Category Archives: Judges

May It Displease the Court

Our late mother had a sign pinned to the broom closet reading, “When others eliminate work, they’re efficient. When I eliminate work, I’m lazy.” So we viewed with a jaundiced eye the First Department’s recent trumpeting of its work-elimination efficiency.  … Continue reading

Posted in Appellate advocacy, Criminal Defense Appeals, Judges, Law & Parody | Tagged | 5 Comments

COVID-19 masks for judges

From a social distance of 150 miles away, we watched NY’s highest state court judges marching into the courtroom to hear oral argument in the flesh for the first time since the COVID-19 lockdown. All wearing identical light blue face … Continue reading

Posted in Humor, Judges, Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons | Tagged | 1 Comment

Judges in trouble

What are the grounds for removing a judge from the bench?  A sadistic penchant for harsh sentences? Ignorance of the law? Telling a defendant in front of the jury that if he wants to deny guilt he has to get … Continue reading

Posted in Judges, Law & Parody | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Hell hath no fury like a client scorned

After 3 months of COVID-19 “pause,” the NY Court of Appeals has announced a return to hearing oral arguments in the flesh “with appropriate safety protocols.” We envision them hanging batlike from the ceiling. A couple of lawfirm biggies applauded … Continue reading

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Is it silly to demand transparency from appellate courts?

We’re always grousing about how courts deny our appeals without reading our briefs, but a recent Supreme Court cert denial showed that’s a heap of ol’ catfish compared to what goes on in Louisiana. The scandal broke back in May, … Continue reading

Posted in Appellate advocacy, Criminal Defense Appeals, Criminal procedure, Judges, Law & Parody | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Let’s make suppression hearings great again!

   . . . even if they never were. (This is a re-creation. Yesterday’s post disappeared under mysterious circumstances after being published). Ever since Justice Frankfurter’s outraged account of the Sacco and Vanzetti case (a marvelous model brief on how … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal procedure, Judges, Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons | 3 Comments

Chief to judges: dissent at your own risk.

Does your boss stifle dissent? You’re not alone! The fearless Judge Saxe, retired from the First Department, reveals that Chief Judge Flowerpot refuses to let judges stay past retirement age if they’ve written too many unsuccessful dissents. Used to be that … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Judges, Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons | 2 Comments

The solution to courtroom delays: hockey pucks

In a move to defend against school shootings, a Michigan college is distributing hockey pucks to its faculty. Hockey pucks, or biscuits, as they’re known to the cognoscenti, are “easy to carry, heavy and tend to cause a distraction when thrown,” explained … Continue reading

Posted in Judges, Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons | 1 Comment

Judge Kavanaugh’s crickets

What with all this brouhaha over Judge Kavanaugh’s high school conduct, it’s time to look at some of the more substantive issues, such as his outstanding crickets jurisprudence. This might have been entirely overlooked but for the ever-alert Lowering the Bar. … Continue reading

Posted in Judges, Law & Parody | 2 Comments

Queens judges say the darndest things

Welcome to Queens, birthplace of the Mets, Weight Watchers and President Trump. Where, if you’re on trial for a crime, the prosecutor is likely to be the judge’s kid. Picture this: Prosecutor: Objection. Judge: Overruled. Prosecutor: Dad-dy! Judge: Oh, all … Continue reading

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How to get judges to read your brief

Judge Saxe is at it again, handing out more advice about appellate briefwriting.  “The reply brief is an important document,” he pronounces.  It’s “the last word” that the judges will read. It should consist of “short, declarative, punchy sentences.” Based … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Judges, Law & Parody, Satire and parody | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Guv to judges: want a raise? get to work on time.

Last week Governor Cuomo offered the judges a raise, but with strings attached: they have to promise to keep their courtrooms open from 9 to 5. “The backlog of cases is tremendous, especially in downstate New York,” he said. “We … Continue reading

Posted in Judges, Law & Parody | Tagged | 2 Comments

Court admits expert water-dunking testimony as relevant, helpful to jury.

 The trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting expert testimony concerning defendant’s failure to pass the water-dunking test. Dr. Brimstone, who has testified in over 200 witch trials, was plainly qualified to explain to the jury that immersing … Continue reading

Posted in Forensic "science", Judges, Law & Parody | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

When is a trial not a trial? When there’s no jury.

We recently briefed a case where the judge came back from lunch and announced, “The Court has arrived at a verdict.  The verdict is –,” until the parties frantically stopped her. The trial hadn’t finished yet!  She apologized and sat … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal law, Judges, Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons | Tagged | 2 Comments

How to describe judicial decisionmaking without being held in contempt

The biggest challenge of appellate writing is figuring out how to convey without actually saying so that the trial judge was an uninformed barnacle.  Especially when the standard of review is that the judge is always right.  The appellate squawker … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Humor, Judges, Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons | Tagged | 3 Comments

From the archives: Judge Rakoff on graffiti and Oedipus Rex

From “The Villager,” August 24, 2005 Chelsea graffiti party Federal Judge Jed S. Rakoff on Monday ordered the Bloomberg administration to reinstate a permit for a Wed. Aug. 24 Chelsea block party featuring the painting of graffiti on mock subway … Continue reading

Posted in Humor, Judges | 1 Comment

Buttering up the judge

We recently came across this drawing by our hero Honoré Daumier (1808-1879) (whose desperate advocate we’ve appropriated in our masthead) that says everything you need to know about preparing for oral argument:  “Ai-je besoin d’éloquence devant un juge si haut … Continue reading

Posted in Judges, Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons | 3 Comments

How to keep your brief under the word limit

Judges are always kvetching that appellate briefs are too long and BO-ring or, as Judge Saxe says, “turgid and prolix.”  The federal judish has decided to strike back by slashing word limits from 14,000 to 13,000. The decree sparked howls … Continue reading

Posted in Humor, Judges, Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons | Tagged | 6 Comments

The NY Court of Appeals gets its comeuppance

When it comes to federal habeas petitions, never has so much been denied to so many by so few. To the prisoner, a habeas is the last bastion of hope. To the federal judish, it’s the occasion for assuring state … Continue reading

Posted in Criminal Defense Appeals, Criminal law, Judges, Law, Satirical cartoons | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Justice Ginsburg speaks her mind. . . and is sorry.

Millions of Americans who were ready to vote for Trump abruptly changed their minds after Justice Ginsburg publicly stated that if he were president, “I can’t imagine what the country would be.”  “He says whatever comes into his head at … Continue reading

Posted in Humor, Judges, Law & Parody | Tagged , | 1 Comment