For God’s Sake, Use The Affirmation

| Johannesburg, South Africa | Religion

(I am in court, watching a witness be sworn in.)

Clerk: “Do you have an objection to taking the oath?”

Witness: “Yes.”

Clerk: “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and if so raise your right hand and say ‘so help me God’?”

Witness: *looks uncomfortable*

Judge: “No, she wanted to take the affirmation and not the oath. Try again.”

Clerk: “Oh, okay. Do you solemnly affirm that what you are about to say is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”

Witness: “Yes.”

Clerk: “Please raise your right hand.”

Witness: *raises hand* “Okay…”

Clerk: “Say ‘so help me God.'”

Judge: “No, no. Do you solemnly affirm that what you are about to say is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”

Witness: “Yes.”

Judge: “Please raise your right hand and say ‘so help me God?'”

Witness: *uncomfortably raises her hand* “So help me God?”

Judge: *realising he’s also confused the oath and affirmation* “I’m sorry. Let’s just carry on.”

Courting Death

| UK | Family & Kids, Ignoring & Inattentive

(My dad received a speeding ticket half a year ago which I have tried to contest, but for whatever reason was ignored. He is eventually called to court over the matter and I go to represent him. I’ve made it to the courtroom itself without anyone even questioning where my father is, which I think is strange, but alas.)

Magistrate: “Could I ask why [Father] could not attend, and why he has not informed the court prior to this.”

Me: “You have been informed, but just as before no one seems to care.”

Magistrate: “And where is your father, sir?”

Me: “He’s been in a box six feet under for the past ten years.”

Magistrate: *raising his eyebrows* “He’s dead?”

Me: “Well, it would be murder if he wasn’t.”

Magistrate: “And the vehicle he was… ‘seen’ driving?”

Me: “Sold shortly after his funeral. We haven’t heard anything about it until this speeding ticket.”

Magistrate: “And you made no attempt to inform us of his passing?”

Me: “Several actually.”

(I produce copies of the correspondence I have had, along with vehicle documentation proving the car was sold ten years prior. The magistrates look over it, with the woman in the group looking besides herself with how ridiculous it all seems. The prosecution looks rather sheepish as the magistrate who is leading the proceeding lambastes them and the police for wasting time and resources. We don’t even get to my pleading Not Guilty (I still don’t know if you actually say that), before the ticket is thrown out.)

Magistrate: “I do apologise if this entire ordeal has been difficult for your family. And I am sorry for your loss.”

Me: “It’s no problem. I’m sure my dad would found it hilarious if he were still around.”

(We both laughed and I was allowed to leave. That is my one and only time in court. It was a lot more casual than I expected…)

Murdering Any Future Business

| London, England, UK | Criminal/Illegal, Employees

(I am a legal intern, shadowing a lawyer in court. Our client walks in.)

Lawyer: *says very loudly to me whilst client is within earshot* “Ooh, gonna keep this one around. He looks like he might do a murder soon!”

Passed A Bar, Not THE Bar

| Richmond, VA, USA | Criminal/Illegal, Employees, Ignoring & Inattentive

(I am currently interning at a traffic court, and witness the following case.)

Judge: “Defendant is charged with reckless driving that caused an accident. How does she plead?”

Public Defender: “She pleads ‘insanity,’ Your Honor!”

(The public defender is full of gusto and it is obviously his first case. The defendant slowly looks at him like he’s a complete moron.)

Defendant: “…I plea no contest, Your Honor… There is no insanity plea in a traffic case.”

Judge: *to the public defender* “And the fact that the defendant is more aware of that than you are worries me.”

Public Defender: “Well, she had to have been insane when she was going 120 miles per hour in a 55—”

Judge: “Your job is to DEFEND her, not PROSECUTE her! Or do you need to go back to law school?”

(The defendant looks utterly appalled and shakes her head at the public defender.)

Defendant: “You’re fired.”