A2Yesterday, I ran into Bert King. He’s my adversarial friend—a defense lawyer with an honest, ethical, and realistic streak. Bert and I stood on the street and bullshitted. Here were two old guys reminiscing old times—who’s still in jail, who made parole—bitching about a stupidly screwed system and the hopelessly dysfunctional new breed of cops and counsels. Then our stuff turned to hilarious things we’d seen and heard within the hallowed halls of honor.

A3One of the great moments took place in our city’s old courthouse. It’s a beautiful stone building with maple woodwork and regal red carpeting. It was a hot summer day and the sheriff nodded off during a jury trial. He snapped awake, then gawked—the prisoner dock was vacant. “M’Lord!” he exclaimed. “The prisoner has escaped!” “Relax, Mister Sheriff,” the judge replied. “The accused has been testifying on his own behalf for the past twenty minutes.”

A5Then there was the time I was on the stand during one of the most vicious double murder trials of my career. I was under cross-examination by this big-shot, downtown lawyer who was grandstanding—waving his hands like a traffic cop on meth. Smack! He whacked his water pitcher, dumping the jug over his files and down the front of his pants. The guy looked like he’d been caught with porn. He stared open-mouthed as Kay, our wonderful sheriff, calmly got up, grasped a roll of paper towels, and purposely approached the spill. The mouthpiece looked mighty relieved. Then Kay stopped. Kay winked at the jury and she handed Mr. Barrister the roll.

A6I’ve seen melt-downs and make-ups, mockeries and manhandlings in the courtroom. I’ve heard a judge slurring words, seen a prosecutor quit, a clerk split his pants, and an accused do an impressive stand-up routine. I’ve seen and heard some crazy, funny things in that public place of prosecution and protection of personal rightsit’s not all pomp and pious.

So, I thought I’d lighten up the DyingWords blog this weekend and share some legalese gems I’ve dug up. Here are whacky words from wonderful wizards of warranted wisdom.

— — 

Judge addressing the jury: “Now, as we begin, I must ask you to banish all present information and prejudice from your minds, if you have any.”

— — 

  • Lawyer: “Now sir, I’m sure you are an intelligent and honest man.”
  • Witness: “Thank you. If I weren’t under oath, I’d return the compliment.”

— — 

  • Lawyer: “This myasthenia gravis…does it affect your memory at all?
  • Witness: “Yes.”
  • Lawyer: “And in what ways does it affect your memory?
  • Witness: “I forget.”
  • Lawyer: “You forget. Can you give us an example of something you’ve forgotten?

— — 

  • Lawyer: “Doctor, did you say he was shot in the woods?
  • Witness: “No, I said he was shot in the lumbar region.”

— — 

  • Lawyer: “Do you know how far pregnant you are now?
  • Witness: “I’ll be three months on November 8.”
  • Lawyer: “Apparently, then, the date of conception was August 8?
  • Witness: “Yes.”
  • Lawyer: “And what were you doing at that time?

— — 

  • Lawyer: “Have you lived in this town all your life?
  • Witness: “Not yet.”

— — 

  • Lawyer: “So, after the anesthesia, when you came out of it, what did you observe with respect to your scalp?
  • Witness: “I didn’t see my scalp the whole time I was in the hospital.”
  • Lawyer: “It was covered?
  • Witness: “Yes, bandaged.”
  • Lawyer: “Then, later on…what did you see?
  • Witness: “I had a skin graft. My whole buttocks and leg were removed and put on top of my head.”

— — 

Lawyer: (realizing he was on the verge of asking a stupid question) “Your Honor, I’d like to strike the next question.

— — 

  • Lawyer: “You say that the stairs went down to the basement?
  • Witness: “Yes.”
  • Lawyer: “And these stairs, did they also go up?

— — 

Judge addressing the accused: “How do you plea before I find you guilty?

— — 

  • Lawyer: “Now, do you know if your daughter has been involved in voodoo?
  • Witness: “We both do.”
  • Lawyer: “Voodoo?
  • Witness: “We do.”
  • Lawyer: “You do?
  • Witness: “Yes, voodoo.”
  • Lawyer: “Who do…you do…voodoo…I seem to be confused…

— — 

  • Lawyer: “Did he pick the dog up by the ears?
  • Witness: “No.”
  • Lawyer: “What was he doing with the dog’s ears?
  • Witness: “Picking them up in the air.”
  • Lawyer: “Where was the dog at this time?
  • Witness: “Attached to the ears.”

— — 

  • Lawyer: “Now, sir, what is your marital status?
  • Witness: “I’d say fair.”

— — 

  • Lawyer: “Are you married?
  • Witness: “No, I’m divorced.”
  • Lawyer: “And what did your husband do before you divorced him?
  • Witness: “Apparently a lot of things I didn’t know about.”

— — 

Lawyer: “You don’t know what it was, and you didn’t know what it looked like, but can you describe it?

— — 

  • Lawyer: “What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke that morning?
  • Witness: “He said, ‘Where am I, Cathy?‘”
  • Lawyer: “And why did that upset you?
  • Witness: “My name is Susan.”

— — 

  • Lawyer: “Sir, what is your IQ?
  • Witness: “Well, I can see pretty well, I think.”

— — 

  • Lawyer: “When he went, had you gone and had she, if she wanted to and were able, for the time being excluding all the restraints on her not to go, gone also, would he have brought you, meaning you and she, with him to the station?
  • Other Lawyer: “Objection. That question should be taken out and shot.”

— — 

  • Lawyer: “What happened then?
  • Witness: “He told me, he says, ‘I have to kill you because you can identify me.'”
  • Lawyer: “And did he kill you?
  • Witness: “No, he did not.”

— — 

  • Lawyer: “Now, Doctor. Isn’t it true that when a person dies in their sleep they wouldn’t know anything about it until the next morning?
  • Witness: “Did you actually pass the bar exam?

— — 

And no lawyer post would be complete without a lawyer joke.

A7A Mafia Don discovers his bookkeeper ripped him for ten million bucks. His bookkeeper’s deaf—that was the reason he got the job in the first place—the Mafioso assumed a deaf bookkeeper wouldn’t hear anything that he might have to testify about in court. So when the Don goes to confront the bookkeeper about his missing $10 million, he brings along his lawyer, who knows sign language.

The Don tells the lawyer, “Ask him where the 10 million bucks he embezzled from me is.”

The lawyer, using sign language, asks the bookkeeper where the money is.

The bookkeeper signs back, “Don’t know what you are talking about.”

The lawyer tells the Don, “He says he doesn’t know anything about what you’re talking about.”

The Don pulls out a handgun, puts it the bookkeeper’s temple, and says, “Ask him again.

The lawyer signs to the bookkeeper, “He’ll kill you if you don’t say.”

The bookkeeper signs back, “Enough! Money’s in a brown briefcase, buried behind the shed in my cousin Enzo’s backyard in Queens!

The Don asks the lawyer, “Well, what’d he say?

The lawyer replies, “He says you don’t have the balls to pull the trigger.”


— — 

UnderTheGround8I’m promoting a book this weekend. Under The Ground is my new psychological crime thriller based on the true story of an undercover operation done on a guy who murdered his girlfriend and hid her body. He confessed to the u/c operator and turned over the body. What he’d done and where he’d put her was shocking, as was the psychological manipulation done to trick his confession.

Yesterday, Under The Ground hit the #1 spot on Amazon in the Crime-Murder category. Get a FREE Kindle copy of Under The Ground at:    Click Here


  1. Sue Coletta

    “And did he kill you?”
    “No, he did not.”
    You can’t make this stuff up!
    I saw this post while I was away, but only got to read the beginning before class. I’m so glad I remembered when I got home. So funny!!!!

  2. Elizabeth

    Love the Mafia joke but lithely were all hilarious. I have never been able to retain jokes long enough in my memory to repeat them but I do enjoy a good laugh!

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      Happy to put a smile on you, Elizabeth. Actually, I’ve worked with a lot of lawyers over the years and the vast majority are very intelligent, decent, and ethical people. But I still love making fun of them 🙂

  3. Lenn Lockwood

    My partner was in court. He was being questioned on caliber of the chr are terrible of a fellow officer.the attorney was quite the smart ass.
    The asked my friend do trust your fellow officers.

    Correct,with my life he ansered.
    If that’s so, why do you have locks on your lockers?
    Weeeeeell,we share space with court. Lawyers have known to walk thru our locker rooms was my friends response.

  4. Tom Saine

    Some of this stuff is hilarious—great post.
    I had an idea that might go along with your funny things happening in a courtroom.
    Suppose a witness is being sworn-in, but when asked if he swears to tell the truth he responds with: “No, none of the other witness have told the truth, here today, why should I.”
    Looks like the basis for a story, or at least a scene in a book. I’d write it myself, but I’m not at all familier with court rooms, other than your blog and watching Perry Mason at late-night on TV.
    Thanks for the laugh. 😉

      1. Tom Saine

        Like I said, I’m not a lawyer, no nothing about court room procedures. Don’t know what would happen if a witness did so swear.
        You are free to use the idea, but let me know if you do. I’d like to read about it.
        Thanks again LOL


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