When reading judicial rulings, lawyers will snort into chuckles, but that is seldom the true intent of the author.
However, judges often try to shake off the seriousness hanging over those black robes and dispense stern judgments to prove that the law can actually be enjoyable.
(Anyway, for them. I doubt that the losing party ever sees in opinions anything funny.).
Judges also attempt to shake up the format of their views with some amusing outcomes, in addition to satire and puns. Judges will try everything from poetry to detective fiction to let their artistic side out while writing their judgments.
But here it is, the list of the top ten funny, eccentric or outright strange judicial decisions by Courtside:
- Judge wrote opinion in verse (responding to an attorney’s memo in verse).
Counsel having had his say,
Would seem to say: “New trial, no way.”
Forthright counsel I commend
For bringing this appeal to end.
He has served his client well:
A worthless issue would not sell.
Dropping his quixotic quest
Serves his client’s interests best.
To press a cause of rank frivolity
Would not fill this court with jollity.
Though counsel was a courtroom terror,
He could not seed the case with error;
So nothing now could be much grander
Than witnessing his posttrial candor.
Lawyers tend to look facetious,
Pressing issues merely specious.
Frank candor sure beats false bravado,
Defending Claudio Rosado.
This is how I see the moral:
Instead of never-ending quarrel,
A broken record, crying “foul”,
It’s sometimes best to throw the towel.
Thus, before the bar of court
This defendant must report.
He shall have to do his time,
For punishment must fit the crime.
And that will have to end this rhyme.
Shafer v. Commander, Army and Air Force Exchange Service, 667 F. Supp. 414 (N.D. Tex. 1985)
2. Avista Management v. Wausau Underwriters Insurance (M.D. Fla, 2006). If only all discovery disputes could be resolved this way:
“[T]he Court will fashion a new form of alternative dispute resolution, to wit: at 4:00 P.M. on Friday, June 30, 2006, counsel shall convene at a neutral site agreeable to both parties. If counsel cannot agree on a neutral site, they shall meet on the front steps of the [Courthouse]. Each lawyer shall be entitled to be accompanied by one paralegal who shall act as an attendant and witness. At that time and location, counsel shall engage in one (1) game of ‘rock, paper, scissors.’ The winner of this engagement shall be entitled to select the location for the 30(b)(6) deposition to be held somewhere in Hillsborough County during the period July 11-12, 2006.”
3. Helton v. State, 311 So. 2d 381 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1975). Opinion recites the prosecuting attorney’s closing argument – a parody on ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas:
The proffered evidence showed that the jailer at the Detention Center gave vodka to the inmates on the night of the escape. The effect of the inebriating beverage on the appellant and his fellow inmates was colorfully portrayed by defense counsel in closing argument to the jury as follows:
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the jail
Not an inmate was stirring, they couldn’t make bail.
The stockings were hung by the cell door with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas would soon be there:
The inmates were huddled alone in their beds
While visions of freedom danced in their heads
And guards in their uniforms and John in his rack
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,
When up on the roof there arose such a clatter,
John sprang from his bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window he flew like a flash,
Tore open the cell door and threw up the sash.
When what to his wondering eyes should appear
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick
He knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his courses they came,
And he whistled and shouted, and called them by name:
Now, Macquire, now Bass, now Fillingame, Newman,
On, Ingram, on Suggs, on Crosby, and Helton.
To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall
Now dash away, dash away, dash away all.’
4. In People VS Madridano G.R. No. L-93435 October 22, 1993 the Supreme Court said, “The phallus is not a battering ram breaking down the gates of chastity. Like the gallant lover, it may enter the lady’s chamber only upon invitation and consent.
5. Porreco v. Porreco, 811 A.2d 566 (Pa. 2002) (Eakin, J., dissenting). Case told of a funny prenuptial agreement and a cubic zirconium engagement ring. Judge Eakin wrote his dissent in verse, causing his brethren to write concurring opinions questioning the prudence of writing an opinion in rhyme.
A groom must expect matrimonial pandemonium
when his spouse finds he’s given her a cubic zirconium
instead of a diamond in her engagement band,
the one he said was worth twenty-one grand.
Our deceiver would claim that when his bride relied
on his claim of value, she was not justified
for she should have appraised it; and surely she could have,
but the question is whether a bride-to-be would have.
The realities of the parties control the equation,
and here they’re not comparable in sophistication;
the reasonableness of her reliance we just cannot gauge
with a yardstick of equal experience and age.
This must be remembered when applying the test
by which the “reasonable fiance” is assessed.
She was 19, he was nearly 30 years older;
was it unreasonable for her to believe what he told her?
6. People vs Salinas (1994) “Bombardment of the drawbridge is invasion enough even if the troops do not succeed in entering the castle.”
7. Antonio v. Reyes, G.R. No. 155800, March 10, 2006 “Statistics never lie, but lovers often do, quipped a sage. This sad truth has unsettled many a love transformed into matrimony. Any sort of deception between spouses, no matter the gravity, is always disquieting.”
8. Palaganas v. People, G.R. No. 165483, 12 September 2006 “For what is a man, what has he got?If not himself, then he has naught.To say the things he truly feels;And not the words of one who kneels.The record shows I took the blows -And did it my way!”The song evokes the bitterest passions. This is not the first time the song “My Way” has triggered violent behavior resulting in people coming to blows. In the case at bar, the few lines of the song depicted what came to pass when the victims and the aggressors tried to outdo each other in their rendition of the song.
9. Wolff v. New Hampshire Dep’t of Corrections, 06-cv-321-PB (D.N.H. 2007). When the plaintiff filed a hard-boiled egg as part of his request for a preliminary injunction, Magistrate Judge James R. Muirhead, replied Seussilly:
No fan I am
Of the egg at hand.
Just like no ham
On the kosher plan.
This egg will rot
I kid you not.
And stink it can
This egg at hand.
There will be no eggs at court
To prove a clog in your aort.
There will be no eggs accepted.
Objections all will be rejected.
From this day forth
This court will ban
Hard-boiled eggs of any brand.
And if you should not understand
The meaning of the ban at hand
Then you should contact either Dan,
the Deputy Clerk, or my clerk Jan.
I do not like eggs in the file.
I do not like them in any style.
I will not take them fried or boiled.
I will not take them poached or broiled.
I will not take them soft or scrambled
Despite an argument well-rambled.
No fan I am
Of the egg at hand.
Destroy that egg!
Today I say! Without delay!
10. And my absolute favorite by a friend of Mom’s “This appeal lacks appeal”- Supreme Court Justice Isagani Cruz