Is a Parrot’s Statement Testimonial?

Grey parrot testifying

A  prosecutor is considering whether the words of a pet parrot could be used to try the woman accused of killing his owner. Bud, a 19-year-old African grey parrot, has been repeating the phrase “don’t fucking shoot” ever since his owner, Martin Duram, was shot multiple times and killed in May 2015. – The Guardian 6/27/2016.

Scene: Gotham City DA’s Office. Enter DA Vandal.

DA Vandal: Consarn it, Fothergill, why is my desk all covered with cracker crumbs?

Fothergill:  Sorry, boss. We were using your office to prep an important witness while you were out exonerating the wrongfully convicted.

DA Vandal: How many times do I have to tell you not to say “wrongfully convicted”? It’s a contradiction in terms.

Fothergill: Sorry, I meant, “looking into convictions resulting from errors made under the previous District Attorney.”

DA Vandal: That’s better.

Summer Intern: What about Jesus? Wasn’t he wrongfully convicted?

DA Vandal: Certainly not. He was loitering in Gethsemene Park after sunset. With 11 other males, no less.

Summer Intern: But he got the death penalty!

DA Vandal: Can’t use half measures when it comes to protecting public safety. And Fothergill, if I catch you eating crackers in my office again, I’ll have you demoted to the Appeals Bureau.

Fothergill: No, no, anything but that! Let me explain –

DA Vandal: What’s this on my chair? Looks like bird shit!

Fothergill: (Wiping it off with his sleeve). We were prepping Bud the Parrot in that big Duram murder case.  You know, the witness who gave the statement, “Don’t fucking shoot!”

DA Vandal:  What good is that? We know the guy was shot. We need a parrot that says, “Don’t fucking shoot, O Adelaide!” Or whatever the suspect’s name is.

Fothergill: That’s why we need to prep Bud, sir. If you know what I mean. But he just keeps demanding crackers. I don’t see how we can put him on the witness stand.

DA Vandal: That’s ridiculous, you can’t put a parrot on the witness stand!  Who knows what he might blurt out on cross?  And what if the defense starts giving him crackers? No, we put on a cop to say what the parrot said. Just like we have K-9 cops testify about what their dog said.

Fothergill: You mean, have a cop testify that Bud said, “Don’t fucking shoot, O Adelaide”?

DA Vandal: Of course. It’s admissible as past recollection presently uttered. Now bring in that fucking parrot and open the window.

Tip o’ the hat to Fred the Red.

About Appellate Squawk

A satirical blog for criminal defense lawyers and their friends who won't give up without a squawk.
This entry was posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Criminal law, Humor, Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Is a Parrot’s Statement Testimonial?

  1. Alex Bunin says:

    If they demand a cracker, it’s testimonial. Same with all snitches.


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