Mary Louise Gilman, editor of the National Shorthand Reporter, has collected many hilarious courtroom bloopers in two books (Humor in the Court (1977) and More Humor in the Court).
Q: ...any suggestions as to what prevented this from being a murder trial instead of an attempted murder trial?
A: The victim lived.
Q: Are you sexually active?
A: No, I just lie there.
Q: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
A: Yes, I have been since early childhood.
Q: The truth of the matter is that you were not an unbiased, objective witness, isn't it? You too were shot in the fracas?
A: No, sir. I was shot midway between the fracas and the naval.
Q: What is the meaning of sperm being present?
A: It indicates intercourse.
Q: Male sperm?
A. That is the only kind I know.
Q: (Showing man picture.) That's you?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And you were present when the picture was taken, right?
Q: Was that the same nose you broke as a child?
A: I have only one, you know.
Q: What is your relationship with the plaintiff?
A: She is my daughter.
Q: Was she your daughter on February 13, 1979?
Q: Now, you have investigated other murders, have you not, where there was a victim?
Q: ...and what did he do then?
A: He came home, and next morning he was dead.
Q: So when he woke up the next morning he was dead?
Q: Did you tell your lawyer that your husband had offered you indignities?
A: He didn't offer me nothing; he just said I could have the furniture.
Q: So, after the anesthesia, when you came out of it, what did you observe with respect to your scalp?
A: I didn't see my scalp the whole time I was in the hospital.
Q: It was covered?
A: Yes, bandaged.
Q: Then, later on.. what did you see?
A: I had a skin graft. My whole buttocks and leg were removed and put on top of my head.
Q: Could you see him from where you were standing?
A: I could see his head.
Q: And where was his head?
A: Just above his shoulders.
Q: Do you drink when you're on duty?
A: I don't drink when I'm on duty, unless I come on duty drunk.
Q. What is your brother-in-law's name?
Q. What's his first name?
A. I can't remember.
Q. He's been your brother-in-law for years, and you can't remember his first name?
A. No. I tell you I'm too excited. (Rising from the witness chair and pointing to Mr. Borofkin.) Nathan, for God's sake, tell them your first name!
Q. Did you ever stay all night with this man in New York?
A. I refuse to answer that question.
Q. Did you ever stay all night with this man in Chicago?
A. I refuse to answer that question.
Q. Did you ever stay all night with this man in Miami?
Q. Now, Mrs. Johnson, how was your first marriage terminated?
A: By death.
Q. And by whose death was it terminated?
Q: Doctor, did you say he was shot in the woods?
A. No, I said he was shot in the lumbar region.
Q. What is your name?
A. Ernestine McDowell.
Q. And what is your marital status?
Q. Are you married?
A. No, I'm divorced.
Q. And what did your husband do before you divorced him?
A. A lot of things I didn't know about.
Q: And who is this person you are speaking of?
A. My ex-widow said it.
Q: How did you happen to go to Dr. Cherney?
A. Well, a gal down the road had had several of her children by Dr. Cherney, and said he was really good.
Q: Do you know how far pregnant you are right now?
A. I will be three months November 8th.
Q. Apparently then, the date of conception was August 8th?
Q. What were you and your husband doing at that time?
Q: So, you are unconscious, and they pulled you from the bucket. What happened then?
A: Mr. Stewart gave me artificial insemination. You know, mouth to mouth.
Q: Doctor, as a result of your examination of the plaintiff, is the young lady pregnant?
A: The young lady is pregnant, but not as a result of my examination.
Q. Mrs. Smith, do you believe that you are emotionally unstable?
A: I should be.
Q: How many times have you committed suicide?
A. Four times.
Q: Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?
A. All my autopsies have been performed on dead people.
Q: Were you aquatinted with the deceased?
A: Yes, sir.
Q. Before or after he died?
Q. Officer, what led you to believe the defendant was under the influence?
A. Because he was argumentary and he couldn't pronunciate his words.
Q: What happened then?
A. He told me, he says, "I have to kill you because you can identify me."
Q. Did he kill you?
Q. Mrs. Jones, is your appearance this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
A. No. This is how I dress when I go to work.
The Court: Now, as we begin, I must ask you to banish all present information and prejudice from your minds, if you have any.
Q: Did he pick the dog up by the ears?
Q. What was he doing with the dog's ears?
A. Picking them up in the air.
Q. Where was the dog at this time?
A. Attached to the ears.
Q: How was your first marriage terminated?
A: By death.
Q: And by whose death was it terminated?
Q: Can you describe the individual?
A: He was about medium height and had a beard.
Q: Was this a male, or a female?
Q. 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?
Mr. Brooks: Objection. That question should be taken out and shot.
Q. And lastly, Gary, all your responses must be oral, O.K.? What school do you go to?
Q: How old are you?
Q: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, in most cases he just passes quietly away and doesn't know anything about it until the next morning?
Q: Was it you or your brother who was killed in the war?
Q: The youngest son, the 20 year old, how old is he?
Q: Were you alone or by yourself?
Q: How long have you been a French Canadian?
Q: Do you have any children or anything of that kind?
Q: Were you present in court this morning when you were sworn in?
Q: So you were gone until you returned?
Q: She had three children, right?
Q: How many were boys?
Q: Were there girls?
Q: You don't know what it was, and you don't know what it looked like, but can you describe it?
Q: You say that the stairs went down to the basement?
Q: And these stairs, did they go up also?
Q: Do you recall approximately the time that you examined the body of Mr. Edington at the Rose Chapel?
A: It was in the evening. The autopsy started about 8:30 p.m.
Q: And Mr. Edington was dead at the time, is that correct?
A: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy.
Q: Have you lived in this town all your life?
A: Not yet.
Q. Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
Q. Did you check for blood pressure?
Q. Did you check for breathing?
Q. So, then is it possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
Q. How can you be so sure, Doctor?
A. Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Q. But could the patient still have been alive, nevertheless?
A. It is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere.
Q: What is your date of birth?
A: July fifteenth.
Q: What year?
A: Every year.
Q: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
A: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
Q: This myasthenia gravis—does it affect your memory at all?
Q: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
A: I forget.
Q: You forget. Can you give us an example of something that you've forgotten?
Q: How old is your son—the one living with you.
A: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
Q: How long has he lived with you?
A: Forty-five years.
Q: What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke that morning?
A: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?" Q: And why did that upset you?
A: My name is Susan.
Q: And where was the location of the accident?
A: Approximately milepost 499.
Q: And where is milepost 499?
A: Probably between milepost 498 and 500.
Q: Sir, what is your IQ?
A: Well, I can see pretty well, I think.
Q: Did you blow your horn or anything?
A: After the accident?
Q: Before the accident.
A: Sure, I played for ten years. I even went to school for it.
Q: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in the voodoo or occult?
A: We both do.
A: We do.
Q: You do?
A: Yes, voodoo.
Q: Trooper, when you stopped the defendant, were your red and blue lights flashing?
Q: Did the defendant say anything when she got out of her car?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What did she say?
A: What disco am I at?
Professionals at work...
A doctor, a lawyer, and an architect were arguing about who had the smartest dog. They decided to settle the issue by getting all the dogs together and seeing whose could perform the most impressive feat. "Okay, Rover," ordered the architect, and Rover trotted over to a table and in four minutes constructed a complete scale model of a Cathedral out of toothpicks.
The architect slipped Rover a cookie, and everyone agreed that it was a pretty impressive performance. "Hit it, Spot," commanded the doctor. Spot lost no time in performing an emergency Caesarian on a cow. Three minutes later the proud mother of a healthy little heifer was all sewed up and doing fine. Not bad, conceded the onlookers, and Spot got a cookie from the doctor.
"Your turn, Fella," said the lawyer. Over went Fella, humped the other two dogs, took their cookies, and went out to lunch.
A lawyer who works in Texas gets a call about an emergency which requires him to immediately fly out of the state for a short period of time. He has no time to pack, so he calls home to tell his wife he is going. The maid answers the call, but is quite hesitant about putting his wife on the phone. After quite a bit of interrogation, she admits that the wife is upstairs in bed with the mailman! The lawyer is furious, and wants to rush right home, but of course there is this emergency he must take care of.
So instead, he tells the maid to go get the gun from the desk drawer and kill both his wife and the mailman. She protests! The lawyer explains that under Texas law it is legal to kill your adulterous wife and her lover. Using his silver tongue, he finally convinces her to do it. She puts down the phone, and soon the lawyer hears the sound of two gun shots, a scream, some loud thumps, and finally, two splashes. The maid comes back to the phone.
The lawyer asks, "Did you kill them?" "Yes," she replies.
The lawyer questions her again, "What did you do with the bodies?" "I threw them in the pool," she responds.
There is a brief pause from the lawyer. He asks her, "Did you say the pool?" "Yes! I threw them in the pool!" she says.
"Uh, is this 512-8234?"
Lawyer and a blonde
A lawyer and a blonde are sitting next to each other on a long flight from LA to NY. The lawyer leans over to her and asks if she would like to play a fun game. The blonde just wants to take a nap, so she politely declines and rolls over to the window to catch a few winks.
The lawyer persists and explains that the game is really easy and a lot of fun. He explains "I ask you a question, and if you don't know the answer, you pay me $5, and vice-versa." Again, she politely declines and tries to get some sleep.
The lawyer, now somewhat agitated, says, "Okay, if you don't know the answer you pay me $5, and if I don't know the answer, I will pay you $50!" figuring that since she is a blonde that he will easily win the match. This catches the blonde's attention and, figuring that there will be no end to this torment unless she plays, agrees to the game. The lawyer asks the first question. "What's the distance from the Earth to the moon?" The blonde doesn't say a word, reaches in to her purse, pulls out a five-dollar bill and hands it to the lawyer.
Now, it's the blonde's turn. She asks the lawyer: "What goes up a hill with three legs, and comes down with four?" The lawyer looks at her with a puzzled look. He takes out his laptop computer and searches all his references. He taps into the Airphone with his modem and searches the Net and the Library of Congress. Frustrated, he sends E-mails to all his coworkers and friends he knows. All to no avail. After over an hour, he wakes the blonde and hands her $50. The blonde politely takes the $50 and turns away to get back to sleep.
The lawyer, who is more than a little miffed, wakes the blonde and asks, "Well, so what IS the answer!?" Without a word, the blonde reaches into her purse, hands the lawyer $5, and goes back to sleep.
From an actual trial in the UK
A young woman who was several months pregnant boarded a bus. When she noticed a young man smiling at her she began feeling humiliated on account of her condition. She changed her seat and he seemed more amused. She moved again and then on her fourth move he burst out laughing. She had him arrested.
When the case came before the court, the young man was asked why he acted in such a manner. His reply was:
When the lady boarded the bus I couldn't help noticing she was pregnant. She sat under an advertisement which read "Coming Soon: The Gold Dust Twins", then she moved under one that read "Sloans Liniments remove swelling." I was even more amused when she sat under a shaving advertisement which read "William's Stick Did The Trick". Then I could not control myself any longer when on the fourth move she sat under an advertisement which read "Dunlop Rubber would have prevented this accident." The case was dismissed.
A lawyer got married to a woman who had previously been married 12 times. On their wedding night, they settled into the bridal suite at their hotel and the bride said to her new groom, "Please, promise to be gentle. I am still a virgin." This puzzled the groom, since after 12 marriages, he thought that at least one of her husbands would have been able to perform. He asked his new bride to explain the phenomenon.
She responded: "My first husband was a Sales Representative who spent our entire marriage telling me, in grandiose terms, 'It's gonna be great!'
My second husband was from Software Services; he was never quite sure how it was supposed to function, but he said he would send me documentation.
My third husband was from Field Services and constantly said that everything was diagnostically OK, but he just couldn't get the system up.
My fourth husband was from Educational Services, and he simply said, 'Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.'
My fifth husband was from the Telemarketing Department and said that he had the orders, but he wasn't quite sure when he was going to be able to deliver.
My sixth husband was an Engineer. He told me that he understood the basic process but needed three years to research, implement, and design a new state-of-the-art method.
My seventh husband was from Finance and Administration. His comments were that he knew how, but he just wasn't sure whether it was his job.
My eighth husband was from Standards and Regulations and told me that he was up to the standards but that regulations said nothing about how to do it.
My ninth husband was a Marketing Manager. He said, 'I know I have the product. I'm just not sure how to position it.'
My tenth husband was a psychiatrist, and all he ever wanted to do was talk about it.
My eleventh husband was a gynecologist, and all he ever wanted to do was look at it.
My twelfth husband was a stamp collector, and all he ever wanted to do was ... God I miss him!
So now I have married a lawyer, so I know I'm going to get screwed."
A man goes into a pet shop to buy a parrot. The shop owner points to three identical-looking parrots on a perch and says, "The parrot on the left costs $500."
"Why does the parrot cost so much?" asks the customer.
The owner says "Well, the parrot knows how to do legal research."
The customer then asks about the next parrot, to be told that this one costs $1,000 because it can do everything the other parrot can do plus it knows how to write a brief that will win any case.
Naturally, the increasingly startled customer asks about the third parrot, to be told that it costs $4,000. Needless to say, this begs the question, "What can it do?" To which the owner replies, "To be honest, I've never seen him do a darn thing, but the other two call him Senior Partner."
A guy walks into a post office one day to see a middle-aged, balding man standing at the counter methodically placing "Love" stamps on bright pink envelopes with hearts all over them. He then takes out a perfume bottle and starts spraying scent all over them.
His curiosity getting the better of him, he goes up to the balding man and asks him what he is doing.
The man says "I'm sending out 1,000 Valentine cards signed, 'Guess who?'"
"But why?" asks the man.
"I'm a divorce lawyer," the man replies.
What do lawyers use for birth control?
What is the difference between a tick and a lawyer?
A tick falls off of you when you die.
Why does the law society prohibit sex between lawyers and their clients?
To prevent clients from being billed twice for what is essentially the same service.
What do you have when 100 lawyers are buried up to their neck in sand?
Not enough sand.
What's the difference between a dead skunk in the road and a dead lawyer in the middle of the road?
There are skid marks in front of the skunk.
What is black and brown and looks good on a lawyer?
What is black and brown, with blood all over him, but looks really good?
A Doberman attacking a lawyer.
Why are lawyers like nuclear weapons?
If one side has one, the other side has to get one. Once launched, they cannot be recalled. When they land, they screw up everything forever.
What do lawyers and sperm have in common?
One in 3,000,000 has a chance of becoming a human being.
Did you hear that the Post Office just recalled their latest stamps?
They had pictures of lawyers on them ...and people couldn't figure
out which side to spit on.
A man is innocent until proven broke.
What's the difference between a female lawyer and a pit bull?
What do you call 20 lawyers skydiving from an airplane?
What do you get when you cross a bad politician with a crooked lawyer?
If you see a lawyer on a bicycle, why should you swerve to avoid hitting him?
It might be your bicycle.
Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, an honest lawyer and an old drunk are walking down the street together when they simultaneously spot a hundred dollar bill. Who gets it?
The old drunk, of course; the other three are mythical creatures.
It was so cold last winter ... (How cold was it?)
... I saw a lawyer with his hands in his own pockets.
A man walked into a lawyer's office and inquired about the lawyer's rates.
"$50.00 for three questions", replied the lawyer.
"Isn't that awfully steep?" asked the man.
"Yes," the lawyer replied, "and what was your third question?"
You're trapped in a room with a tiger, a rattlesnake and a lawyer. You have a gun with two bullets. What should you do?
You shoot the lawyer. Twice.
Do you know what happens when a lawyer takes Viagra?
He gets taller.
Wall between heaven and hell
St. Peter and Satan were talking one day discussing who had made the big hole in the wall between heaven and hell. Satan swore that he did not know anything about it. St. Peter said that one of Satan's people must have done it, as surely no one from heaven would be trying to get into hell.
St. Peter told Satan that Satan should pay for the repair.
Satan said, "Wait a minute. You're jumping to conclusions here. I will pay for half, you can pay for half." St. Peter said, "That's not good enough. I will see you in court." Satan said, "Yeah, right. . .. Where are you going to get an attorney?"
A woman and her little girl were visiting the grave of the little girl's grandmother. On their way through the cemetery back to the car, the little girl asked, "Mommy, do they ever bury two people in the same grave?"
"Of course not, dear," replied the mother, "Why would you think that?"
"The tombstone back there said 'Here lies a lawyer and an honest man.'"
Two attorneys and an accountant
Two attorneys boarded a flight out of Seattle. One sat in the window seat, the other sat in the middle seat. Just before take-off, an accountant got on and took the aisle seat next to the two attorneys. The accountant kicked off his shoes, wiggled his toes and was settling in when the attorney in the window seat said, "I think I will get up and get a coke."
"No problem," said the accountant. "I'll get it for you."
While he was gone, one of the attorneys picked up one of the accountant's shoes and spat in it. When the accountant returned with the coke the other attorney said, "that looks good, I think I'll have one too."
Again, the accountant obligingly went to fetch the coke. While he was gone, the other attorney picked up the other shoe and spat in it. The accountant returned and they all sat back and enjoyed the flight.
As the plane was landing, the accountant slipped his feet into his shoes and knew immediately what had happened. "How long must this go on?" asked the accountant. "This fighting between our professions? This hatred? This animosity? This spitting in shoes and p*ssing in cokes?"