Contest!!! Gerry Spence Never Lost A Case and You Can Too! (Update)

Could it be?!?  Is it true?!?  Who cares. This is the greatest contest ever in the history of the interwebz.

First prize is the official Gerry Spence fringed buckskin jacket, modeled here by the lovely SJ spokesmodel, Midday Cowboy.  That’s right, fringes. Buckskin. Gerry Spence. Does it get any better?  I think not.

And how can you win this fabulous prize?

Leave a comment telling your story of the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done in court.  Your greatest screw-up. Your worst mistake.  Your Rakofsky moment.  The thing you did that humiliated you beyond repair.

But what if you’re not a lawyer and want to enter?  No problemo! Tell us your most disgraceful moment as a defendant.  Come on, we all know you did hard time. Don’t be shy. Or at least relative to criminal law or police interaction. If you got nothing, you don’t deserve the jacket. Just sayin’.

Law student? Need you ask? You’ve got stuff the rest of us can barely remember. Think of the future you’ll have with fringes on your bod.

As with all SJ contests, the rules are totally arbitrary and I will be the epistemic arbiter, so whatever I decide goes.  You can enter as many times as you like, and pics could help.  The contest will end at close of biz Friday, and winner will be announced Saturday whenever I decide.

And whoever wins this jacket, need I explain, will never again lose a case,* because Gerry Spence.

Update:  Kevin O’Keefe was kind enough to twit about this contest, but one response his twit received was just, well, perfect irony:


This could either be the single wussiest twit ever, or Machiavellian genius.


* Restrictions apply.

90 thoughts on “Contest!!! Gerry Spence Never Lost A Case and You Can Too! (Update)

  1. Turk

    I’ll start off with one that won’t win:

    My brother came to watch me try a case once, and he’s a big James Bond fan. Well, one of the people peripherally involved was named James Bond.

    So, in crossing a witness, I made reference to that “Bond, James Bond.” I did it for my brother.

    And you could hear crickets in the courtroom as the joke laid an egg.

    Lesson learned: Never try to force a joke where a joke doesn’t belong.

  2. Marc R

    Defending a robbery case. Alleged robbers wore ski masks, which the police found, and the DNA came back inconclusive on my guy. I wanted to go a step further and show not only did my guy not do it, but I will show this fair and honorable jury who the real bad guys were.

    I load up the laptop and go to Facebook, plug into the ELMO, and as my decade old Dell is loading I smile to the judge knowing the JOA is right around the corner. I log into Facebook and bring up the public profiles of the guys (not my client) wearing ski masks just outside the crime scene the day before, the day of, and the day after the crime allegedly occurred.

    As I’m looking at the jury, I see them laughing and hear the judge yell “c’mon turn that off.” I had the sound off on the laptop but the unmistakable popup of a generic topless woman informing me she lived in my town and wanted NSA sex with me that night was there for the crowd.

    Quickly unplugged the ELMO, closed the laptop and apologized profusely while mentioning Russian hackers or something similar. During recess my guy pled to a misdemeanor pot charge for 10 hrs CS. Got quite the talking to in chambers about malware and viruses.

      1. Marc R

        I’m assuming she wasn’t really beckoning me specifically but rather opens in windows on everyone’s infected computer advising them of her availability in their town. And as I couldn’t see past her, uh, waist, I cannot comment on whether she ambulates unassisted nor whether she was convicted of some sort of legal violation in whatever venue she resides.

  3. GEJC

    I’d had a law license for a few weeks and had been working with the PD’s office in a small southern city. When you were fresh out they would start you with misdemeanors and child support contempt to let you cut your teeth. I had a pitiful client with a contempt charge for failure to pay about $8K in support. At the hearing I got in that he was working at an orchard picking apples, living on his brothers couch, driving a moped to work that was given to him. The dude didn’t have a pot to piss in and I was confident that he was going to walk with a good talking to from the judge. Ah, the righteousness of PD work! I’m freeing the poor and downtrodden!

    The mom leans over and starts talking to the prosecutor. It’s intense and I’m wondering what’s going on. She starts her cross and says, “Mr. Shitbird, did you injure your shoulder at work?” He replies that he did, he worked the river barges and it was crushed and that he had to have a full shoulder replacement. She then asks, “Mr. Shitbird, did you get a settlement for it?” These are new facts to me and I’m starting to sweat. She then asks how much he received in the settlement. His response:



    When pressed further he had received a $200,000 settlement two years prior and he had spent every single penny and had not paid a dime. I tried to rehabilitate him by asking about the cost of the shoulder replacement and he says that workman’s comp paid the whole thing plus the settlement. It was a nightmare, he pulled six months, and I lost a contempt hearing in front of new colleague.

    Moral of the story: Your clients sometimes hide inconvenient facts.

  4. PJB

    Law school.

    For some reason that I’m sure made sense at the time, our professor was screening A Civil Action. To be fair, the professor occasionally interrupted the movie with questions about legal points being raised by the movie. Gotta pretend you’re teaching, right?

    I’ve seen the movie before, but didn’t want to just blow off class, so I sat in the back, powered up my laptop, and proceeded to screw around. Namely, I spent two hours of class time playing Minecraft. What I didn’t notice was that a camera had been set up for the sake of those who were absent. And my computer screen was clearly visible to that camera.

    I spent the next year being known as the guy who played games in class.

    1. SHG Post author

      One fart in third grade and you’re called Stinky for the rest of school. Minecraft barely makes a scratch. Unless you really sucked at it and everybody could see.

      1. PJB

        I did that too. The fart jokes didn’t last out the day.

        But meeting a new professor for the first time and hearing him say ‘Oh, right, you’re the minecraft guy’ was pretty agonizing.

        Not gonna win, but I felt like sharing.

  5. John Barleycorn

    That is a mighty fine coat and it truly deserves to be broken in properly.

    Tell us of these “* Restrictions apply” ?

    Totally arbitrary rules as well as unilateral and capricious judging I can roll with but restrictions are another thing all together. Besides, speaking of restrictions, I do not think Spence would be cool with any restrictions ever getting in the way of a CDL truly achieving Zen-like communication with her/his client or a juror for that matter.

    Will the coat be tailored for its new owner before shipment? Noting personal but you may spend too much time in the six wheeler and not enough time behind the shovel. Its hard to tell behind that chin of yours but that coat deserves to fit its new suitor perfectly.

    I want that coat (even untailored) but the fashion “costs” and various other considerations must be considered.

    The coat in and of itself is certainly worthy of ferocious competition but will there also be a hat of some sort as a consolation prize for he/she who has been held in contempt of the court the most and or who has been issued the most disorderly conduct citations?

    Hypothetically speaking…

    If one were to dust off some motions that were made on his/her behalf and you happened to post them would you protect the identity of the innocent even though they are in the court record and public ? The context of any good law enforcement encounter once verified is really only a he said she said “story” but can only truly live on forever in all its glory when it is seen in the motions.

    And how about a collection of mug shots? Once identity is verified would you allow for the expressions to shine through while maintaining a slightly blacked out line across the eyes? To protect the innocent and acquitted again of course.

  6. Ken

    I was a student prosecutor in Malden — Suffolk County — in 1993. Almost no supervision, got the files hours before trial, etc. At the time in MA if you were charged with a misdemeanor you got a bench trial in local court and then if you were convicted you got a second bite of the apple through a jury trial in superior court (or whatever it was called).

    I was handed a file of a guy busted for having a marijuana plant in a decorative pot in his back yard. The big time! The report said that when the cop knocked on his door the defendant said “my wife ratted me out.” I put the cop on the stand. The cop testifies differently than he said in the report — he says the guy said “my wife set me up.” I try to refresh his memory using his report and, eventually, a scrap of paper saying “you said this before.” The judge was unimpressed. I told the judge earnestly what I had learned in Evidence — that I could refresh memory with anything. The judge pointed out that I hadn’t established that the guy didn’t remember. I’d only gotten an answer I didn’t like. I tried to impeach my own witness instead, using a chart I had made for different types of impeachment. The judge told me to sit down. Not guilty.

    I was wearing duck boots the whole time. Everyone was. Fucking Malden.

    1. Dan

      Great story. Malden is in Middlesex county though just FYI. And the old two bites at the apple system was called de novo.

      1. SHG Post author

        He was a kid in duck shoes, and you want to give him a lesson in geography and Latin? That’s the least of his issues.

  7. TM

    Preliminary hearing in a small town where female attorneys were allowed to wear pants. Walking into the courtroom, squeezing past the marshall standing in the doorway, caught the pocket of my trousers on the door handle and ripped the entire side of my pants open, from hip to knee. Had to ask for a brief recess before I could even get my appearance on the record in order to use the clerk’s stapler to remedy the indecent exposure problem.

  8. Jim Tyre

    Hardly worthy of a winner, but amusing (at least to me).

    In The Days Of Yore, when us old farts dictated rather than doing our own word processing, I was doing a bunch of dictation in the morn, then off to court for an afternoon hearing. The hearing went more poorly than I had expected. At some point, exasperated, I said “But Your Honor comma….” It broke the ice, but I still lost.

    Want an amusing bow tie story? (Not mine, I down’t wear bow ties. But it’s a not terrible lesson about what one should or shouldn’t do in court.)

      1. Jim Tyre

        OK, here you go.

        The Senior Partner of the firm I started with as a 2L clerk (much later, I was very privileged to call him my partner) always wore bow ties. He let me tag along to some court hearing or another. It was not going well for Opposing Counsel. At some point, OC actually said that SP’s argument was as phony as SP’s bow tie.

        The lectern being in front of counsel tables, OC couldn’t see what happened next, but everyone else that mattered did. Without uttering a sound, SP reached up, untied the bow, retied it perfectly. It was a friggin’ miracle that no one burst out laughing, everyone kept a straight face. OC never knew what hit him

        So the lesson, of course, is never to say anything incredibly stupid in court that one doesn’t know to be true and can’t support.

        The End.

  9. Jonathan Edelstein

    440.10 motion in Queens. The defendant was convicted of second-degree assault for hitting someone with a baseball bat over a money beef. Defense counsel’s theory was that the defendant punched the victim rather than hitting him with a bat, making it assault 3, but failed to call a witness who could support that theory.

    I talked to the witness and the former lawyer, and it all seemed on the up and up. Former lawyer was very candid and apologetic. So I filed the motion and got a hearing.

    The hearing was stretched out over several days, spaced a month or more apart. About halfway through, the DA gets the idea of subpoenaing my client’s jail calls from Rikers, starting from the day he was brought down from upstate. Next thing I know, I’m listening to him on tape talking to his family members about “yoking” the witness – and also talking to his former lawyer, the one alleged to be ineffective, about how to set up the claim and what the witnesses should say.

    I was hugely embarrassed, and it turned out even worse for the client. To this day, in my office, an unpleasant surprise springing from something the client didn’t tell us is called a “[name of client] moment.”

  10. Mark Draughn

    My first time a courtroom was when I was maybe five or six years old. My father had a traffic ticket, and since my mother worked days, my father had to take me with him for the court appearance. He explained to me that he always fought the tickets because the worst that would happen was a conviction, which is what would happen if you didn’t fight it, so you had nothing to lose. (I guess Illinois didn’t have the ask-for-traffic-school-by-mail option at that time, so you had to go to court.) I remember he was dressed up with a shirt and tie and nice shoes, and he made it very clear I had to be quiet while we were sitting in the courtroom. When the judge called him, he walked up to the bench, and I naturally followed him up. The judge asked him, “So, is he your lawyer?” Everyone in the courtroom cracked up.

    Not really a qualifying story, but the mention of laughter in court reminded me of it, and it’s one of my earliest memories of my dad. Also, I can’t remember the result, but he was pretty happy about it, so I’m guessing he wasn’t convicted. I think that means I’m tied with Spence.

    1. SHG Post author

      What an adorable story. So now I’m picturing you walking into the well with your father, but you were a tiny version of yourself.

  11. Keith Lynch

    At age 20, I knew less than nothing about the legal system
    (i.e. most of what I knew was wrong). It was a very different time,
    and I was raised in a rather old-fashioned household. I thought
    police and prosecutors were good guys who would never lie, and that
    wrongful convictions never happened in the US, at least not in the
    20th century.

    I was arrested when my roommate of 11 days turned out to have
    burglarized a nearby office building. I could not make bail. I had
    a court-appointed attorney. He told me that the judge knew I hadn’t
    really done anything wrong, but that I was technically guilty, and
    that the way to put it behind me was to take responsibility by
    pleading guilty, and that I would then immediately be released on

    I had no clear idea of what I was pleading guilty to. If anything,
    I thought it was unknowing possession of stolen property, or failure
    to supervise a minor. (My roommate was 17.) The attorney said that
    if I were to insist on a trial, that would mean we had no trust or
    rapport, and that he would resign and I’d be on my own.

    There was no real allocution. The judge — who is still on the
    bench today at age 87 — merely asked me if I was pleading guilty of
    my own free will, and informed me that I was giving up my right to a
    trial and to appeal the conviction.

    I was returned to jail for several more weeks rather than being
    immediately sentenced. In the meanwhile, the state produced a
    pre-sentencing report which said I’d been in “a series of special
    schools.” The only special school I had ever been in was the
    Governor’s School for the Gifted. They also quoted a teacher I never
    had, at the regular public high school I graduated from. (That
    teacher later apologized to me, saying he had confused me with
    another student.) I didn’t get to see this report until long after
    my sentencing.

    The judge sentenced me to six years in the state penitentiary,
    which I’ve since been told is unusually harsh for a first-time office
    burglar. He perceptively said I was angry and showed no remorse.

    I had been given the chance to make it all go away. All I had to
    do was perjure myself by falsely testifying that my cellmate confessed
    to murder, then all charges against me would be dropped.

    My record is otherwise perfectly clean, before and since. Not even
    a traffic ticket. But I’ve still permanently lost important rights.
    Fortunately, I had lots of support from friends, family, and even
    the crime victim, who hired me right out of prison. The burglar had
    written on the office wall, and it was not my writing, as my friends
    proved to him by showing him letters I had written. The victim had
    been surprised that the police had never shown up to search for
    evidence, but had just taken his report over the telephone.

    Surprisingly, my conviction didn’t interfere with my employment in
    the ’70s, ’80s, or ’90s, or even with my getting a security clearance
    in the ’80s, but everything changed around the turn of the century.
    Not only can’t I find work, but I can no longer travel internationally.

    Needless to say, I’m not terribly impressed with the criminal
    justice system. Nothing I’ve read in your blog or elsewhere has led
    me to believe it has improved in the past few decades. I think we’d
    be better off without it, relying instead on private reputation
    markets and on self defense.

  12. Charlesmorrison

    Okay, an amusing arraignment that I probably can’t do justice in writing, but here’s a shot. I can’t remember if I was covering the hearing for my brother or if this was a random other defendant, but the guy in question was not my client. I have no idea how his case resolved. Anyway, we’re in a local municipal court on a Monday morning for initial appearances. These court’s handle misdemeanors and initial appearances for felonies and usually don’t pay to have the jailed clients transported, but rather do them via video. It’s a cattle call and standing room only.

    This disheveled man appears on the screen and immediately starts into an incoherent ramble about why he needed to get out of jail ASAP because of his horse. I can’t remember exactly what he was saying, but he was saying it as fast as he could, not even pausing to breath. Over and over again mentioning this horse he has – like he has an unattended five year old at home.

    The Judge finally says, “calm down Mr. Smith, let’s back up here. You were picked upon on a capias because you failed to appear for court on X date, and again on Y date. You just don’t seem to be taking this seriously. I need to insure your appearance. Do you understand that? I want to resolve this case and in order to do that, you need to be here. Understand?

    Defendant: something like, you don’t understand … something about a horse … you really need to get me outta here … something about a horse …. horse, horse, horse. Again speaking as fast as he is able, like it’s his last chance to speak on earth and he has a lot to say.

    Judge: Stop talking about this horse; listen, I’m trying to ascertain what it is going to take to insure you’ll appear. Now, I’m inclined to reduce your bond to $2500 / 10% down. Can you come up with $250.00?

    Defendant: No way! You mean I need $250.00 to get outta here? You don’t understand … horse, horse horse….

    Judge in an exasperated state at this point and basically yelling at the guy: Mr. Smith, you keep telling me about this damn horse. How is it that you can afford a horse, but can’t afford to pay $250.00 to insure your appearance?

    Defendant: Because your honor, the damn thing hasn’t placed one damn time! Its finished 7th, 6th, 9th….

    Anyway, the entire courtroom erupted in laughter. The judge was laughing his ass off and let the guy out.

      1. Charlesmorrison

        Unfortunately, no. I understand. The best I can do is ask judge Rettich, if a consumer of SJ, to weigh in. He has to remember the horse guy.

  13. MDM

    I tried to lighten the rather somber mood while doing a FST by pointing out that I was cheating by having a big nose. My PD laughed when we got to that part of the video. The cop never did.

    The case was later nolle prossed.

  14. Jim Cline

    As a young man (with all the stupidity that implies) I traveled to Alice, TX for a short term job. First night there I went to a local watering hole with some other members of the crew. The bar was in a sort of strip mall with nose in parking in front. When it came time to leave there was a car parked directly behind mine. I checked in the businesses in front of where I parked to locate the owner and was unable to find him at which point I decided to back up the couple feet till our bumpers met and attempted to push him back far enough to get past him. As I was doing this the local sheriff c walked up and asked me what the hell I thought I was doing. I told him that when I parked I was considerate enough to do so without blocking anyone but the asshole driving this car obviously didn’t feel the need to show me the same consideration. He then proceeded to handcuff me and put me in the backseat of the car I was talking about and took me to jail.

      1. Jim Tyre

        And would it surprise you that the Ninth Circuit has a whole Opinion about parking?

        Thus, to enforce the ordinance, a Menlo Park law enforcement officer must decipher the driver’s subjective intent to communicate from the positioning of tires and the chosen parking spot.

        Foti v. City of Menlo Park, 146 F. 3d 629 (9th Cir. 1998).

  15. KSB

    I’m not a lawyer, but my father was a minister in Raleigh, North Carolina back in the days of Jim Crow laws, in the early 1950’s. He loved telling a story he learned from a judge who was a member of the church. The case involved a white man who had broken into a house and stolen valuable property. The only witness was an African-American man who was working as a gardener at the house next door. The defense attorney began bragging rather loudly about how easy it was going to be to get his client off the charge. After all, “The witness was probably unreliable for obvious reasons,” he said, and then implied that the witness had a drinking problem.

    When the witness was on the stand, he testified as to what he saw from the house next door. The defense attorney was unable to make his drunk theory stick when he learned the witness’s religious beliefs forbade drinking. Frustrated, the defense attorney began making some snide comments about how wonderful the witness’s vision must be. He finally asked him, “Just how good is your vision?”

    The witness paused and replied, “Well, I can see all the way to the moon.”

    Jury broke up. Defendant found guilty. Lawyer mortified. I do hope he learned something from the whole experience.

      1. KSB

        That’s OK; I just wanted to share it. Knew it wasn’t eligible for the contest. Thanks for writing an interesting blog.

  16. John Barleycorn

    It’s against the law to be drunk in a bar…

    Once upon a time before I discovered the benefits of natural vitamin D. I was the proprietor of a neighborhood bar on the side of town that had less street maintenance than the other side of town for some reason or another. I think it had something to do with,…well never mind. That’s another story.

    On Saint Patrick’s Day many of my regulars were often accompanied by some of their “friends” and neighbors that normally would never set foot in a bar, let alone ever even consider entering one of “those type” of bars (a no frills classic whiskey bar) without an escort.

    I also happened to have a policy of leaving the front door of my bar locked on Saint Patrick’s Day each year as only regulars and their friends were allowed to join in the party on that day. As an added bonus the policy usually prevented the unnecessary babysitting of amateurs as well.

    This particular Saint Patrick’s Day one of the accompanying “friends”(whom just happened to be a very attractive police dispatcher, which was found out many months into discovery ) was curious to see the place for herself and although this was her first visit she was fortunate enough to have been passingly familiar with the property and the neighborhood due to her J_O_B.

    Anyway, she was a little taken aback or in by one of my regulars (a very gifted story teller BTW) who looked and still does look Hells Angels a decade removed from the “good old days” and could play the part of cross between Kerouac and Bukowski convincingly when an opportunity presented itself.

    Needless to say I played along without knowing I was playing along by allowing this patron of mine to whisper in my ear several times over the course of a few hours after plenty of Jameson’s and beers had been served. The whispers in my ear were about the probabilities of him having a chance with this “friend” who was the friend of the wife of another patron of mine who had been long since having a conversation with his wife that was endearing but nearly troubling enough that they might have been asked to finish it at home and miss last call if it had not been Saint Patrick’s Day.

    Anyway, I mostly nodded after his whispers in my ear but I think once or twice I firmly shook my head.

    Unbeknown to me this friend disappeared into the bathroom for a rather long duration and
    next thing you know a few squad cars pull up via the speedy and stealth method. Trouble is, the front door is locked. Cops have a distinctive knock, if you have never experienced it, it is shall we say tonal but not exactly of any particular key.

    So, I down my Jameson’s turn on the 5-0 light behind the bar, grab my beer and let them in.

    Not even three paces in they demand to search the bar for the dead body. Which they were certain I had stashed “in the back”.

    I am reasonably perplexed but think it is all an elaborate joke as I actually know the senior officer who is all of 35 but a pretty reasonable guy in spite of such a handicap and his choice of professions.

    Turns out not only was it not a joke but before I could even finish my beer I was being handcuffed.

    I am pretty sure the handcuffs had something to do with me pointing to the glossy framed photo above the door of Frank Zappa making a hand gesture to his audience. But it might also have been my asking for a warrant simultaneously while trying not to laugh as I was still certain it was all an elaborate joke.

    No it wasn’t a joke and besides they didn’t need no stinking warrant because searching for dead bodies don’t require no stinking warrant and if I didn’t produce the keys they were going to use force on the door to “the back”.

    So anyway, they clear the bar, for their safety of course. Then go about figuring out which key on my key ring, that they fished out of my pocket, fit the door to the “back”.

    The “search” took about thirty minutes and the junior officer was instructed to supervise me while it was underway, while I was in handcuffs in my own bar. So, I took the opportunity to laboriously explain to the junior officer who that guy was in the photo above the door.

    Hey, he asked!

    During the search their sergeant showed up. He and I had always been cordial and I always thought we had a reasonably friendly but nonetheless frank disagreement as to the meaning of community policing and the concept of what he and I thought was necessary and required to “keep the peace” in the quiet little neighborhood where my bar was located.

    No dead body was found and seeing as there was no dead body found nor ever had there been a dead body in the bar that day, or ever for that matter, they had no choice I guess but to commence with their questioning.

    It became rather apparent to me that “someone” who had been in the bar that very day called in to report that there was a dead body “in the back” and this persons credibility was beyond reproach and why on earth would someone call in such a thing if it weren’t true?

    I was pretty sure at this juncture that they had three options. I was going to simply be released, given a disorderly conduct citation for my “disorderly conduct” and then be released, or get a free ride across town for further questioning and then be given a disorderly conduct citation and released.

    So desiring the first option I answered all of their questions without my lawyer present by reciting entire and partial Frank Zappa lyrics layered in with the answers to their questions.

    Mind you none of them, less the junior officer’s crash corse, had heard much or new anything about Frank Zappa.

    About a half an hour into my on-scene interrogation the Sergeants cell phone rings. He steps outside and when he returns he tells the junior officer to release me. The senior officer then asked if he should cite me for disorderly conduct. To which the sergeant replied “No, cite him with being intoxicated on a licensed premises.”

    So there you have it I was once cited for being drunk in my own bar.

    I challenged the charge and after several capable motions by my CDL that the prosecutor didn’t want to deal with let alone release all the discovery we requested (they took lots of pictures) it was plead down by the prosecution and reduced to “failure to assist a police officer” which is not even a misdemeanor but an infraction in my state.

    I took it, and while the judge was informing me of my fine he took the opportunity to tell me I should probably be on my best behavior in the future as I was in a highly regulated industry and that he had read my motions and felt that the violation I had pled to was a good and fair resolution and that if I were to be on my best behavior in the future I probably wouldn’t have to pay for any motions to be drafted in the future which he reassured are “expensive, aren’t they?!”.

    But, the story doesn’t legally end there as the Director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board attempted to hold me accountable for being drunk in my own bar even after the charge was reduced and pled to.

    She refused to table the matter even after several letters from my capable CDL and insisted it go in front of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board with her recommendation that even though I was never convicted of being drunk in my own bar my licensee should suspended for seven days and or my license file should at least be noted for future consideration if I were ever to receive any violations in the future for serving intoxicated persons on a licensed premises.

    The ABC board unanimously voted to dismiss the Directors concerns as unwarranted and noted for the record that the court had already spoken on the matter and the licensee was free to go about his business and was under no special instructions or orders from them.

    P.S. I never wanted the hat. I got my own hat. But there is something about that fringe. I must have that fringe.

    P.S.S. Excuse the length but something tells me the stitching might even outdo the fringe on that fine coat.

      1. John Barleycorn

        All I know for certain, which was found out via tooth and nail pulling discovery was that the police dispatcher was the one who made the call to report a dead body “stashed in the back”. We also discovered that she did not make that call through the 911 system or the business line of the police department.

        The patron who was whispering in my ear was “entertaining” the police dispatcher (via his account, by feeding her yarns of lore about the bar while strategically getting me to nod or shake my head after whispering in my ear) at a table while the patrons wife she gained entry through for the Saint Patrick’s day party and her husband entertained themselves.

        The connection speculation remains to this day.

        I did refuse inspection of the “unlicensed” portion of the building I rented to the ABC field agents about six months prior during a routine license inspection.

        But I refuse to believe this perfectly legal refusal is connected.

        Moral of the story for your readers….Don’t believe everything you hear in a bar especially if your ruck sack is overburdened by assumptions.

        Moral of the story for me… It might have been worth giving my CDL the extra 20K to proceed to trial if I wanted to know for certain.

        My CDL was of the opinion that it would have been dismissed whole cloth if we called the “bluff” but told me I would be a fool not to take the “failure to assist” plea.

        So there you have it, even really skilled CDL’s can’t always get you the “why” because although it is in your interest it is not always in your best interest to take the risk to find out the “why”.

        That’s why I need the Spence Coat. It will give me the super powers and courage to find out the “why” next time while putting food on the table of a well deserving CDL.

  17. Peter Orlowicz

    Before I went to law school, I was a police dispatcher for my undergraduate university. I was working midnight shift, but it was Sunday night or something when it wasn’t busy. Our shift corporal called in a license plate, since our department didn’t have computers in the squad cars, and I dutifully ran the plate through the state database. When the response came in, I read it over twice, and then put out over the radio that the vehicle came back stolen.

    This correlated well with the corporal’s observations that the vehicle was trying to avoid him and “fly casual”, so he initiated a felony stop. For those who aren’t familiar with this, this is not the kind of traffic stop where the officer politely walks up to the window and asks for license and registration; this is the kind of traffic stop where multiple officers with guns drawn give commands to the driver via loudspeaker to exit the vehicle with their hands showing. I’m logging all this activity, multiple officers from multiple neighboring agencies are responding as backup, and I look back at the stolen vehicle response from the state database to put the info in my log.


    Huh. That doesn’t look right. Oh. That’s a return for a LOST or stolen license PLATE, not a stolen CAR. Shit.

    Turned out the poor unfortunates in the car were teenagers who were out past curfew, rather than auto thieves. I’m not sure what generated the lost plate report, but it certainly wasn’t anything that should have justified a felony stop. Since (thankfully) nobody was hurt and I was otherwise pretty good at my job, the shift corporal settled for a written reprimand for my file. Oh, and I got “volunteered” to be the driver of a car the next time our department did training on felony stops. It turns out it’s hard to follow the officer’s shouted instructions during a practice felony stop when he forgets to tell you to unbuckle your seat belt before telling you to get out of the car.

      1. Peter Orlowicz

        You’re right of course, humor being tragedy plus time. Then again, I read your original post closely before posting this, and you asked for “your story of the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done in court. Your greatest screw-up. Your worst mistake. Your Rakofsky moment. The thing you did that humiliated you beyond repair.” The potential for tragedy is exactly what made this particular incident so embarrassing. Besides, it this so much worse than if I’d submitted something where the punch line was “and I crashed and burned, and my client went to jail”?

        1. SHG Post author

          I didn’t say it wasn’t a good story or that you didn’t sufficiently humiliate yourself. Keep the faith.

    1. Rick Horowitz

      Dang! I was so expecting, after your opening sentence, to hear that Barleycorn had had a bit more fermented barleycorn than he thought, that YOU were the dispatcher from his story, and then to hear you clocked his overly-amorous friend, and then, thinking you’d accidentally killed him, you called it in yourself to ensure a proper burial!

      Thankfully, no one was killed in laying the groundwork for the story you told us instead, which is only funny if you weren’t in the car, eh?

  18. John Barleycorn

    My wife just asked if I was reading blogs or working this evening.

    I foolishly told her the truth.

    She is upset that I didn’t tell the story about our first vacation while dating.

    What can it hurt, the rules allow it, she’s cool with it, and did I mention that if I am awarded the Spencer Coat I will actually wear it?

    A long, long, long, long time ago that feels just like yesterday about six months after I started dating my wife we decided to go on vacation to the Big City, stay in a fancy hotel, eat at some “real” supper clubs, and just enjoy the sights…

    We arrived in the afternoon and had dinner reservations for eight that evening. But my wife fell ill from the airplane food and had to take a pass on dinner but insisted I should go out and check out the nightlife while she rested.

    What was I to do? Take her up on her generous offer of course!

    So, I walk down to the lobby jump in a cab and ask the driver to take me to card room that I had read about during my research knowing this might be my only opportunity to check it out because the wife does not count poker as a hobby of hers.

    I arrive at the card room and didn’t even have to wait for a seat. I am having a great time, no one knows me or my game, and the drinks are cheap. What more could a guy ask for and the new girlfriend even gave me permission.

    Anyway, I step outside for a smoke and some fresh air around eleven and right there literally in front of the card room is a young lad going through a field sobriety test, with a flash light in his face.

    Anyway it is pretty obvious he is going to be arrested shortly and after the cuffs went on he starts talking or pleading depending on your perspective.

    So I yell out “shut the F up, you are only going to make things worse for yourself.” I don’t know if he heard me or not but the officer did. So after the lad is safely in the back of the squad car the officer approaches me and asks “what my problem is” and then demands to see my identification.

    I surmise you can imagine how that went down.

    Anyway, I end up in jail for the night for my “disorderly conduct” and the next morning upon being freed I get on the phone and call my wife at the hotel. She is rightfully a bit concerned and wants to know where the heck I am.

    When I tell her I just got out of jail and I hope she isn’t too upset she replied “Why should I be upset, I spent the night in a four star hotel and it sounds like you got to pull up a concrete bench.”.

    It was at that precise moment that I knew I was going to marry this woman.

    P.S. The wife says if this story prevails she gets the jacket and will even model it and send in a photo.

      1. John Barleycorn

        A stubborn principled yahoo with a little cowboy in him that talks too much of course.

        I think she figured that was less risky than settling down with a man who doesn’t talk.

  19. Jeffrey Gamso

    Not mine (I represented the other defendant), but what the hell.

    The defendant was facing capital charges, which meant that along with all the individual stuff his lawyers did, they went to the death penalty motions manual and pluck out a bunch of generic ones – some because they’re clear winners and can maybe help a bit, others filed just to preserve issues should the higher courts someday reconsider. Just change the captions and edit a bit as necessary. And so they filed the standard motions.

    Then came one of pre-trial days. The judge had looked at the form motions and the form responses and was rattling out the form granteds (few) and denieds (many). He came to one of those motions addressing concerns about racial bias.

    Instead of the form denial, he wiggled his finger (no, not that one), calling counsel up to the bench. He looked down at the motion. He peered around counsel and looked at the defendant sitting at the table and wondering what the hell was going on. Down at the paper. Then leaned forward for a better look at the defendant. Down and up. Down and up. The defendant’s not the only one who’s wondering.

    Judge furrows his brow. Looks down at the papers again. Turns to counsel. “There seems to be a pigmentation issue here. You wrote ________, but he doesn’t look black.”

    Motion withdrawn. Hearing concluded. Lesson learned: You can’t just copy and file the motions without reading them.

  20. william doriss

    At my criminal trial in New haven twelve years ago, I took the stand in my own defense. Upon direct examination by the prosecutor lady, I was asked a series of Yes and No questions in gattling-gun fashion. They went, “Isn’t it true that,…?” Etc. The questions were essentially unanswerable. In trying to flesh-out my responses with dialogue which reflected my “story”, the judge admonished me just to answer with a “yes” or a “no” response only. The lady judge, unnamed here, finally screamed at me to “shut up” [or be in contempt of court]. The transcript reads: [The judge asks the defendant] “to please be quiet.”

    I claim this to be a violation of not only my First Amendment right to “free speech”, but also a violation of
    the Fifth Amendment. The Fifth Amendment guarantees me the right not to incriminate myself in speech; namely, the right to “stand mute”. The Corollary would, and should be, my right to tell my side of the story in my own words without interruption or erroneous interpretation by the court. The judge shutting down my free testimony on my own behalf is a clear violation of established jurisprudence. She did it on two successive days when I took the stand. It’s in the transcript, which no one has read, except me. I memorized all 500+ pages.

    That is my entry, not nearly as good as Barleycorn’s, above. I nominate Barleycorn, John, Winner of the contest.
    P.S., Using two overworked and underpaid PDs, we beat the corrupt State of CONnecticut out of eleven criminal charges, including nine felony counts, and 67 years prison. Upon conclusion of the trial, the judge thanked the jury for their service, reminding them that we have “the best judicial system” the world has ever seen, here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Fast forward: Am still recovering from state-induced PTSD and subsequent unspeakable trauma and mental anguish. The State “threw the book” at me, hoping some of their false and trumped-up charges would stick. They lost Big Time. Am waiting for some heads to roll, and waiting, and waiting.

      1. william doriss

        You got me!?! Now I’ll probably have another nitemare with either you or Barleycorn in it. Perhaps both of you! That would be a doozie. Come to think, my entry is possibly the worst one submitted so far. Shoulda slept in this morning, or gone out for my coffee.
        Am looking forward to Judge Kopf’s entry. I know he has a tale or two.

        1. SHG Post author

          Unfortunately, I don’t think Judge Kopf is doing very well at the moment, so it’s unlikely we’ll be hearing from him. Hopefully, he’ll be back in fighting form soon.

      2. John Barleycorn

        Naw, he was just missing the good old days before I endeavored to become concise and cogent.

        Looks like I will never give William any rest.

  21. TS

    I worked as a prosecutor in a rural Virginia county. Three attorneys. The jumior most attorney did probably 80% of the work in the office. I was the junior attorney.

    There were questions about the Commonwealth Attorney’s mental state. Usually this didn’t matter since he usually didn’t show up at the office or in court.

    But he did show up one morning and wanted to go through my cases for that day. Why was I dismissing a seat belt violation in order to get a plea on a DUI? I need to be tougher; that was a $35 fine that the Commonwealth won’t get. Be tougher (i.e., dumber).

    Then he comes across a very serious offense… Reckless driving by speed. Anything above 20mph over the posted limit is a misdemeanor offense in Virginia. This woman, who had no prior criminal or traffic record, was driving 22mph above the posted limit. It was rural Virginia, so she was probably going 67 in a 45 or 72 in a 50. Typically we would offer to reduce the speed to 19 above, which is an infraction and not reckless. This is what the judge would do anyway.

    Not this time. The CA worked himself into a frenzy. Cars are dangerous. This is thousands of pounds of steel; what if she hit a child playing in the street? “She’s dangerous.”

    His solution: 22 days in jail for 22 miles over the speed limit. “Because the math is easy.” Stupid, but easy. It was also more than we seek for first time DUIs, which I noted. Not a problem, we’re “establishing a new sentencing standard.” But offer her 10 days if she pleads.

    Okay. Whatever. Reason does not apply in the Twilight Zone. I am already looking for a new job. It isn’t as if the judge is this stupid. Through the looking glass we go.

    I approach the menace to society, a young woman nicely dressed for her court appearance, tell her we are going to seek 22 days for 22 miles over if she doesn’t plead. But for a limited time she can plead guilty and receive a mere 10 days.

    No response. Blank stare. Gaping mouth. I then tell her that is what I am going seek, but there is no way the judge would do that. I also tell her what typically happens. Do you want to plead? No. Good. Let’s get the train wreck going. I wonder how this will end.

    So we do the bench trial. CA shows up to watch. I ask for 22 days. The judge asks why. I explain the hypothetical little girl; the thousands of pounds of steel flying down the highway at… highway speed. And I explain that our office is attempting to set a new sentencing standard.

    This was news to judge. The judge mistakenly thought that judges determined sentences. He stomps off the bench in anger. After he returns, he reduces the misdemeanor to an infraction and apologizes to the woman for having to suffer through this buffoonery. I get tongue lashed for my role in this buffoonery. By this time the CA has bravely left the courtroom. When I get back to the office, he’s happy.

    Captain Incompetent was voted out of office at the next election.

  22. BL1Y

    The only time I’ve been in court, other than in the spectator section, was to get sworn in to the NY State Bar.

    …That’s my entry.

      1. BL1Y

        I should add that I had also just been given my layoff notice.

        Quite sincerely the worst day of my life.

        1. SHG Post author

          Now you’re just going for the sympathy vote. It’s not like you also found out you had an STD that day, right.


  23. JON

    Early in my career as a PD I was appointed to represent a prisoner on a habeas writ. He was hearing impaired and his hearing aids had broken while at the maximum security institution. The prison took their sweet time getting them fixed so he filed a writ. He claimed he was still using the broken ineffective hearing aids when I represented him and he was at risk of being sneak attacked at prison because of it, couldn’t hear the intercom commands from guards, couldn’t hear in crowds, etc.

    I just took it on faith that there was no way we could talk on the phone. After all, he was HEARING IMPAIRED. So I made trip after trip to see him at the prison and prepare for our hearing.

    Shortly before the hearing the prosecutor gives me a CD of prison phone calls my client has made. Says he’s going to play a sampler of them to show the judge that my client is a liar and malingerer. My client explains that all the calls are to his mother and they’re made at special quiet times in the prison when he can hear just barely enough to hold a conversation with her.

    Okay, Proceed to hearing. Halfway in the prosecutor begins to pop in the phone calls. I hadn’t bother to listen to any of them, because, of course, I was young and my client told me they were of NO CONSEQUENCE.

    And, of course, the phone calls are of my client talking perfectly normally, in perfectly normal tones. to his mother on the phone and telling her how great an attorney I am and how I told him WHAT A DUMBASS the prosecutor was and HOW STUIPID the judge was and giving some background on the prosecutor and the judge that he could only have gotten from me. This goes on for some time.

    I had shared the background, of course, but didn’t add the DUMBASS and STUPID.

    Prosecutor milks the hell out of it by popping in several phone calls in a row where the client again and again returns to his favorite topic. How much I rock as an attorney and how I told him what losers everyone else in the case was. I object and croak out something like “cumulative”. Overruled.

  24. Turk

    I know I don’t get a vote for you re-gifting the Spencewear jacket, but if I did, I would vote Mr. Duck Boots because:

    1. It’s humiliating to wear them in court w/o having a blizzard as an excuse; and
    2. I would pay money to see someone wear the jacket and boots at the same time.

    You’re a man of style. You know you need to do this.

  25. SusanK

    There was a time where I had a hearing on a guilty plea go horribly wrong in a way I can’t remember so I said “Judge, this is all messed up. Can I get a do-over?” Since he granted that inarticulate oral motion, I don’t think it qualifies for damaged beyond repair.
    But I do have one from a domestic relations case:
    I was less than a year into practicing law, working for a firm where we handled mostly domestic work. I had a client who wanted an annulment of her marriage, which is completely different from the divorces I had done. The case was assigned to a judge who was notoriously difficult and very demanding of young lawyers, so I knew the hearing would be rough if I wasn’t completely prepared. I called all of the lawyers I knew reasonably well and none of them had ever handled an annulment before. I looked through the statutes and the caselaw, but they just muddied the issue (as legislators and appellate judges tend to do).
    The day of the hearing arrives and I show up in court with my file and all of the relevant law printed off (with copies for the judge, of course). The other spouse did not appear. At the beginning of the hearing, the judge called me up to the bench for a reason that is lost to history now. I tell him “Look, I’ve got all the statutes here with me, but they don’t make sense. I don’t entirely know what I’m doing. Have you ever handled an annulment before?”
    He looked down at me over his glasses and said “Yes, I have Ms. K.” I apologized profusely, but the damage was definitely done.

    1. SHG Post author

      He and the other judges probably laughed their butts off about the n00b question while drinking heavily. Personally, I think the do-over is hysterical.

  26. Wheeze the People™

    Vignette #1 — “Your Honor, I Run Hot!!”

    Here’s the backstory: My attorney at the time (who is now one of my best friends but, alas, no longer my attorney), and whose name I have shortened hear to Mr. C, to protect the guilty, has a certain fashion sense that I very much admire. Well, at my first hearing with him, he came to court dressed in a suit including the jacket. Underneath the jacket he had on an awesome a vest made of camouflage material, so the vest completed an odd yet compelling three-piece suit. He has at least 200 of these custom-made vests, each constructed of interesting materials, and wears them all the time, usually with no shirt underneath. In court, as long as he has his jacket on and buttoned up, no is the wiser. But on this particular day and on my particular case, he had two or three heavy boxes of papers to unload onto his counsel table prior to the judge entering the courtroom. So he took off his suit jacket as he set up, because he was uncomfortably hot lifting boxes and and moving around stacks of paper. And as fate would have it, the judge entered the courtroom before my attorney was completely finished with his set up and launched right into the hearing. With dialog that could have come straight out of “My Cousin Vinny”, hilarity ensued (from the July 23, 2010 Hearing Transcript):

    “THE COURT: Well, I don’t know. So just let me interrupt for a minute. Mr. C, did you have a problem finishing getting dressed this morning?
    MR. C: I’m sorry, your Honor? Oh, the jacket? I apologize. I run hot. My apologies.”

    Mr. C. then sheepishly grabs jacket and throws it on, like real quick . . .

    Here’s a pic of the vest on Mr. C., one of the ten or so which he has since passed down to me, as I was always admiring his panache and haute couture:

    [PIC #1 Camo Vest]AComedyinThreeParts1

    Vignette #2 – “The Fred Flintstone Vest Imbroglio”

    Here’s the backstory: So after spending a boatload of attorney fees and coming to the conclusion that the cash burn rate of my “high conflict” divorce proceeding was in no way sustainable, I reluctantly agreed to part ways with my lawyer and become a Pro Se litigant. As a parting gift, my attorney gave me two of the fabled vests I had so admired during our time together. I started wearing these vests regularly myself cuz I just dig ’em. Well, soon I got feedback from the court-ordered family therapist that my estranged wife is demanding that I not wear the vests when I am with my children. And the family therapist is in agreement with the proposed vest embargo. I go on a First Amendment rant about freedom of expression and that I’ll give up my vests when you pry them from my cold, dead hands, or something like that. So at the next court hearing, knowing my estranged wife will be there, I decide to table this nonsense to the judge, meaning I dressed for success in court that day, while representing myself Pro Se. Behold the results:

    [PIC #2 Fred Flintstone Vest – Dressed for Success]AComedyinThreeParts2

    My donning of the vests, particularly what came to become known as the “Fred Flintstone” vest, was an oft discussed topic during the final trial on custody in 2013.

    From the April 19, 2013 Transcript (Opposing Counsel on Direct Examination of E-strange-d Wife):

    “OC (Opposing Counsel) Q: What was the reference to the photo of Mr. K in Exhibit 26?
    EW (E-strange-d Wife) A: Someone wrote to him in response to the photo that he had posted, ‘Why are you wearing a Fred Flintstone vest?’ And –
    OC Q: And what was the response?
    EW A: And I guess I should say that in — with the response, he also — there also is a cartoon with three nude humans — one looks like Fred Flintstone, and he’s sitting in the chair and he’s receiving fellatio from Betty, who is bent over and receiving –
    MR. K. (Me): Objection, Speculation.
    EW THE WITNESS: — oral sex from Wilma.
    THE COURT: The — okay. The — wait a minute. This portion of the response is beyond the scope and is stricken.”

    [PIC # 2 Meat the Flintstones]AComedyinThreeParts3

    “OC Q: Have you recently seen the Fred Flintstone vest?
    EW A: No. Vest? Oh, yeah. In court, February 27th, I think he was wearing that.”

    From the May 3, 2013 Trial Transcript (Me on Cross Examination of Estranged Wife):

    “BY MR. K. [Me]:
    ME Q: Okay. We’re done with that particular exhibit. But let’s get to the point that you made regarding what you called my Fred Flintstone vest I wore to court on February 27th, 2013. You referred to that, right, my vest, as looking like Fred Flintstone?
    EW A: No. Someone who wrote on your page —
    ME Q Now, you do know that I have several of these custom-made vests; correct?
    EW A: I’ve seen you wear one to court and in the photo.
    ME Q: And you do know they were custom made by my former attorney, Mr. C. and given to me as gifts; correct?
    EW A: I’ve heard you say that.
    ME Q: But you do not enjoy it when I wear my Fred Flintstone vest; correct?
    EW A: I find it strange, yes.
    ME Q: And you claim our girls don’t enjoy it when I wear my vests; correct?
    EW A: They have voiced to various people that it embarrasses them when you wear the funny vests.
    ME Q Would you say you’ve raised our children to be intolerant?
    EW A: Based on that?
    ME Q: Yeah, I wear funny vests; they don’t like it. Are they demonstrating tolerance?
    EW A: I don’t think — I think the fact that you wore a suit today reflects that you wanted to be perceived a certain way. And when they say see you in a vest that looks silly to them and they’re going out in public with you, it’s good that they are able to tell you that they feel embarrassed by it.
    ME Q: Now, if I came out and came out of the closet and announced I was gay and they were embarrassed by that, what would you teach them about that?
    EW A: That you were gay?
    ME Q: Yeah. I wear a vest; you say they have a problem with it. Let’s say I was gay, coming out of the closet. Would you –would you deal with it and teach them to be tolerant?
    EW A: I think that if they had difficulty understanding what that meant to your lifestyle, that it would be a process of having to explain it to them. You would probably listen to what they had to say and what I would say, that you would not be gay or not let them be gay because –
    ME Q: So you think I shouldn’t wear a vest because our girls think it’s a little funny; now, if you could get this Court to put in a restraining order that I couldn’t wear vests of my choosing in front of the children, would you do that?
    OC: Objection. Argumentative 352.
    THE COURT: Overruled.
    EW THE WITNESS: No, I wouldn’t get a restraining order to keep you from wearing a vest.
    ME Q: Would you get a restraining order prohibiting me, if you could, from posting some things on the Internet that you don’t agree with?
    EW A: Yes, I would, if I could, get that in a restraining order.”

    From the May 317, 2013 Trial Transcript (OC on Direct Examination of Me):

    “OC Q: Did you post that Fred Flintstone cartoon?
    ME A: The Fred Flintstone threesome? You know what? I posted that, yes. I didn’t draw it. I posted it as a link to an Internet meme, Mr. M. [OC], a funny meme.”

    Vignette #3 – “The Honey Badger Don’t Give A Shit”

    Here’s the backstory: After going Pro Se, I formed a little support group with a few other guys in the same predicament. One day I ran across the now famous “Honey Badger” YouTube Video and suggested to the gang that our approach in the courtroom should be modeled on always asking ourselves, “
    What would the Honey Badger do?” So it became a running joke and whenever one of us would do well in court, the others would proclaim that our victorious brother had given the other side the “Honey Badger Treatment”:

    Now, as luck would have it, I found a pair of boots that were made of cobra skin and actually had four cobra heads attached to them. Like totally awesome. So of course I bought them and began wearing them to every court appearance, whether or not I dressed in a suit or like a clown. They became my good luck charm, as I haven’t lost in court since I started wearing them.

    Here are the cobra boots, in all their glory (BTW, these boots would go very well with a fringed buckskin jacket!!):

    [Pic 3 Cobra Head Boots]AComedyinThreeParts4

    So after I put my buddy, affectionately referred to as the old bald-headed fart (OBHF), on the stand to testify as to what I great parent I was, since I had helped him a lot after he recovered his stolen kids, he was cross examined by opposing counsel (from the April 19, 2013 Trial Transcript):

    “OC Q: Okay. Here’s another Facebook post attributed to you. The honey badger — who is that? Who do you refer to as the honey badger?
    OBHF A: Oh, that’s just a running joke we have.
    OC Q: Who is the honey badger?
    OBHF A: The honey badger could — it could be me; it could be Mr. K; it could be the honey badger YouTube post that it references back to.
    OC Q Your post says, “The badger rips another cobra’s head off.”
    OBHF A: It’s kind of an inside joke.
    OC Q: What does that mean? Explain the joke to the Court.
    OBHF A: That means when — let’s see. How could I explain the joke to the Court? It was a very popular YouTube video where a honey badger rips cobras’ heads off, narrated by a gay gentleman that is quite humorous, in my opinion.
    OC Q: And how did it relate in this context?
    OBHF A: I believe then my reference would refer to in the context of that YouTube video that Mr. K did a good job in court, that he ripped your head off at that hearing. That would be how that is referenced.
    OC Q: Is Mr. K. wearing his cobra skin boots in court today?
    OBHF A: I love those boots. I believe so.
    OC Q: And there’s a cobra head on it?
    OBHF A: Very nice ones.”

    As I put my cobra head boots up on the counsel table, to ensure the judge could take in their true beauty . . .

      1. Wheeze the People™

        SHG left speechless?? Say it ain’t so . . . But I always suspected you had a thing for Wilma — maybe her naked beauty momentarily took your breath away?? . . .

    1. Turk

      I once fell asleep during a deposition

      Yeah, that’s fine, but what were you wearing?

      Remember, Lat, theres a Gerry Spence fringed coat on the line….

  27. Brian Tannebaum

    I was a PD.

    DUI case where the defendant ran in to a cop riding a bicycle.

    I was going to win on ID because the facts were that my client went down an alley at night. Cop said my client came back down the alley. I of course couldn’t believe that someone would come back so I flippantly asked the question:

    “How did you know it was my client that came back down the alley and not someone else?”

    “Because the alley was a dead end.”

  28. Anonsters

    I’m 18, a sophomore in college in the Deep South. I’ve always been introverted, and my first year of college didn’t do much to grow me out of that. I hate conflict, because I hate hurting people, and I’m convinced that telling someone the honest truth about what I need for my own mental health will be perceived by them as rejection of them. My strategy, then, is to disappear. Go into hiding. Not talk to anyone except to let the key folks know I’m alive. Total isolation until I’m ready to face the world again. I have maybe two friends, one of which is a a 30 year old living in the same on-campus apartment complex as me. He sells vintage toys to finance his return to education. i help out and earn a few bucks for writing up descriptions for him, talking with his customers when he’s busy, that sort of thing. I go in with him on a set of vintage Star Wars figurines (about 12″ each, so not tiny)—about $1000 I loaned him, which I had from financial aid. I’ve seen him doing his business long enough to know he knows vintage toys, so when he promises he’ll be able to turn them around for at least $2500 after some cleaning he can do himself, I believe him. He did eventually turn them around for about $2500, too, but I let him delay paying me back because he has other financial difficulties. He also has a girlfriend he picked up at the local Wal-Mart (she was a cashier there), my age. She is obnoxiously extroverted, flirts with me constantly, says she’ll sleep with me if I touch her ear because that turns her on. Real classy broad. I go nowhere near her ear. Over the course of a few months of them dating, she shows up more and more at my door at all hours, often drunk. I despise the smell of alcohol. It all comes to the breaking point. One night she shows up at my door at 2 or 3 am, saying that the boyfriend was out, and she was tired and couldn’t make it back home, so let her sleep there. Ok, ok, fine. Major intrusion on my personal space, but I’m ok with it for now because I’m going back to sleep. Until she lets it be known that she’ll be sleeping next to me in my cheap university-furnished double bed, in just panties. I snap. Being the conflict-avoiding introvert that I am, I outwardly shrug my shoulders, turn my face to the wall and try to sleep, despite her trying to provoke me (“cuddle,” “rub my back,” etc.)

    I wake up before she does. I get up and get ready for class. She wakes up maybe 30 minutes or so later. I just can’t stand looking at her anymore. I tell her that I touched her vagina while she slept. I actually thought that would get her to stay away from me, to finally leave me in peace, without at the same time actually rejecting her out-and-out. She made some typically crude remark about what a nice dream she had had and no wonder and maybe next time I’ll be considerate enough to wait until she’s awake. A few weeks pass. She’s still around. I feel totally defeated. All my stratagems have failed.

    Then one day a homicide detective calls me up and says he’s investigating a complaint that I sexually abused a female in my bed while she slept. The friend demanded she file a complaint when she told him what I had told her. He’s still on the hook to me for $1000. In time it becomes clear that he is the one driving her to persist (the detective himself told me that the boyfriend was the one pushing the complaint, that the girl sort of reluctantly went along with it). I go in, do the interview, do the follow-up interview, without representation. I didn’t actually do anything, after all, other than lie to her. I’m truly innocent, so no worries. The investigation drags on for several weeks. I desperately need a resolution, because the strain of that for an 18 year old with precarious mental health is extraordinary. I eventually do hire a lawyer after talking to the university law school’s student defense clinic. She convinces them to do a poly on me, since I had told her I was innocent (and, in fact, was). It was a voice-stress-type setup, and I’m naturally soft-spoken, so it took about three times as long as it should have. Plus I do genuinely feel like a miserable piece of shit for my brilliant strategy of lying about sexually abusing someone in order to get them to leave me alone because I don’t have the maturity or the sheer wherewithal to just say, “Go away.” I’m convinced by now that I’ve done her real psychological harm by my lie, and the guilt is tremendous. Nonetheless, I pass the VST with flying colors (having nothing to lie about now, after all). The detective says their policy is to submit the case to the grand jury if the alleged victim requests it, so that’s what they’ll do, despite the total lack of evidence of actual wrongdoing, weird behavior by the boyfriend and the alleged victim, the knowledge that the boyfriend owes me a substantial sum of money and hasn’t paid it back, and so on. My lawyer thinks we have it in the bag, it’s no problem, tells me not to worry. I worry. The night before the case is presented, at like 2 am, I call the detective, crying, asking what would happen to me if I confessed that I did it, after all. We talk for about 45 minutes. He asks me about 72 times whether I’m calling because I’m feeling guilty because I did do it, after all. And every time I tell him no, but I just can’t take this any more, I really can’t, and if confessing and facing whatever minimal consequences would end it, so be it (it was a misdemeanor they were presenting; felony sexual abuse would’ve required digital penetration, whereas I had only ever told the girl I touched her on the outside; still, I would’ve had to register as a sex offender). He finally convinces me to calm down, tells me to call my lawyer in the morning. He won’t accept a confession from someone who is simultaneously telling him he didn’t actually do the crime. Just let it go to the grand jury.

    I didn’t call the lawyer in the morning. The grand jury no-billed my case. I never talked to the detective again. I told my lawyer about the phone call in my last, “Goodbye, thanks” meeting with her. I left that meeting hastily, fearful for my safety at her hands after I tell her of that phone call.

    I later went to law school and learned how very close I came to being a sex offender registrant for the rest of my life. I’ve received appropriate mental health care, have been diagnosed, and am on therapeutic drugs. I’m functional in life, people like me, I don’t need to run away any more. I’m the most brutally honest person you’ll ever talk to, now, although I still care way too much about how what I do affects other people’s feelings.

    My greatest screwup, my worst mistake: I trusted the system. A real-life miracle: I didn’t get buried by it.

  29. Pingback: And Wearing a Fringed Buckskin Jacket Is… | Simple Justice

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