Monday, February 23, 2015

Disorder in the Courts

Courtesy of imagerymajestic at
The following excerpts are from the book by Charles M. Sevilla which showcase a hilarious collection of verbatim exchanges from the US Courts. These are things people actually said in court and taken down word for word by court reporters.

The question is - how did they keep a straight face?

Attorney (A)  Witness (W)

A: What gear were you in at the moment of impact?
W:  Gucci Sweats and Reebocks.

A: What is the date of your birth?
W: July 18th.
A: What year?
W: Every year.

A: How old is your son, the one living with you?
W: Thirty-eight or thirty-five...I can't remember which.
A: How long has he lived with you?
W: Forty-five years.

A: Doctor, is it true when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
W: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
Rita and her husband George

A: How was your first marriage terminated?        
W: By death.
A: And by whose death was it terminated?
W: Take a guess.

A: All your responses must be oral, OK? What school
did you go to?   
W: Oral ....

A: Doctor how many of your autopsies have you performed
on dead people?
W: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight!

A: Do you recall the time you examined the body?
W: The autopsy began about 8:30PM.
A: And was the victim dead at the time?
W: If not, he was by the time I finished!

If we wrote these responses into our stories we'd be accused of not being true to life. But as they say, truth is stranger than fiction. Whatever genre you write,  I find that if the plot gets intense, a little dash of humour  from one of the characters not only surprises but relieves the tension. They use this in the movies so are novels any different? What do you think?

*See Sara Goff's personal story on Friday at


  1. I loved your examples of real life courtroom humor and even showed them to my husband. We both had to laugh. And, yes, I agree that a dash of humor in the midst of a really tense moment is good in a novel.

  2. Thanks Karen, I needed a laugh myself as I have an operation coming up!

  3. Lol, Rita :) I agree, truth can definitely be stranger than fiction, and one reason why it can be hard for authors to fictionalise real life events in their stories.

  4. Too true, Narelle.
    Makes life interesting, doesn't it?

  5. The dialogue involving unintelligent people can read so clever in fiction! And very funny.

    Love your mention of this Friday's blog on! :)

  6. Thanks for that chuckle Rita. All the best for the op.