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Front Page - Friday, April 29, 2016

They really did say that

I Swear

Vic Fleming

COUNSEL. Have you razed many houses since you’ve worked for the city?

WITNESS. No, sir, but I’ve sure tore down a lot of them.

For the above and some of the following items I am indebted to Bill McFarland, longtime court reporter in and around these parts. The italicized portions of this column represent actual courtroom dialogue, as spoken in a nearby courthouse:

MR. SMITH. You’ve been in the hospital?

PETITIONER. Yes, I had to have to have surgery.

MR. SMITH. What type of surgery did you have?

PETITIONER. I had to have six teeth dug out of my jaw.

MR. SMITH. In your mouth?


THE COURT. Did you hit her as she has stated in her testimony?

RESPONDENT. Yes, Your Honor, I hit her, but she hit me in my utensils. If she hadn’t hit me in my utensils I wouldn’t have hit her.


PETITIONER. … and that was when he hit me upside the head with a twelve-pack of beer.

THE COURT. Is that true?

RESPONDENT. Your Honor, she’s lying. I didn’t hit her with no twelve-pack, I had already done drunk two of them beers.


COUNSEL. Now, in your own words, tell the judge your name.


WITNESS. On the night in question there had been a period of precipitation in the area where the body was found.

COUNSEL. Sir, was that precipitation wet?


COUNSEL. And what kind of work does your husband do?

WITNESS. He doesn’t work, he sells insurance.


THE COURT. You are charged with careless driving. How do you plead?

DEFENDANT. Your Honor, I just want to throw my mercy on the court.

THE COURT. Well, throw a lot, then. We’re a little bit short.


MS. JONES. Did you or did you not have insurance at the time of this accident?

WITNESS. Oh, we had insurance. But it had collapsed.


THE COURT. Again, what is the reason you gave for going thirty miles an hour over the limit?

DEFENDANT. It was my speed thermometer, Judge. It was broke.


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.