While prosecuting a robbery case, I conducted an interview with the arresting officer. My first question: “Did you see the defendant at the scene?”
“Yes, from a block away,” the officer answered.
“Was the area well lit?”
“No. It was pretty dark.”
“Then how could you identify the defendant?” I asked, concerned.
Looking at me as if I were nuts, he answered, “I’d recognize my cousin anywhere.”
Guilty as Charged
In Fort Worth, Texas, I was hauled before the judge for driving with expired license plates. The judge listened attentively while I gave him a long, plausible explanation.
Then he said with great courtesy, “My dear sir, we are not blaming you—we’re just fining you.”
Sidewalks were treacherous after a heavy snowstorm blanketed the University of Idaho campus. Watching people slip and slide, I gingerly made my way to class.
Suddenly I found myself on a clean, snow-free section of walkway. This is weird, I thought—until I noticed that it was directly in front of the College of Law building.
Waiting for the Fine
The judge had not yet put in an appearance in the San Diego traffic court. When the bailiff entered the courtroom, he sensed the nervousness of the traffic offenders awaiting their ordeal.
“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen,” he said. “Welcome to ‘What’s My Fine?’”
As a judge, I was sentencing criminal defendants when I saw a vaguely familiar face. I reviewed his record and found that the man was a career criminal, except for a five-year period in which there were no convictions.
“Milton,” I asked, puzzled, “how is it you were able to stay out of trouble for those five years?”
“I was in prison,” he answered. “You should know that—you were the one who sent me there.”
“That’s not possible,” I said. “I wasn’t even a judge then.”
“No, you weren’t the judge,” the defendant countered, smiling mischievously. “You were my lawyer.”
Not So Humble
I was once a legal secretary to a young law clerk who passed the bar exam on his third try. This fledgling attorney worked hard on his initial pleading, which should have read “Attorney at Law” at the top of the first page.
After I submitted the finished document for his review and signature, I was embarrassed when he pointed out a critical typing error. “Must you rub it in?” he asked.
I had typed: “Attorney at Last.”
I was a brand-new attorney in practice alone, and I had a likewise inexperienced secretary fresh out of high school. The importance of proofreading the results of my dictation was highlighted one day when a reminder to a client’s tenant to pay her rent or suffer eviction was transcribed as follows: “You are hereby notified that if payment is not received within five business days, I will have no choice but to commence execution proceedings.”