Home Page

'Disorder in the Court'

       A book titled “Disorder in the Court,” published by San Diego lawyer Charles M. Sevilla in 1999. includes courtroom exchanges between attorneys and witnesses on the stand. We have to wonder how the court reporters - whose job was to take these comments down, word for word - kept a straight face.

       ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
       WITNESS: He said, 'Where am I, Cathy?'
       ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
       WITNESS: My name is Susan!

       ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
       WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

       ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?
       WITNESS: July 18th.
       ATTORNEY: What year?
       WITNESS: Every year.

       ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?
       WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
       ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?
       WITNESS: Forty-five years.

       ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
       WITNESS: Yes.
       ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
       WITNESS: I forget..
       ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?

       ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
       WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?

       ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?
       WITNESS: He's 20, much like your IQ.

       ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
       WITNESS: Yes.
       ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
       WITNESS: None.
       ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
       WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?

       ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
       WITNESS: By death.
       ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
       WITNESS: Take a guess.

       ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
       WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard.
       ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
       WITNESS: Unless the circus was in town, I'm going with male.

       ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
       WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.

       ATTORNEY: Doctor , how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
       WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.

       ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
       WITNESS: Oral...

       ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
       WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 PM
       ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
       WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished.

       ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
       WITNESS: Are you qualified to ask that question?

       ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
       WITNESS: No.
       ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
       WITNESS: No.
       ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
       WITNESS: No..
       ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
       WITNESS: No.
       ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
       WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
       ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
       WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

       WITNESS: You mumbled on the first part of that and I couldn't understand what you were saying. Could you repeat the question?
       ATTORNEY: I mumbled, did I? Well, we'll just ask the court reporter to read back what I said. She didn't indicate any problem understanding what I said, so obviously she understood every word. We'll just have her read my question back and find out if there was any mumbling going on. Madam reporter, would you be so kind?
       COURT REPORTER: Mumble, mumble, mumble, mumble, mumble.

(Edited for publication. Thanks to Stan Wolf for sending this in.)
(Posted 1/22/14)

Would you like to respond to this article? The Westside Pioneer welcomes feedback to "General" items (to appear under this subcategory) at editor@westsidepioneer.com. (Click here for letter-writing criteria.)


       (Posted 1/22/14)