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Thursday, April 17, 2014


“Good morning Joe the Bailiff what do you have for me today?”

“Well Judge it could be a half day or a full day depending on how it goes. We have a couple who are divorcing and they are fighting over the dog and to complicate matters they want a jury to decide who gets the dog.”

“Well sounds interesting. Give me about five and I’ll be ready to do battle.”

“One question Judge; why do you think they wanted a jury trial?”

“You listen as I question the attorneys and you’ll soon find out.”

Shortly, the Bailiff said, “All rise Judge Richard Paine presiding.”

A moment later he said; “You may be seated.”

The Judge went through the process of asking the things like if all the parties were here and then said, “I see both parties are represented by counsel so let’s get started. First off why did you request a jury trial for this matter?”

The two attorneys looked at each other for they never expected to be asked that question.

After a moment of silence the Judge said, “Let me tell you why! Some idiot in you office said for you to do this so you could get some experience in jury selection.”

He stared at them and said, “This is your first time doing a jury trial am I right?”

They hesitated for a moment and said, “Yes.”

Judge Paine said, “We could have been out of here in a few minutes but now we will be here the better part of the day and five times the cost.”

He said, “This is how it is going to work. Our jury pool is small and they have only allotted twelve jurors. We will use six and you can challenge six of them. You have read the question and the answers they gave so mark your numbers you want to have removed from the panel. Have the jury brought in please.”

He said, “Remain standing. Will the attorney for Mrs. Lister state the jurors’ number for challenge and we will remove them.”

The first lawyer said, “I challenge four, seven, and nine.”

The judge said, “Okay those names called are dismissed and we thank you for your service.  And now Mr. Lister’s attorney will do likewise.”

“Your Honor I wish to dismiss three, ten and twelve.”

The judge repeated the dismissal and said, “As soon as order is restored we shall begin.”  Now, who wants to start?  How about we begin with Mr. Lister’s slant on things? 

Attorney Smith, call your first witness to the stand.”

“I only have one witness and that is Mr. Lister himself.”

Mr. Lister just tell the story of how you came to have the dog in question.”

“Well Your Honor it was like this. I wasn’t working one afternoon and I joined some friends and had several beers during the afternoon. While walking home I saw this pup in the window of a pet shop. He looked lonely so I went in just to pet him and I ended up buying him.”

Smith asked; “You paid for the dog with your own money?”


The attorney went on, “So your wife had nothing to do with the purchase of the animal.”


“So the dog was and is yours.”


“No more questions Your Honor.”

Mrs. Lister’s attorney Jones asked Mr. Lister, “You say it was your money.”


“Do you understand that this state is a community property state?”

“I guess.”

“What does that mean to you? I guess it means we own everything together.”

“Does that include the money?”

“I guess.”

“So when you bought the dog you used Mrs. Lister’s money for half of the dog?”

“I guess but she wouldn’t have bought it and I did.”

Are you saying she wouldn’t have bought the dog because she wasn’t drunk and you were?”

“I don’t know, I guess.”

“A couple more questions Mr. Lister. The dog was sick when you brought it home wasn’t it?”

“Yes it was, they sold me a sick dog.”

“Who nursed the dog back to good health?”

“I guess she did.”

“That’s all Your Honor.”

“That’s all from both of you?”

“Yes Your Honor,” they said.

The judge said to the jury, “Before you retire to arrive at a verdict I would like for the Bailiff to bring the dog in.

Now I want each of you to walk up and pet the dog and then go stand by your seat. Now the dog knows you both are here and perhaps he can tell us who he wants to live with.  Bailiff; release the dog.”

The dog quickly raced to Mrs. Lister.

“Well it looks like the dog prefers Mrs. Lister. The jury can retire now and reach your decision.”

The jury foreman asked, “Your Honor may we have a minute?”

“Yes you may.”

The foreman said, “Your Honor we have reached a decision. The dog is to go with Mrs. Lister.”

“Thank you,” said Judge Paine, “I think you made the right decision you’re dismissed and thank you. As for you Lister’s, this should finalize your divorce and if the attorney’s will hand me the papers I will see that they are filed today and in six weeks you will receive the final decree.  

Now as for you two lawyers I have studied what you have been doing and it is obvious you have been milking these two for everything you could. You have delayed this action as much as you could so you could add on more and more charges.  You have received your last penny from them and if you have any bills yet unpaid, consider them paid in full.

 Now don’t say a word or I will have you brought up before the Bar Association. You may get out of here now and I hope I don’t ever see you again.

 As for you two Lister’s get out of here and take your dog with you.”  

 “Okay Joe the Bailiff is there anything else for today?”

“No your Honor, I think you have “did the deed” for today except for one item you may not want to deal with.”

“Maybe I should take your word for it,” said Judge Paine.

“Do you remember the young lady who was… what should I say; John less yesterday?”  

“Oh yes, you mean the prostitute, err May Bell I believe was her name.”

“Well… she is in the court room in the back and she wants to talk to you.”

“Good grief, okay bring her into my chambers I wonder what she wants I hope business isn’t bad and she ...”

“Well May what’s on your mind…? No wait I need to get a bad taste out of my mouth after that case I just finished so c’mon I’ll buy you some lunch.

Later will be continued

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