Monday, June 16, 2014

My very first hearing in Family Court

Setting:  Family Law Court, County of ABC

My client:  Father

Case:  County of ABC vs Father, for repayment of welfare benefits paid to ex-wife

Hearing:  Father's Motion to Change Venue [request to transfer case to a different county]

Court Reporter present and recording the proceedings.

Me:  Your honor, Father requests this case be transferred to County of XYZ.

Judge:  What is the basis for your request?

Me:  This court cannot be unbiased and impartial in this matter.

Judge:  Why not?

Me:  County of ABC court has incentive to rule against Father, because in ruling against Father, County of ABC would collect money from Father, which would improve its financial position in this difficult economy.

Judge:  Counsel, I can assure you I'm a very neutered person.

Court Reporter stops reporting, hands dangling in mid-air.  Courtroom becomes deathly quiet, with a few barely-audible snickers.  I lift my file folder in front of my face to shield my grin from view.  Opposing counsel stares at his shoes.

Judge:  What?!  What'd I say?

Crickets chirp.

Judge: Madam Court Reporter, please read back the previous exchange.

Court Reporter:  I stopped typing in the middle.

Judge:  Read what you typed, and then tell me what you didn't type.

Court Reporter does as asked.  Judge's face becomes vivid shade of red.

Judge:  I meant neutral, counsel.  Neutral.  I assure you I am a very neutral person.

Court Reporter resumes typing.

I lost the Motion and the trial remained with this judge in County of ABC.

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