There’s an old joke that marriage isn’t a word but a sentence, but it’s not often taken literally. Recently a colleague was representing two co-defendants who agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of 8 years in prison and 5 years of post-release supervision. They asked if the judge could marry them while he was at it.
Naturally we’re concerned that the marriage be knowing and voluntary, so we’ve written some Pattern Wedding Instructions for the judge:
Judge: (to groom) Dost thou understand that by taking this woman to be thy lawful wedded wife, thou givest up thy right to mess around with other women, to drink milk straight from the carton, and to leave thy dirty socks on the coffee table?
Groom: I do.
Judge: (to bride) Dost thou understand that by taking this man to be thy lawful wedded husband, thou relinquishest thy right to – thy right to – whatever. I’m not bound to a rigid catchism.
Bride: (blushing) I do.
Judge: Do yous waive your right to appeal?
Bride & Groom: We do.
Whereupon the couple, assisted by DOCCS Officers, shall exchange handcuffs.
Judge: What the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision hath joined together, let no man put asunder. I now pronounce thee 8 years in prison and 5 years of post-release supervision. Inasmuch as felons are not permitted to associate, sir, you may kiss the bride in 13 years.