John G. Browning 2015-11-25 20:29:56
I Can’t Make This Stuff Up Unbelievable stories from our justice system. They say that humor is where you find it, and in the case of legal humor, there’s no better source than what goes on daily in our justice system. Just check out this sampling of the odd and offbeat from around Texas and the rest of North America. Only in Texas. The stereotype of the Lone Star State as a place where we all wear cowboy hats and ride horses everywhere is still true in some parts. In March 2015, Rick Braun of Allen was at his Collin County ranch when he had a hankering for some tacos. So he rode his horse to the nearest Taco Bell. He was ticketed by police for violating a local ordinance that bans riding an animal on the sidewalk or “within any portion of the street or right-of-way of a heavily traveled street.” Braun plans to fight the ticket. I have just one question: Did he use the drive-through? Blame Game. Cynthia Campbell, a pedestrian injured when a car ran her over, filed a lawsuit in April 2015 blaming an unusual class of defendants: zombies. It seems that a car hit Campbell during Zombie Walk: San Diego, a spinoff event of the city’s annual Comic-Con, where people dress as zombies (complete with torn clothing, gruesome makeup to simulate decaying flesh, and fake blood) and lurch through the streets in a parade of the “walking dead.” Campbell’s suit alleges that the driver was “overcome by fear” when some of the “undead” participants surrounded and jumped on his car; he took evasive action, striking her in the process. So far, the deposition transcripts of fact witnesses have come back featuring just one word: “brains.” Of course, if you want to be really creative, you’ll blame elves and not zombies. In May 2014, a woman reported to police in Portland, Oregon, that she was being attacked in her red BMW at an intersection by a man dressed in flexible metal armor and a helmet, holding a shield and sword. The assailant identified himself to police as a “high elf engaged in battle with the evil Morgoth” (for the übernerdy, that would be Fingolfin, high king of the Noldor, from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings prequel The Silmarillion ). Police later learned that the suspect had taken LSD. ... High elf, indeed. A 35-year-old Pennsylvania woman who crashed her car into a guardrail in April 2014 had an interesting excuse for the state troopers: her coffee-drinking pet parrot. It seems the bird was pecking at the lid of the coffee cup, and the driver lost control after taking her eyes off the road to look at the bird. Polly wants a latte? A Song From the Heart? In a case in which Duke Energy had been convicted of criminal violations of the Clean Water Act, Judge Malcolm Howard agreed to delay sentencing when it was pointed out that power might be cut off to North Carolina military bases as a consequence. In doing so, he was moved to quote from the 1970s hit song “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” including the verse, “Don’t trust your soul to no backwoods Southern lawyer; cause the judge in the town’s got bloodstains on his hands.” What are you trying to tell us, judge? From reported opinions and real-life rulings to police reports and news from the courthouse beat, few fictional accounts can compare to what transpires in our system of justice. JOHN G. BROWNING is a partner in Passman & Jones in Dallas, where he handles commercial litigation, employment, health care, and personal injury defense matters in state and federal courts. He is an award-winning legal journalist for his syndicated column, “Legally Speaking,” and the author of the Social Media and Litigation Practice Guideand a forthcoming casebook on social media and the law. He is an adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. NOW ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS Send your funny essays, deposition and trial excerpts, cartoons, jokes, and ideas to email@example.com.
Published by State Bar of Texas. View All Articles.
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