From a friend of ours in California. (Thanks for sharing, PP!)
Imagine my surprise, in the middle of a robbery trial with a pro per defendant whom none of the witnesses could identify in the courtroom, the following happened:
Q. Look around the courtroom, Mr. Roubou, and tell the jury if you see the person that came into your store with a machete and robbed you.
A. Uh-huh. I don’t — I don’t remember the face. He was a regular customer in my store but —
Q. The person that robbed you was a regular customer in your store?
Q. Look around the courtroom. Do you see that person?
A. What person?
Q. The person that came into your store with a machete and robbed you.
Q. Could you point that person out for the record, where he’s seated and what he’s wearing?
A. I’ve seen him in my store before, this guy right here.
Q. For the record, you just pointed to the court reporter.
THE COURT: I know you’re good, Mr. Reporter, but can you work that little machine in handcuffs?
Q. I mean, you’re not claiming any psychological problems from the accident, are you?
A. No. I’m probably just as crazy as before the accident.
Q. Are you joking now?
A. No. I’m being honest with you. I was insane before. I’m not going to claim insanity in any way, shape or form.
MR. KIRBY: And we aren’t going to claim you got any better.
THE WITNESS: Okay. So I was the same as I was before as I am now.
Q. One of the things I don’t like is talking objections. Lawyers sometimes suggest answers to witnesses, probably not intentionally, but sometimes unintentionally. If I think that’s going on, I may have to ask you to leave the room while we discuss it a little more further. Okay?
Q. I don’t want you to be offended by that.
A. No problem.
A. Do I have to come back in after?
Q. Yes, you have to come back in after.
A. Just joking.
MR. BROWN: Let’s go a little bit while longer and break for lunch.
THE WITNESS: You’re kidding me.
MR. BROWN: You get a lunch break.
THE WITNESS: We’re not done?
MR. BROWN: Oh, no. We’re not done. I’m very slow and ponderous.
THE WITNESS: We can just go to lunch and just finish this over lunch, couldn’t we?
Q. Do you feel you have a pretty good memory about things?
A. Sometimes he does.
Q. I’m asking about you, ma’am.
Q. Yes, ma’am.
A. Yeah. I ain’t crazy. I may be old, but I ain’t crazy.
Q. Did someone at this hospital or someone else in your background and training teach you that putting a note on the outside of the chart was an acceptable way of communicating with physicians your concerns about a patient?
MR. BROWN: Did you say “an acceptable”?
MR. GREEN: “An acceptable.”
MR. BROWN: “Unacceptable”?
MR. GREEN: No. A-N acceptable.
Q. (By Mr. Green) Is that clear?
Q. Mr. Brown got me all messed up here.
Q. Okay. Who represented the plaintiff in that case? Who was the attorney?
A. You — in this same office. Mr. Smith.
MR. BROWN: I see you smiling at that.
MS. JONES: I was going to say, “Go look it up.”
MR. BROWN: I may not have to look very far.
MS. SMITH: Is that the one on the lower left, for the record?
MR. JONES: Lower right.
THE WITNESS: The lower right.
MR. JONES: She has trouble with left and right. We missed the Wal-Mart. Who knows where we went.
MS. SMITH: You said “right.” I have in my mind “left.”
MR. JONES: I actually did get her to buy, though, so that was something.
MS. SMITH: We’ve had a bad day out there on the road today.
A. Later on in that paragraph, I think I was given maybe somewhat of a promotion. It says “associate clinical professor.”
MS. SMITH: I was trying to do my best.
A. But I think it’s “clinical instructor” last time I checked, although they could have changed it. I don’t know.
MS. SMITH: I’m going to take exception to the use of the word “all,” because it sounds like there’s a whole bunch. There hasn’t been.
MR. WILLIAMS: I’m going to take your deposition next, actually.
MS. SMITH: I think I did a pretty good job there.
MR. WILLIAMS: You did.
MR. WILLIAMS: We’ll do it at — sometime during a break or something like that, we can do it.
MS. SMITH: Make another copy of this? Is that what you want? This is a copy of it.
MR. WILLIAMS: Did you make it yourself?
MS. SMITH: Yeah. We made it here at this office. I didn’t physically go and operate the machine. I don’t do that.
Q. They are clean-water horses?
A. I think most animals prefer clean water.
Q. Have you checked with the University of Tennessee’s agricultural department on that?
A. I have not. I think there’s another expert that will probably figure that out.
Q. Who is that?
A. I don’t know.
Q. I don’t either.
MS. SMITH: We can get you some of that pond water, John, if you want to drink it.
MS. SMITH: Would you like to depose the horses?
MR. JONES: Well, he’s the expert. The horses aren’t.
MS. SMITH: I don’t really think it’s all that funny, Mr. Davis.
MR. DAVIS: I do.
MR. THOMAS: And you do too.
Q. Have you ever done a sample where you took a muddy-water pond and a clean-water pond and seen which one they went to?
MS. SMITH: That’s funny.
Q. All right. Let’s talk about motherhood. Do you value it as an institution?
A. Do I value motherhood?
Q. Yes, sir. As an economist.
A. I’m in favor of it.
MR. SMITH: You lost me. I don’t know if you lost her or not, but can you repeat that?
MR. GREEN: It doesn’t matter too much if I lose you. It matters if I lose her.
MR. SMITH: No, the party’s entitled, even if they have a dumb lawyer, to kind of work with the lawyer a little bit.
MR. GREEN: Just humor him.
Q. Did the email say anything else other than Ms. Smith passed away?
A. That we were — the lawyers were coming.
MR. BROWN: That’s like Paul Revere. You have to have humor in some of these.
(From testimony of a male witness:)
Q. Okay. How long did you and Mr. Green live together?
A. I don’t like the way that sounds.
Q. How long did you share a residence?
Q. And about what time do you recall that arrest taking place?
A. It was a little after midnight.
Q. And how do you know that it was about midnight?
A. I have a watch that I consult often.
Q. And do you consider these opinions to be final opinions?
A. Final? Sounds so final. Yes.
Q. Sometimes we have to bring things to finality.
A. Yes, yes.
Q. Is there anything that would refresh your recollection as to whether or not you were experiencing any pain at the scene?
A. A better memory.
Q. Do you know how many beds the University of Tennessee hospital has?
A. Hundreds, but I couldn’t tell you.
Q. How many hospitals are in Knoxville?
A. Probably about 14. No, probably about 10.
Q. Do you know the population of — of Knoxville?
A. Metropolitan area probably has about 750,000.
Q. Do you know the team colors of the University of Tennessee football team?
A. No. I know the — I know the Rocky Top song, though. Orange and white.
Q. The one hour you spent last night preparing for the case, you will charge 250 for that?
A. My goal here is to find out how much the lawyers are charging and charge just a little bit more.
Q. That’s a good policy.
Q. Wait a minute. Hold it. Back up. I know this court reporter is a whole lot smarter than I am, but she ain’t that smart, I can tell you. So let’s back up and —
A. It’s just — it’s a textbook of nurse anesthesia.
Q. Who wrote it again?
A. John Nagelhout and Karen Zaglaniczny.
MR. GREEN: Nagel?
THE COURT REPORTER: Nagelhout and Zaglaniczny.
MR. BROWN: She is smarter than you.
Q. Okay. You didn’t want that to be done, did you?
A. Well, they didn’t ask.
Q. I’m asking.
A. Well, I didn’t ask the question.
Q. You want me to — beg your pardon?
A. I just answered the question, no.
Q. So the answer is no?
Q. I’m sorry for laughing, but it’s funny when we try to get a record, you know, and you ask, “Is the answer no?” “Yes.”
Q. Yes, answer is no?