I had read these exchanges on reddit before and didn’t realize that they were from a book. The book is title, Disorder in the Courts (1999, ISBN-10: 0393319288) from Charles M. Sevilla. The book is an entertaining collection of excerpts from actual courtroom exchanges.
While some of the back and forth highlighted in the book are almost too absurd to be true I accept the author’s sincerity that they accurately cover honest exchanges between people in a courtroom.
The book was first released in 1999 so there is surely plenty of room for a new edition. The cases span every imaginable topic and they offer a look at not only attorney word blunders, but those the witness and judge alike.
Attorney: What is your date of birth?
Witness: July 18th.
Attorney: What year?
Witness: Every year.
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: 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: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
Witness: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
Attorney: Are you sexually active?
Witness: No, I just lie there.
Attorney: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
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: Were you present when your picture was taken?
Witness: Are you shitting me?
Attorney: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
Attorney: And what were you doing at that time?
Witness: Getting laid
Attorney: She had three children , right?
Attorney: How many were boys?
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?
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?
Attorney: Did you check for blood pressure?
Attorney: Did you check for breathing?
Attorney: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
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.
There are a number of moments where I burst into spontaneous laughter, others where I just had to cringe. If you have a few moments to spare, I know your life is busy enough, you may want to check the book out from your local library. It is quick to read that most bookworms should at least crack a smile to while reading.