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VOL. 36 | NO. 37 | Friday, September 14, 2012

Lawyers not immune to courtroom confusion

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Thanks for the cards and letters regarding how much you enjoyed the past few weeks’ return to our roots – our roots being quotations from “the record,” that large, vague compendium of things people have actually said or written in court proceedings.

To the question that I’m repeatedly asked: “Yes! They actually did say that.” This week, we’ll give things a bit of a twist. These are words uttered by lawyers themselves – usually after an answer given by a witness and, perhaps, while not fully processing the words they heard:

Q: What is your relationship to Darrell?

A: I’m his mother.

Q: And you have been all his life?

•••

Q: I’m going to show you what’s been marked as State’s Exhibit 2. Do you recognize this picture?

A: John Fletcher. That’s me.

Q: This is you?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: Were you present when the picture was taken?

•••

Q: When was your son born?

A: 1956.

Q: Was this before or after your hysterectomy?

•••

Q: Where did you have sexual relations with this woman?

A: In my pickup truck.

Q: Were you parked?

•••

Q: What else did they take x-rays of? Other than your knees and your heads?

A: Heads?

Q: Your head. Excuse me. You have only one head, correct?

•••

Q: How long have you lived in this town?

A: All my life.

Q: And where did you live before that?

•••

Q: Were you the daughter of the late W.T. Vandergrift?

A: Yes, I was.

Q: In what capacity?

•••

Q: Where were you born?

A: Memphis, Texas.

Q: When?

A: August 20, 1953

Q: Did you live in Memphis? Or did you just go there to be born?

•••

Q: How far pregnant are you?

A: I will be three months on Nov. 8th.

Q: Apparently the date of conception was August 8th?

A: Yes.

Q: What were you and your husband doing at that time?

•••

Q: You’ve testified that Cecil is dead?

A: Yes. He died this year in March or April.

Q: So, he’s not available to testify in this hearing, is that right?

Vic Fleming is a district court judge in Little Rock, Ark., where he also teaches at the William H. Bowen School of Law. Contact him at vicfleming@att.net.

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