March 24: Lawyers and the Law

Day Williams created this graphic depiction of this date.

 

March 24
Lawyers and the Law

227.
Lorenzo Dow, an evangelist of the last century, was on a preaching tour when he came to a small town one cold winter’s night. He entered the local general store to get some warmth, and saw the town’s lawyers gathered around the pot-bellied stove discussing the town’s business. Not one offered to allow Dow into the circle.
Dow told the men who he was, and that he had recently had a vision where he had been given a tour of Hell, much like the traveler in Dante‘s Inferno. When one of the lawyers asked him what he had seen, he replied, “Very much what I see here: all of the lawyers, gathered in the hottest place.”

228.
If lawyers were to undertake no causes till they were sure they were just, a man might be precluded altogether from a trial of his claim, though, were it judicially examined, it might be found a very just claim.
~Samuel Johnson, Journal of a Tour of the Hebrides, August 15, 1773

229.
There is a vague popular belief that lawyers are necessarily dishonest. I say vague, because when we consider to what extent confidence and honors are reposed in and conferred upon lawyers by the people, it appears improbable that their impression of dishonesty is very distinct and vivid. Yet the impression is common, almost universal. Let no young man choosing the law for a calling for a moment yield to the popular belief. Resolve to be honest at all events; and if in your own judgment you cannot be an honest lawyer, resolve to be honest without being a lawyer. Choose some other occupation, rather than one in the choosing of which you do, in advance, consent to be a knave.
~Abraham Lincoln, memorandum for law lecture, 1850

March 10: Humor (Law and Lawyers)

March 10
Humor  

 

191.

Judge: I know you, don’t I?

Defendant: Uh, yes.

Judge: All right, tell me, how do I know you?

Defendant: Judge, do I have to tell you?

Judge: Of course, you might be obstructing justice not to tell me.

Defendant: Okay. I was your bookie.

 

192.

              From a defendant representing himself:

Defendant: Did you get a good look at me when I stole your purse?

Victim: Yes, I saw you clearly. You are the one who stole my purse.

Defendant: I should have shot you while I had the chance.

193.

Judge: The charge here is theft of frozen chickens. Are you the defendant?

Defendant: No, sir, I’m the guy who stole the chickens.

 

 

March 9: Crimes and Criminals (Law and Lawyers)

March 9
Crimes and Criminals

 

189.

The key is to commit crimes so confusing that police feel too stupid to even write a crime report about them.

~Randy K. Milholland, Something Positive Comic, 10/30/03

 

190.

There is no den in the wide world to hide a rogue. Commit a crime and the earth is made of glass. Commit a crime, and it seems as if a coat of snow fell on the ground, such as reveals in the woods the track of every partridge, and fox, and squirrel.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)

 

March 7: Justice (Law and Lawyers)

March 7
Justice  

 

184.

The house of everyone is to him as his castle and fortress, as well for his defense against injury and violence as for his repose.

~Semayne’s Case, 5 Report 91 (1604)

 

185.

They [corporations] cannot commit treason, nor be outlawed nor excommunicated, for they have no souls.

~Sir Edward Coke (1549–1634), Case of Sutton’s Hospital, 10 Report 32 (1612)

 

 

March 5: Crimes and Criminals

March 5
Crimes and Criminals

 

178.

The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals.

~Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., “The Purpose of Education,” Maroon Tiger, January-February 1947

 

 

 

 

 

179.

Crime butchers innocence to secure a throne, and innocence struggles with all its might against the attempts of crime.

~Maximilien Robespierre (1758–1794)

 

180.

The judge is condemned when the criminal is absolved.

~Publilius Syrus (~100 b.c.), Maxims

 

March 2: First Amendment, “Law and Lawyers”

March 2
First Amendment

171.

The term “f~~-g pigs” in the context in which it was used referred not to copulation of porcine animals but was rather a highly insulting epithet directed to the police  officers . . . ..Appellant’s use of the vulgarism describing the filial partner in an oedipal relationship is fairly to be viewed as an epithet rather than as a phrase appealing to a shameful or morbid interest in intra-family sex . . . .There is, after all, a strong possibility that an expert witness called in the matter before us might have testified to the occasional use of the offending profane adjective in bar association quarters or in trial judges’ lounges—alas, all too often in reference to a decision of the Court of Appeal.

~Robert S. Thompson, People v. Price, 4 Cal. App. 3d 941, 948-49, 84 Cal. Rptr. 585 (1970) (dissenting)

 

 

172.

Obscenity.

I put sixteen years into that damn obscenity thing. I tried and I tried, and I waffled back and forth, and I finally gave up. If you can’t define it, you can’t prosecute people for it. And that’s why, in the Paris Adult Theatre decision, I finally abandoned the whole effort. I reached the conclusion that every criminal-obscenity statute—and most obscenity laws are criminal—was necessarily unconstitutional, because it was impossible, from the statute, to define obscenity. Accordingly, anybody charged with violating the statute would not have known that his conduct was a violation of the law. He wouldn’t know whether the material was obscene until the court told him.

~William J. Brennan, Jr., quoted in Nat Hentoff, “Profiles: The Constitutionalist,” New Yorker, 12 Mar. 1990, at 45, 56

 

February 26: Law and Lawyers: Humor

Day Williams created this graphic depiction of this date.

February 26
Humor  

 

155.              I know you lawyers can with ease,

Twist words and meanings as you please;

That language, by your skill made pliant,

Will bend to favour every client;

That ‘tis the fee directs the sense,

To make out either side’s pretense.

~John Gay, The Dog and the Fox

 

156.

I’m convinced that every boy, in his heart, would rather steal second base than an automobile.

~Justice Tom C. Clark

Justice Tom C. Clark

 

157.

Q: Did you see my client flee the scene?

A: No, sir, I didn’t. But subsequently I observed someone running several blocks away who matched the description of the offender.

Q: Who provided you with the description?

A: The officer who responded to the scene.

Q: A fellow officer of yours provided the description of this so-called offender. Do you trust this fellow officer?

A: Yes, sir, with my life.

Q: With your life? Let me then ask you this, officer. Do you have a room were you change your clothes in preparation for the day’s duties?

A: Yes, sir, we do.

Q: And do you have a locker in that room?

A: Yes, sir, I do.

Q: And do you have a lock on your locker?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: Why is it, officer, that if you trust your fellow officers with your life, that you find it necessary to lock your locker in a room you share with those some officers?

A: You see, sir, we share the building with the court complex. And sometimes lawyers have been known to walk through that room.

 

158.

[Definition of insider trading:] “Stealing too fast.”

~Calvin Trillin, “The Inside on Insider Trading,” in If You Can’t Say Something Nice 141, 143 (1987)

 

 

February 22: Law and Lawyers: Humor

 

Day Williams created this graphic depiction of this date.

February 22
Humor

 

146.

Some men are heterosexual and some men are bisexual and some men don’t think about sex at all . . . you know, they become lawyers.

~Woody Allen

147.

This is what has to be remembered about the law; beneath that cold, harsh, impersonal exterior beats a cold, harsh, impersonal heart.

~David Frost

February 16: Law and Lawyers: Legal Maxims

February 16
Legal Maxims

 

131.

Male verum exammat omrus

Corruptus judex.

A corrupt judge does not carefully search for the truth.

~Horace, Satires, II, 2, 8. Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65 B.C. – 8 B.C. ), known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus.

 

132.                 For a man’s house is his castle, et domus sua cuique tutissimum refugium.

~Third Institute [1644]

133.

Learn that sacred law which is followed by men learned (in the Veda) and assented to in their hearts by the virtuous, who are ever exempt from hatred and inordinate affection.

~Anonymous author of The Laws of Manu, traditionally ascribed to Manu (or Brahma), as translated by F. Max Müller (1886), Ch. 2, p. 29