Way back when I was in high school I decided that I wanted to be a lawyer. My dad, Cecil, was good friends with James Doherty, the county attorney in San Augustine at the time, and I had several conversations with him about law school. He encouraged me to go to law school but warned me about the tremendous amount of research and reading required of law students. So, I enrolled in Baylor University in 1956 as a “pre-law” student.
After my first three semesters in college I decided not to work toward a law degree so I changed to a business degree. Over the years since then, I have seen lawyers come and go, some very nice and some not so nice. In fact, attorneys have managed to make the list of hated professions, whether deserved or not, as evidenced by the following stories:
A lawyer in Charlotte, NC purchased a box of very rare and expensive cigars, then insured them against loss by fire or theft. Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of his fancy cigars, the lawyer filed a claim with his insurance company. In his claim, he stated that the cigars were lost in a “series of small fires”. The insurance company refused to pay citing the obvious reason – the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion. The lawyer sued, and won! In delivering the ruling the judge agreed with the insurance company that the claim was frivolous. The judge stated nevertheless, that the lawyer held a policy from the company in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure them against fire, without defining what it considered to be “friendly fire or unfriendly fire”, and was obligated to pay the claim. Rather than endure lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000 to the lawyer for his loss in the “fires”.
After the lawyer cashed the check, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of ARSON! With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case used against him, the lawyer was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and was sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000 fine.
A man walked into a post office one day to see a middle aged, balding man standing at the counter methodically placing “Love” stamps on bright pink envelopes with hearts all over them. He then took out a perfume bottle and sprayed all over them. His curiosity getting the best of him, he walked up to the man and asked him what he is doing. The man said, “I’m sending out one thousand Valentine cards signed, “Guess Who?” “But why?” asked the man. “I’m a divorce lawyer,” the man replied.
A sharp young attorney was cross-examining an elderly witness to an accident. “You say you were about 40 feet from the scene of the accident? Let me remind you that you’re 86 years old. Just how far can you see clearly?” The old man responded, “Well, when I wake up I see the sun and they tell me that’s about 93 million miles away.”
In another case, the defense attorney asked the witness to tell the court how far he was from the spot where the shooting occurred. “I was exactly fourteen feet, three and one-half inches,” replied the witness. “How can you be so sure of the exact distance?” asked the lawyer. “I measured it because I was sure that sooner or later some fool lawyer would ask me that question.”
The district attorney was questioning an elderly woman from the jury pool. He asked her, “Mrs. Smith, I am John Brown, the district attorney. Do you know me?” “Why yes,” she replied. I have known you since you were knee high to a duck. And I must say that I am totally disappointed at how you turned out. You are lazy, married to your third wife, and you are known to run around on her. Yes, I know you.” Stunned, the lawyer stammered, “Well, Mrs. Smith, do you know the defense counsel, Bob Jones, sitting over there?” She eyed the other lawyer for a few seconds, “Yes, I know Mr. Jones. He is a low-down scoundrel who has a gambling problem, and from what I hear, has a drinking problem as well. Yes, I know him.” There was a pregnant pause, then the judge hit his gavel and says, “Counselors, both of you come to the bench!” The judge whispered to them, “If either of you two clowns asks her if she knows me I’m going to put you under the jail for contempt!”
A woman called to the stand was handsome but no longer young. The judge gallantly instructed, “Let the witness state her age, after which she may be sworn.”
Finally, in summary, someone asked a man what profession his son was going to select. “I’m going to educate him to be a lawyer. He’s naturally argumentative, and bent on mixing into other people’s troubles, and he might just as well get paid for his time.”
“LAW AND ORDER”
BY: NEAL MURPHY
PO BOX 511
107 HEMLOCK STREET
SAN AUGUSTINE, TX 75972