawyer and explained the details of the case. His lawyer said: "She can't possibly get a judgement against you on such grounds, but it will be interesting to see how her case will be presented."    After the usual preliminaries, the lady's lawyer addressed the court as follows: "Your honor, my client, this lady, is the owner of a piece of property, a garden spot, surrounded by a profuse growth of shrubbery, which property she agreed to rent to the defendant for a specified length of time for the sum of $50.00. The defendant took possession of the property, used it extensively for the purpose for which it was rented, but upon evacuating the premises, he paid only $25.00, one-half the amount agreed upon. The rent was not excessive, since it is restricted property, and we ask judgement be granted against the defendant to assure payment of the balance." The defendant's lawyer was impressed and amused by the way his opponent had presented the case. His defense, therefore, was somewhat different from the way he originally planned to present it. "Your honor," he said, "My client agrees that the lady has a fine piece of property, that he did rent such property for a time, and a degree of pleasure was derived from the transaction. However, my client found a well on the property around which he placed his own stones, sunk a shaft, and erected a pump, all labor performed personally by him. We claim these improvements to the property were sufficient to offset the unpaid amount, and that the plaintiff was adequately compensated for rental of said property. We, therefore, ask that judgement not be granted." The young lady's lawyer answered thusly: "Your honor, my client agrees that the defendant did find a well on her property. However, had the defendant not known that the well existed, he would never have rented the property. Also, upon evacuating the premises, the defendant removed the stones, pulled out the shaft, and took the pump with him. In doing so, he not only dragged the equipment through the shrubbery, but left the hole much larger than it was prior to his occupancy, making the property much less desirable to others. We, therefore, ask that judgement be granted." And it was. She won the case...


In a courtroom, a pursesnatcher 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.


A man on trial in the Fourth Judicial district of Tennessee had previously pleaded "not guilty." However, once the jury, eight women and four men, had been seated and the trial was under way, the defendant switched his plea. "Why the change?" asked the judge, "Were you persuaded to plead 'guilty'?" "No Sir," the man replied, "When I pleaded 'not guilty', I didn't know women would be on the jury. I can't fool one woman, so I know I can't fool eight of them."


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 s overworked and won't touch cases under the 2.5 ton minimum.


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).


 From "The Houston Chronicle" A defense attorney in a Northern California murder case says he believes Max the parrot may hold the answer to who smothered Jane Gill to death in her bedroom two years ago. But an attempt to get the African gray parrot's testimony into evidence last week was blocked by the judge. Max was found dehydrated and hungry in his cage two days after Gill's murder. After the parrot was coaxed back to health at a pet shop, the shop's owner said the bird began to cry out, "Richard, no, no, no!" The man charged in the case is Gill's business partner, and his name is not Richard. He says he is innocent. Gary Dixon, a private investigator working on the case, surmised that the bird is now in a witness-protection program. "Max's identity has been changed, and he is now a macaw," he said.


 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.


 From the Chicago Tribune, 6/8/90:

Naples, Italy(AP): ...the claim (for damages) involves an accident in March involving a medium-sized Regatta and a tiny Panda car.  The young man claimed he and his girlfriend were engaged in amorous activity in their car when the large
car hit it from behind. The impact momentarily made them lose control, resulting in pregnancy.  The suit demands compensation for the cost of repairing the Panda and the cost of the wedding the couple decided to have after discovering the woman was pregnant.


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.


 From the Dallas Morning News:

A prospective juror in a Dallas District Court was surprised by the definition of voluntary manslaughter given the panel:

  "an intentional killing that occurs while the defendant is under the immediate influence of sudden passion arising from an adequate cause, such as when a spouse's mate is found in a 'compromising position.'"

"See, I have a problem with that passion business," responded the jury candidate.  "During my first marriage, I came in and found my husband in bed with my neighbor.  All I did was divorce him.  I had no idea that I could have shot him."

She wasn't selected for the jury.


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."

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

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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.

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