Court cases are often seen as boring, tedious and drawn out processes that you’d prefer to avoid. Lawyers can be thought of in the same regard. Yet sometimes amidst all the tension of a case, they can come out with a quote that, fortunately for the rest of the room, lifts the mood. Unfortunately for them, those quotes remain on the record forever! Here is a collection of some of the most bizarre and entertaining comments that have ever been made in a courtroom.
As a lawyer, you try very hard to get a particular answer expressed in the court, but sometimes the question can come across as having a very obvious answer to the rest of the room.
Lawyer: “Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?”
Lawyer: “Did you check for blood pressure?”
Lawyer: “Did you check for breathing?”
Lawyer: “So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?”
Lawyer: “How can you be so sure, Doctor?”
Witness: “Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.”
Lawyer: “But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?”
Witness: “Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere.”
Sometimes lawyers do go over the top and verge on downright ridiculous questions to their witnesses. Here are some that can be said to cross this line:
Lawyer: “Do you know how far pregnant you are now?”
Witness: “I’ll be three months on November 8.”
Lawyer: “Apparently, then, the date of conception was August 8?”
Lawyer: “What were you doing at that time?”
Lawyer: “The youngest son, the twenty-year old, how old is he?”
Facts of life
In their quest to confirm all the circumstances of a case, it seems some lawyers may forget a few simple facts of life (and death).
Lawyer: “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?”
Lawyer: “Do you recall approximately the time that you examined the body of Mr. Eddington at the Rose Chapel?”
Witness: “It was in the evening. The autopsy started about 8:30pm.”
Lawyer: “And Mr. Eddington was dead at the time, is that correct?”
And sometimes they even consider whether there could have been more than two people in a marriage:
Lawyer: “Now, Mrs. Johnson, how was your first marriage terminated?”
Witness: “By death.”
Lawyer: “And by whose death was it terminated?”
Or if there could be more than two sexes:
Lawyer: “She had three children, right?”
Lawyer: “How many were boys?”
Lawyer: “Were there girls?”
Innocent until proven guilty
When defendants choose to represent themselves at trial, it sometimes makes the prosecutions job a bit easier. One defendant, Jerry Bartle, was arrested and put on trial for robbing a local shop at gunpoint. In his wisdom he decided that he would represent himself in court. He appeared to be doing reasonably well until the shop’s owner took the stand to give his evidence. After she identified him immediately as the robber, Bartle jumped up and yelled:
“You’re lying! I should have blown your head off!… If I had been the one that was there.”
The jury found him guilty and Jerry Bartle was sentenced to thirty years imprisonment.
And in another case, it was a guilty husband who gave himself away:
Lawyer: “What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke that morning?”
Witness: “He said, ‘Where am I, Cathy?’”
Lawyer: “And why did that upset you?”
Witness: “My name is Susan.”
We’re all human after all, and these human errors do make for some great entertainment in times when the court room is a little dry. For more of a laugh, ahere is a video reenactment of a real court case in which there was an argument about the legal definition of a photocopier.