Pamela Buchmeyer 2017-01-21 11:38:26
The Judge’s Daughter: Lawyers in Love Valentine’s Day reminds me of how my late father, Judge Jerry L. Buchmeyer, loved to officiate weddings. He had a closing line guaranteed to bring down the house: “Now … the bride may kiss the judge.” Dad was a U.S. district judge who wrote a humor column for the Texas Bar Journal for 28 years—a tradition I’m proud to uphold. He also wrote me a set of wedding vows, which sounds terribly romantic. One pesky problem, a line where my betrothed and I were required to pledge to “always speak the truth in love.” Now, is it wise to always share the unvarnished truth with one’s spouse? Yes, my sweet love, you’ve gained weight and your pants are too tight. No, it is not. Much better is the old adage: “Discretion is the better part of marriage.” Years later, after Dad and I had both ended up in divorce court, he reflected, “I had no business giving you advice on love.” “Too late now, Dad,” I replied. “You already doled out a real doozy and made me swear an oath to uphold it.” “Tell you what,” Dad said. “If either of us should ever get married again, I’ll edit out that truth-telling part.” Caveat amator, lover beware—that’s the theme for this month’s column and I hope that you’ll take it to heart. Many thanks for the new submissions, please keep them coming. Emphasis added below by the Judge’s Daughter. Love & Marriage Judge Buchmeyer at the lectern: Love and marriage, love and marriage, they go together like a horse and … an M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, an Army tank heavily armored with superior firepower. At least, that’s what the divorce lawyers tell me. That’s an updated version of one of my father’s jokes. He gave speeches, entertaining both civilians and legal professionals alike. Dad shared verbatim bits of testimony, witnesses who spoke perhaps unintentionally to the true nature of love. From Dad’s file labeled “Public Talks on Private Matters.” Q: Do you have any other behavior differences … from after this accident occurred? A: Yeah. I think I went psychotic because something bad had to happen … I went off and got married. Q: … can you tell me in your own words the reason for filing for divorce? A: I don’t know the reason for it. I couldn’t tell you. Q: You don’t know why you filed the divorce? A: No, sure don’t. I don’t know why I married her back, either. Q: All right. Tell me the names of your first two wives and the years of those marriages. A: My first wife was Vicki. She deceased in 1975. Q: Was that the reason for the termination of that marriage? A: Yeah. Q: … That’s a good reason. Opposing counsel: Jerry Buchmeyer’s getting another one! A Case of Mistaken Spouse From Ralph “Jake” Warner, the co-founder of Berkeley, California-based publisher Nolo, a story from his sadly now defunct blog. See “They Really Said It,” Feb. 18, 2009, legalhumorblog.com. Lawyer: What w as the first thing your husband said to you when he woke up? Witness: Where am I, Cathy? Lawyer: And why did that make you mad? Witness: My name is Susan. Similarly, a classic from the Buchmeyer Vault, submitted by District Judge William C. “Bud” Kirkendall of Seguin who enjoyed many fine years on the bench in Guadalupe County. Excerpts from testimony in a divorce case: The Court: All right, Mrs. Jones, Mr. Jones, come forward … you’re both still under oath. Mrs. Jones, what do you want to tell me today? Do you want to stay married? Wife: Yes… . The Court: Mr. Jones … [d]o you want to stay married… ? Husband: No. This [divorce] is the only way I can get rid of my mother-in-law. She’s been such a pain in our hineys that I just can’t put up with her no more. … The Court: So, you don’t want to stay married to your wife? … Husband: … We’re getting along better. The Court: You’re getting along better now. … So, you’re divorcing your mother-in-law … ? Husband: Right. The wrong name is on that piece of paper. The Old Cowboys’ Clause Brenda K. Smith of San Marcos sends us a new submission from a divorce case in Hays County. Both parties represented themselves pro se and they drew up some unusual but quite helpful guidelines governing their behavior as they continued to live together post-divorce until the sale of their house. • Husband shall take exceptional care during and after Dallas Cowboys games to not break any material objects in the house and to remain cordial to wife, who is not responsible for the outcome of sporting events. • Wife shall endeavor to give husband the space he needs to recover from Cowboys losses. Joint Custody of the Kidney I love my spouse, I do! But would I accept the gift of one of her kidneys? Knowing that she might one day divorce me and demand its immediate return? It could happen. It did happen, in fact, in New York. Mr. Batista gave his wife a kidney only to later have her file for divorce. So, he sought just compensation for what he argued had become a hugely valuable marital asset—a human internal organ. Batista v. Batista, Short Form Order No. 20193/05, Supreme Court State of New York (2009). Given that Mr. Batista could not retrieve the organ from its current location in situ his wife, he attempted to call an expert witness to testify as to the kidney’s financial value. Here’s what the court attorney-referee had to say about that: … defendant seeks to call Dr. Matas, whose impressive and extensive curriculum vitae attests to his standing in the field of transplantation, to amplify the defendant’s claim that the donated organ should be construed as a marital asset and valued accordingly… . Although … interspousal assets made during the tenure of a marriage are marital assets subject to equitable distribution … [and] While the term “marital property” is elastic and expansive … its reach in this Court’s view, does not stretch into the ethers and embrace … human tissues and organs. Moreover, Mr. Batista’s efforts “to pursue and extract monetary compensation” for his former body part violated state law prohibiting the sale and trafficking of human organs. He had opened himself up (please forgive the pun) to possible criminal prosecution, a class E felony in New York. There you have it, just in case your clients call for legal advice before committing themselves to a very personal Valentine’s Day gift. Lawyers in Love, the Musical Is there any hope for lawyers in love? Perhaps not. The online dating service lawyersinlove.com, designed exclusively for lawyers and law students, shut down after only a few years. Jackson Browne had a hit song, “Lawyers in Love,” in 1983 plus an album of the same name. Some say the lyrics are baffling, but I say it’s long overdue for a Broadway adaptation. The song gives hope for attorneys and amore. Among the human beings in their designer jeans, Am I the only one who hears the screams, And the strangled cries of lawyers in love. Okay, it’s a little dark. How about a corny little ditty from 1930? “Non-negotiable You,” written by two Yale law students. The lyricist was Fred Rodell, who went on to become a Yale Law professor for 40 years, a noted legal gadfly who advocated a no-holds-barred approach to law reform. His 1939 book Woe Unto You, Lawyers is a classic. The composer was Harold J. Rome, who later earned fame on Broadway as a successful writer, composer, and lyricist. His 1937 musical revue Pins and Needles was a hit. Rome also wrote music for Édith Piaf and for such films as Rear Window and Babes on Broadway. But first, Fred and Harold were young lawyers in love, singing the romantic line, “I want to be your holder in due course.” Non-negotiable you. I study law With the proper awe, I’m an earnest sort of lad; But I’ve got a flair For a lady fair Who’s no way to be had; She won’t be hugged and she won’t be kissed Though I’ve tried to be empiric; So I sing to the girl who can resist This legalistic lyric: You’re the note That’s got my goat, Non-negotiable you. You’ve got class That I can’t pass, Non-negotiable you. You’ve the only form that I endorse, I’ve not used fraud and I’ve not [done worse], And I want to be your holder in due course, Cause you’re due! 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. • THINK YOU’RE FUNNY TOO? PROVE IT! Send your humorous articles of 600 words to firstname.lastname@example.org. Send deposition and trial excerpts to email@example.com. PAMELA BUCHMEYER is an attorney and award-winning writer who lives in Dallas and Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Her work-in-progress is a humorous murder mystery, The Judge’s Daughter. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published by State Bar of Texas. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://mydigimag.rrd.com/article/Humor/2692687/378663/article.html.