TRUCKEE, Calif. — If you liked our last column of courtroom bloopers, you will love these:
Q. Now, doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, in most cases he just passes quietly away and doesn’t know anything about it until the next morning?
Q. Was it you or your brother that was killed in the war?
Q. The youngest son, the 20-year old, how old is he?
Q. Were you alone or by yourself?
Q. How long have you been a French Canadian?
Q. Do you have any children or anything of that kind?
Q. Were you present in court this morning when you were sworn in?
Q. So you were gone until you returned?
Q. She had three children, right?
Q. How many were boys?
Q. Were there girls?
You don’t know what it was, and you don’t know what it looked like, but can you describe it?
Q. You say that the stairs went down to the basement?
Q. And these stairs, did they go up also?
Q. Have you lived in this town all your life?
A. Not yet.
A Texas attorney, realizing he was on the verge of unleashing a stupid question, interrupted himself and said, “Your Honor, I’d like to strike the next question.”
Q. Do you recall approximately the time that you examined the body of Mr. Edington at the Rose Chapel?
A. It was in the evening. The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
Q. And Mr. Edington was dead at the time, is that correct?
A. No, stupid, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy.
A defense attorney was cross examining a coroner. The attorney asked, “Before you signed the death certificate, had you taken the man’s pulse?”
The coroner said, “No.”
The attorney then asked, “Did you listen for a heart beat?”
“Did you check for breathing?”
“So, when you signed the death certificate, you had not taken any steps to make sure the man was dead, had you?”
The coroner, now tired of the brow beating said, “Well, let me put it this way. The man’s brain was sitting in a jar on my desk, but for all I know he could be out there practicing law somewhere.” (Unlikely verbatim, but we’ll let it slide.)
Q. Did you see the defendant bite off the victim’s nose?
Q. Then how do you know he bit off the victim’s nose?
A. I saw him spit it out.
The above quotes are from: Disorderly Conduct — Verbatim excerpts from Actual Court Cases.
Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City, California, and Reno, Nevada. He was the Governor's appointee to the California Fair Political Practices Commission and McPherson Commission, both involving election law and the Political Reform Act. Jim’s practice areas include: real estate, development, construction, business, HOA’s, contracts, foreclosures, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the firm’s website www.portersimon.com.