Tuesday, December 18, 2007

“Legally Amusing Verse”

Being a lawyer is a difficult job. But how much more difficult is it being a judge? Sometimes I wonder how lawyers and judges relieve themselves of the stress of daily grind.

An answer to this question may be found in an entertaining yet interesting article, “If A Judge Adds a Poem to His Ruling, Should the Commission on Judicial Performance Open An Inquiry?” posted October 31. It tells the anecdote about a judge who appended a poem at the end of a ruling to stress her point and perhaps, as a way of expressing the lighter side of scholarly, traditional ruling.

According to the article, the poem appeared at the end of a ruling in a case between quarreling neighbors. The poem itself is a summary of the case and any reader can guess what the lawsuit is all about, just by reading the verse. It goes like this:

‘Defendant planted a creeping vine
That crept and crawled and soon entwined
Itself in plaintiff’s roof, and made a mess
Causing plaintiff to suffer great distress
This lawsuit follows but leaves unsaid
Why plaintiff didn’t whack the vine instead.’

The judge dismissed the case. But not everyone found the poem amusing, especially the Commission on Judicial Performance which sought an inquiry into the matter. However, the plaintiff’s counsel found nothing wrong with the action of the judge. Even lawyers and judges are entitled to little indulgences.

In the end, the article expressed its observation that certain lawyers who often complain about judges are those who had not fully prepared themselves for motions, hearing or trial.