Anyone who has ever seen a “cop” tv show or movie is certainly familiar with the notion that the police are supposed to make sure that you are told of your rights when they arrest you. This is called a “Miranda” warning, named for the case which established it as a Constitutional mandate. I liked this variation from Non Sequitur…
So, here’s some of the sort of stuff I teased about in the first paragraph…. For some reason, attorneys interacting with doctors seem to lead to humorous exchanges.
A lawyer was cross-examining the doctor about whether or not he had checked the pulse of the deceased before he signed the death certificate.
"No," the doctor said. "I did not check his pulse."
"And did you listen for a heartbeat?" asked the lawyer.
"No, I did not," the doctor said.
"So," said the lawyer, "when you signed the death certificate, you had not taken steps to make sure he was dead."
The doctor said, "Well, let me put it this way. The man's brain was in a jar on my desk but, for all I know, he could be out practicing law somewhere.”
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: 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: 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: Doctor, did you say he was shot in the woods?
WITNESS: No, I said he was shot in the lumbar region.
Of course, this sort of thing isn’t limited to the testimony of doctors. No, whether it’s a case of lawyers trying to dominate witnesses with their “impressive” vocabulary, or just be impressive to the jury, is hard to say, but it is perfectly possible for what seems could easily be fairly simple testimony to get a bit out of hand and become something which was probably not the attorney’s intent.
For example: A defense attorney was cross-examining a police officer during a felony trial -- it went like this:
Q: Officer, did you see my client fleeing the scene?
A: No sir, but I subsequently observed a person matching the description of the offender running several blocks away.
Q: Officer, who provided this description?
A: The officer who responded to the scene.
Q: A fellow officer provided the description of this so-called offender. Do you trust your fellow officers?
A: Yes sir, with my life.
Q: With your life? Let me ask you this then officer, do you have a locker room in the police station, a room where you change your clothes in preparation for your daily duties?
A: Yes sir, we do.
Q: And do you have a locker in that room?
A: Yes sir, I do.
Q: And do you have a lock on your locker?
A: Yes sir.
Q: Now why is it, officer, if you trust your fellow officers with your life, that you find it necessary to lock your locker in a room you share with those officers?
A: You see sir, we share the building with a court complex, and sometimes defense attorneys have been known to walk through that room.
Of course, there ARE numerous examples of other sorts of incidents developing which might cause a court reporter to have some sort of reaction.
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 is your date of birth?
WITNESS: July 18th.
ATTORNEY: What year?
WITNESS: Every year.
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Take a guess.
ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No, I just lie there.
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: How far from the accident were you when it happened?
WITNESS: He replied "36 feet, 2 and a quarter inches”
ATTORNEY: Nonsense how can you be so precise?
WITNESS: Well I knew some bloody fool would ask me so I measured it.
That’s probably about enough of that sort of thing, but here’s another “sort of lawyer” cartoon from The Wizard of Id which I found a while ago. Considering the fact that Halloween is just past, I think it might be appropriate.
“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
— Nelson Mandela
“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic; capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” — Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
“Not everything which can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”
— from a sign in Albert Einstein’s office