19 May 2006

Overheard in Court

(During a very late docket)

Lawyer: Objection! The prosecutor is leading the witness.

Judge: Counselor, it's 5:15. At this point I'm going to let anybody lead if it gets us out of here quicker.


(Abusive phone call case: pro se defendant testifying on her own behalf)

Defendant: First of all, they haven't proven that I called anyone and when I called . . .


(Judge starts to comment about how every third law in Virginia takes away operators' licenses)

No, I'm not going to say that. It's not my place to comment on the General Assembly. After all, I serve at their leisure.


(Abusive phone call case: prosecutor questioning complaining witness who filed citizen complaint - no police report to prepare case before trial)

Prosecutor: Mr. Smith tell us about the call on the 15th of April.

Mr. Smith: Well, it all started back in February . . .

Prosecutor: Tell us about the call on April the 15th.

Mr. Smith: Well, Ms. Jones called my house and started telling me about problems my wife had been in and the papers she had to prove them.

Prosecutor: Did she curse you?

Mr. Smith: No

Prosecutor: Mr. Smith, PLEASE tell me that we're not here because she called you and told you something you didn't want to hear about your wife.

Mr. Smith: Well, she hasn't called since then and I called up here to drop the charges but they told me you were the only person who could do that.

Prosecutor: Your Honor, I think that's an excellent idea.


(pretrial hearing - I have just been assigned to Client on a felony charge - the judge is setting the initial bond - I'm not supposed to have anything to do with setting that bond, if I want to argue bond I have to schedule a later bond hearing)

Judge: His bond is set at $5,000. I'm going to change that to $1,000. Madame Pre-Trial Services Officer, do you think he needs pre-trial supervision?

Pre-trial Officer: Sir, I'm not allowed to recommend pretrial services for someone who has a bond. I'd just point out that he has admitted to recent, fairly frequent use of crack cocaine.

Client: But I only smoke crack when it's inside a blunt I'm smoking . . .

Me: Mr. Smith, please wait until we've spoken before talking to the judge (the six lawyers sitting behind me all burst into laughter) . . . Your Honor, considering all the circumstances the thousand dollar bond is appropriate . . .

Judge: "Mr. Lammers, a thousand dollar bond is entirely too low. But I'm not going to go back on my word. However, I am going to order him to go to pre-trial services for drug testing until his trial date and if he fails a single drug test he's back in jail."

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