Anne Squared

Life filtered through the lens of an INTJ, Mom, and healthcare professional.

Court Reporter (WARNING – HUMOR)

The United States legal system is the full interconnected system of judicial, regulatory and governmental authorities who together administer and enforce the laws of the United States, operate the judicial system, and resolve judicial disputes and appeals. (Wikipedia) (Note: If I ever use Wikipedia as a reference or source, I am not too serious about my topic. This is a first for me.) There are rules and roles that the players must follow.

Everyone is serious in court. It is a place of quiet, order and respect. If someone gets out of hand, the Boss bangs the gavel and shouts “Order in the Court” or “Bailiff, clear the courtroom” and “If you dare act like that again, I will find you in contempt and charge you $200 and a Happy Meal.”

Happy Meal!

Happy Meal! (Photo credit: HelloMokona)

Have you ever wondered, though, about the Court Reporter? The silent observer, recording every single word, pause, noise, in order to make a legal transcription of the proceedings. A huge responsibility.

Following are some quotes taken from actual court records. I wonder how these professionals keep a straight face as they record some of these answers. (Even seasoned trauma professionals sometimes balance the tension with off-beat and dark humor.) Here are some choice quotes from real documents:

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, ‘Where am I, Cathy?’
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan!
ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No, I just lie there.
ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?
WITNESS: July 18th.
ATTORNEY: What year?
WITNESS: Every year.
ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?
WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can’t remember which.
ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?
WITNESS: Forty-five years.
ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn’t know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: He’s 20, much like your IQ.
ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Are you shitting me?
ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Getting laid
ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Take a guess.
ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I’m going with male.
ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.
ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 PM
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished.
ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS: Are you qualified to ask that question?
ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

(From: Disorder in the Court: Great Fractured Moments in Courtroom History, by Charles M. Sevilla)

A special thanks to a several of my “twisted sisters” who all sent me copies of this on FB today – thus solving my dilemma of “occupation” and my need for light and laughter.  xox.

Edited: Sept. 8, 2013 for submission to:

yeah write weekly writing challenge #125 Moonshine

Badge added, content unchanged. Title Changed: Omitted words “Word of the Week Challenge:” This was originally published in response to a challenge on “workers”.

Categories: Humor - I like irony, puns and dark side humor.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

51 replies

  1. I am very glad that you stopped by my blog. Otherwise, another day or more would have gone by before I had tears streaming down my eyes, as I gulped down each quip above, reading more slowly than I’d like so I don’t miss any punch lines. Oh, what a collection!

    I suggest that this be recommended reading for anyone who must testify but is feeling intimidated by the idea.

    Thank you for finding me so I could find this post 🙂

    • So glad you enjoyed it 🙂 I revisit it on occasion and find myself lmao at the Q and A. I had an experience that could have made the book the one time I sat on a jury…I think I am not called back because of what happened after the incident. Heck, I was just trying to clarify the situation.

  2. I hope that I won’t embarrass myself by asking such a stupid question in court someday, especially when the witnesses are that sharp! hahaha! LOVE IT!

    • Are you one of “them”? lol
      Afraid my son will be joining the ranks.
      Thank you for reading and commenting. 🙂

      • I am about 6 months away from being one of “them” I’m afraid! Well, your son is most welcome to join “our” ranks. lol

        • I know a lot of hard work goes into making a good lawyer. And just like any other profession, you can only learn so much in school – good luck with finishing your coursework and the bar. My son took the LSAT last week. – I thought he had another year of undergrad left, but he decided to graduate in Dec…
          He thinks he can keep his hands “clean” by going into corporate law. heehee.

          Truth be told, I was tempted to add a law degree to the MPH because no one in law wanted to touch PH and no one in PH wanted to interpret the code/law. We had a dual degree program for a short time, but there wasn’t much interest (ok, just people like me – few and far between.) But the need has been recognized and some of the law schools are setting up Public Health Law centers to assist with issues – awesome.

          And, being an INTJ, when I see stuff in court (operating room, classroom, – I don’t discriminate) where obvious errors are made – I’m inclined to want to fix the system.

          Have you chosen a focus for practice yet?

  3. Great stuff! I laughed so hard all I could do was lay down before I fell down.

  4. “All of your responses must be oral …” Priceless. Probably not the sort of thing one should read at work, even though it is my lunch “break.” The post makes me wonder about the transcript of a case I once saw, when the judge nearly came over his desk to attack the defendant. In recess, I’m told the attorneys in the room had to pull him back, as he tried to jump the table and strangle the witness. Good day to be a news reporter. 😉

    • Yah, that was a good one! I don’t know how the court reporters document a disruption or action…
      Makes you wonder why news reporters don’t just report the facts – things are rather bizarre in the real world, imo.

  5. I would put them in the category of people who see the gritty aspects of life and approach life with a sense of (dark) humor. I bond well with these people, but not with cops, soldiers, EMTs, etc. who let their experiences negatively affect them. My 1st book has a chapter that features a flashback to a small class of nurses I taught who were firmly in the latter category. It’s called “You Cannot Be Serious.”

    • Good observation about how people cope with their experiences in chosen professions. (I guess with soldiers, “chosen” is not always applicable.) Do you think that “dark humor” is a defense mechanism?

      • Sometimes. It depends. The 1st thing that comes to mind in response to your ? is how many comedians had messed up childhoods, some of whom used humor in general as a way to not get beaten up.

        I started blogging b/c lit agents want a social media presence. I want to refer them to the blog to show that I have that, as well as providing a snapshot of my humor, which is occasionally dark. I find myself wanting to create another blog for some of the really twisted or sick humor that I can only send to my friends. On the blog I have going now, I want to be just a little risque, but there are some topics/jokes where I find it prudent to exercise humorous restraint.

  6. Thank you for reminding me that A Word a Week doesn’t have to be photographs only. My first entry included a poem I created and some photographs. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your entry. Well done!

    • Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your feedback on the use of words instead of visuals. My brain is not “picturesque” – and I forget to bring the camera much of the time. 🙂

  7. Reblogged this on But Mostly Hers and commented:
    Please be ready to grab the tissues to wipe the tears from laughing so much!

  8. Brilliant post …. thanks for the big smile.

  9. These are hysterical, but I’m not sure how I would react on the witness stand to some of these questions!

    • Well, are you and ITNJ/P? While I don’t have a witness story, I have been in the courtroom twice by “invitation” and have decided I will tell the tales. I will have to take a bit of time to write part II out because that involves a 3rd time I was there uninvited. 😉

      Thanks for reading and I’m glad you enjoyed the funny stuff.

  10. That was lovely!

    If your son becomes a lawyer and has to handle one of the denser occupants of the bench he might like to bear in mind the phrase used by an English barrister…….

    ‘If Your Lordship would be pleased to turn it over in what Your Lordship is pleased to call Your Lordship’s brain…’

    • Thank you, Helen. And thank you for the words of wisdom to pass along to my son. Considering he inherited my, er, ability to get to the heart of the matter, I believe he will be a bit more exacting than most.

  11. You know, I think I may have read these before but I laughed just as loud! Thanks for the day-brightener!!

    • Thanks for stopping by and enjoying the “re-runs” then. Please tell me that this time around the dry, formal introduction to the US legal system and McD’s Happy Meal picture were new additions..??!

      Stay tuned – I may have to reveal – with a few adjustments to protect the innocent – my own experiences in the courtroom where my objective observations (as a trained researcher) recorded the same behavior (as above) by at least one officer of the court (hmm…) 50% of the time. OK – 2 visits. Not a valid sample size.

      But then why do reporters (not all, perhaps the non-good or poorly trained) ones use information like that?

  12. I do not know about the Court Reporter, but I would say that being a witness with such an attorney must be terrible!!!
    I am sure that happens not because they are a bit…but because they do not listen at all…They have some questions to ask and do not care about the answers (hope it happens only sometimes!)
    Great post! Thanks for sharing it!

    • Thanks for reading and enjoying it! 🙂

      I will make an attempt to be politically correct and non-INTJ (the emerging main theme of my blog) but there are good and “non-good” in every profession. (How is that?) I have been in a courtroom twice by “invitation.” One time, the entire case proceeding should have landed in book. I am glad to say I was on the jury.

  13. This was a great laugh. Thank you for brightening up my evening!

    • You are half a world away! Glad you enjoyed it – my blog needed some laughter and I reread this for the 4th time last night – sent by yet another sister – and it was still funny. 🙂

  14. I am still laughing. What a great way to wake up. Thanks.

  15. I laugh each time I read it – so glad you started out your day with laughter! 🙂

  16. This is so funny, it is very early in the morning and everyone must still be sleeping and am laughing so hard. Thank you!

  17. Very funny, I laughed my way through the list!

  18. It’s hard to believe that people could be so stupid…but this was a very entertaining post.

    • People are told to respond only to the question asked…and most of them answered the question posed to them. My son is planning to attend law school. Let’s hope he is not quoted in a later version of Mr. Sevilla’s book. 🙂

  19. Reblogged this on A Word in Your Ear and commented:


  1. It is Good to Laugh – Court Reporter (WARNING – HUMOR) | Tidbits n Treasures
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