Scene: Courtroom of the Appellate Division
Clerk: All rise!
Enter judges, chatting collegially to one another. They take their seats and look at the assembled lawyers like a housewife looking at a sinkful of dirty dishes.
Clerk: Hear ye, hear ye, etc.
Presiding judge: If we were to give every one of you the argument time you’ve requested, we’d have to sit here til FIVE O’CLOCK! You don’t need all that time, we’ve already drafted the affirmances –
(judge to his right nudges him) What? Correction, we haven’t drafted the affirmances, of course not, we have clerks to do that –
(judge nudges him again) WHAT? Yes, yes, we’ve throughly read every turgid and prolix word of all of your briefs and studied the record, are familiar with every case you’ve cited – hey! what’s happening to my nose? Why is it getting longer? Stop! (somebody gives him a handkerchief to hold over his nose)
Moving right along, anybody whose cell phone or hearing aid goes off during the proceedings will be thrown off the Empire State Building, is that clear? Call the calendar.
Clerk (calling): Itty Bitty Day Care Center v. Global Behemoth Conglomerate Asbestos & Tobacco Corporation.
Itty Bitty Attorney: Appellant requests ten minutes and five minutes rebuttal time.
P.J.: All right, ten and five.
Global attorney: Respondent requests ten minutes.
Behemoth attorney: Respondent intervenor requests ten minutes.
Conglomerate attorney: Respondent second intervenor requests ten minutes.
P. J. : No problem, ten, ten and ten.
Clerk (calling): People v. Jose Rodriguez.
Public defender: Appellant Jose Rodriguez requests ten minutes and five minutes rebuttal time.
P.J.: I’ll give you five and two.
Public defender: Judge, it’s a murder case!
P.J.: It is? All right, four and one. Respondent?
People: If the Court has no questions, the People will waive their response.
P.J.: Good boy. Next case.
(watch for the sequel: what a difference when there’s a visiting school group in the courtroom)