Wednesday, December 07, 2005

From Actual Court Records

This was on my calendar the other day:
Lawyer: Did you actually see the accident?
Witness: Yes, sir.
Lawyer: How far away were you when the accident happened?
Witness: Thirty-one feet, six and one-quarter inches.
The lawyer is trying to undermine the witness’s credibility by attacking his capacity to see the accident, like when you ask the witness whether they were wearing their glasses. At this point, of course, the lawyer thinks he has the witness trapped into backing up a bizarrely precise claim.
Lawyer: Well, sir, will you tell the jury how you knew it was exactly that distance?
Witness: Because when the accident happened I took out a tape and measured it. I knew some annoying lawyer would ask me that question.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. "Uh,huh," I'd respond to this wiseacre.

    "Was it like this tape measure?" (I say as I pull out my big fat Stanley 35 footer).

    "No," says the witness, "it was smaller."

    "Oh, so your tape measure was a twenty-five footer or maybe a twelve footer?"

    "Ummm," says the witness, "I think it was a twelve footer."

    "I see, so you had to measure out twelve feet, start over from that point, measure again, start from that second point and measure a third time, correct?"

    "Yeah, that's right."

    "And did you take into account the possibility of 'cumulative error'? I mean, how did you establish that the distance was in fact 36 or so feet when your tape measure only spanned 12 feet?"

    "Ummmm . . . ."

    "How did you measure down to 1/4 of an inch when your whole tape measure was only a fraction of the distance you allege?"

    (This imaginary exchange wouldn't happen, of course, if this guy really did use a longer tape measure.)

  3. Well done counselor!

    See you on Wednesday...