Pamela Buchmeyer 2016-04-25 06:40:10
The Judge’s Daughter: Legal Shenanigans Past and Present Thank you for the cards and letters, which of course, are actually emails. It’s a delight to hear from folks sharing fond remembrances of my late father and the humor column that he wrote for 28 years for the Texas Bar Journal. Judge Jerry L. Buchmeyer was a true original, a jurist with a funny bone, a lawyer who loved to collect stories of legal shenanigans. I’m the Judge’s Daughter and it’s my pleasure to carry on the tradition. This month’s column has a couple of brand new submissions plus a few chuckle-headed incidents from Dad’s unpublished files. I think you’re going to enjoy them. And please don’t be a stranger; drop me a line, send me a funny anecdote or an amusing tidbit. I can always change the names to protect the not-so-innocent. JUDGE JERRY L. BUCHMEYER (1933-2009) grew up in Overton and served as a federal judge in the Northern District of Texas after being nominated in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter. His monthly legal humor column ran in the Texas Bar Journal from 1980 to 2008. I’D BE RICH & STILL MARRIED This expert witness, testifying before a jury, was actually a forensic pathologist and not a marriage counselor. Although his words certainly do speak to the vagaries of true love. Submitted recently by Wade A. Barrow of Fort Worth. Q: ... someone who’s unconscious ... unarousable, under medication, as to what that person is actually thinking at the time ... You can’t tell what’s going on in a person’s mind under those circumstances, can you? A: If I could, I wouldn’t be here today. I’d be rich and maybe still married once or twice. At least! THE IMAGINARY LAWSUIT Here’s another new tidbit. Ira D. Joffe of Bellaire recalls when his client was asked to sign a Confidential Settlement Agreement and Release. The document demanded that the signor release all claims: ... including those that are known or unknown, foreseen or unforeseen, real or imaginary. ... Now that’s a drafting attorney who aims to cover all the bases, both actual and illusory! CORRERECTION ... [CORRECTION] Ira Joffe’s primary claim to fame is his possession of a truly monumental typo, which appeared above the witness’s signature line. ... in witless whereof ... Plus a few more impossible-to-forget typing miscues and blunders from the Buchmeyer Vault: Findings of fat and conclusions of law. Because dieting is everyone’s top concern. One count of aiding and bedding bank fraud. Written by a sleep-deprived lawyer, no doubt. I have just returned from sting on the jury. Ah, the pain of sitting on those hard juror’s benches and chairs. Enclosed is a draft of a motion to reuse Judge Buchmeyer. Granted! And a personal favorite, a typo in a letter submitting material to Judge Buchmeyer for his monthly et cetera article: Dear Judge Buttmier ... For the record, Dad firmly believed that the above slip-up had not been intentional. THE WITNESS WILL NOW DOUBLE DOG SWEAR From Robinson “Rob” Ramsey of San Antonio, a DWI trial where the defendant took the witness stand and insisted that a prior witness had been lying most grievously. A: I can sit in court, but I–I guess he did, too, raise his right hand on the Bible, but if he did it falsely, he’ll get his ... hook, hung somewhere. Q: So you’re telling the truth, but he might not be? A: The Gospel truth, and if you don’t believe it, bring a recorder in. I’ll–I’ll swear to it. Q [wisely]: You’re already swearing to it, sir. Presumably the defendant then did a “Double Dog Swear” for the jury’s benefit. A WITNESS OF MASS CONFUSION The deposition of the late Jameson “Jim” Mapel of Angleton must have been highly entertaining. I know because Jim himself submitted excerpts from his testimony. He was happily enjoying retirement, after having served as district attorney of Brazoria County, when a suit for wrongful termination was filed against the county and Jim was called as a witness. Mr. Mapel: One of the reasons that I did hire him was because of the good job that he did in that investigation. Q:All right. I’m confused about something. Mr. Mapel: I stay confused, Gary. That’s okay. Q: Well, I’m always confused after I listen to somebody testify, especially when somebody like Mr. Smith, the plaintiff’s counsel, is examining them, because he does a good job of confusing me. Mr. Smith: The worst part about it is that I confuse myself. And later: Q: I have a few more questions. Mr. Mapel: I’ve heard that before. Jim also suggested the subtitle “Mass Confusion.” What a great lawyer. He will be missed. RIGHT NOW COMES NOW? Legal Assistant Vicki Westbrook received a frantic call from a client. The man had received an urgent letter from her law firm, but he was ill that day and couldn’t come in. Q: Mr. Jones, I understand you’ve received a letter from our office asking you to come in? A: Yes, ma’am. Q: We just met with you recently and I don’t believe we sent you another letter. Do you have that letter in front of you? A: Yes, ma’am. It says, “To the H-O-N-O-R-A-B-L-E judge of said court, COME NOW. Well, I’m sick today, and I can’t come now. If only all clients were as responsive. To paraphrase comedian George Lopez, “Do you mean right now, right now, come now?” PAMELA BUCHMEYER is an attorney and award-winning writer who lives in Dallas and Chicago. Her working progress is a humorous murder mystery, The Judge’s Daughter. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. THINK YOU’RE FUNNY TOO? PROVE IT! Send your humorous articles of 600 words to email@example.com. Send deposition and trial excerpts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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