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VOL. 36 | NO. 37 | Friday, September 14, 2012
Lawyers not immune to courtroom confusion
Thanks for the cards and letters regarding how much you enjoyed the past few weeks’ return to our roots – our roots being quotations from “the record,” that large, vague compendium of things people have actually said or written in court proceedings.
To the question that I’m repeatedly asked: “Yes! They actually did say that.” This week, we’ll give things a bit of a twist. These are words uttered by lawyers themselves – usually after an answer given by a witness and, perhaps, while not fully processing the words they heard:
Q: What is your relationship to Darrell?
A: I’m his mother.
Q: And you have been all his life?
Q: I’m going to show you what’s been marked as State’s Exhibit 2. Do you recognize this picture?
A: John Fletcher. That’s me.
Q: This is you?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Were you present when the picture was taken?
Q: When was your son born?
Q: Was this before or after your hysterectomy?
Q: Where did you have sexual relations with this woman?
A: In my pickup truck.
Q: Were you parked?
Q: What else did they take x-rays of? Other than your knees and your heads?
Q: Your head. Excuse me. You have only one head, correct?
Q: How long have you lived in this town?
A: All my life.
Q: And where did you live before that?
Q: Were you the daughter of the late W.T. Vandergrift?
A: Yes, I was.
Q: In what capacity?
Q: Where were you born?
A: Memphis, Texas.
A: August 20, 1953
Q: Did you live in Memphis? Or did you just go there to be born?
Q: How far pregnant are you?
A: I will be three months on Nov. 8th.
Q: Apparently the date of conception was August 8th?
Q: What were you and your husband doing at that time?
Q: You’ve testified that Cecil is dead?
A: Yes. He died this year in March or April.
Q: So, he’s not available to testify in this hearing, is that right?
Vic Fleming is a district court judge in Little Rock, Ark., where he also teaches at the William H. Bowen School of Law. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.