Thursday, September 08, 2005

Clueless Judges

Reviewing the work of a clueless US judge who based his decision on his misreading of a key Witness Statement made me long for the reincarnation of the legendary Brit lawyer F. E. Smith, 1st Earl of Birkenhead.

He had a very interesting life, even making the cover of Time in 1923. I hasten to add that I wasn't around at the time.

(In) the opinion of Winston Churchill, who was a friend: "He had all the canine virtues in a remarkable degree - courage, fidelity, vigilance, love of chase."

Here are three of his interactions with clueless judges - or possibly successive interactions with the same one...

Judge: "I have read your case, Mr Smith, and I am no wiser now than I was when I started."

F. E. Smith: "Possibly not, my lord, but much better informed."

Judge: "Are you trying to show contempt for this court, Mr Smith?"

F. E. Smith: "No, my lord. I am attempting to conceal it."

Judge: "You are extremely offensive, young man!"

F. E. Smith: "As a matter of fact we both are; but I am trying to be, and you can't help it."