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You know what a pig IS, don’t you? If not, I’m afraid there is a great deal of tedious spadework ahead of us


Not much juicy law about this week, so a diversion to America, courtesy of Lowering the Bar.


This is an extract from some genuine cross-examination, which ends up being so good that the New York Times actually made a video re-enacting it  (by way of context, the person being cross-examined here has made use of a law allowing the State to charge 2 cents a page for PHOTOCOPYING to charge 2 cents a page for material copied onto a computer disc, which can be done in 5 seconds with the push of a single button, and is, some might say, rather a different action to the act of photocopying, so the plaintiff’s lawyer is trying to get the deponent to admit that he understands what the nature of photocopying IS, and the deponent (witness) is trying to avoid saying anything to that effect)


This is my favourite exchange


Plaintiffs’ Lawyer: During your tenure in the computer department at the Recorder’s office, has the Recorder’s office had photocopying machines?

Deponent’s Lawyer: Objection.

PL: Any photocopying machine?

Deponent: When you say “photocopying machine,” what do you mean?

PL: Let me be — let me make sure I understand your question. You don’t have an understanding of what a photocopying machine is?

D: No. I want to make sure that I answer your question correctly….When you say “photocopying machine,” what do you mean?

PL: Let me be clear. The term “photocopying machine” is so ambiguous that you can’t picture in your mind what a photocopying machine is in an office setting?

D: I just want to make sure I answer your question correctly.

PL: Well, we’ll find out. If you can say yes or no, I can do follow-ups, but it seems — if you really don’t know in an office setting what a photocopying machine is, I’d like the Ohio Supreme Court to hear you say so.

D: I just want to make sure I answer your question correctly.

DL: There’s different types of photocopiers, Dave.



D: I’m sorry. I didn’t know what that meant. I understand that there are photocopying machines, and there are different types of them just like –

PL: Are there any in the Recorder’s office?

D: — there are different cars. Some of them run under gas power, some of them under electric power, and I’m asking if you could help me out by explaining what you mean by “photocopying machines” –-

PL: That’s a great point.

D: — instead of trying to make me feel stupid.

PL: If you feel stupid, it’s not because I’m making you feel that way.

DL: Objection





About suesspiciousminds

Law geek, local authority care hack, fascinated by words and quirky information; deeply committed to cheesecake and beer.

2 responses

  1. Ashamed to be British

    Gave me a LOL – and wow, after the high stress levels caused, it never went to trial

  2. Pingback: You know what a pig IS, don’t you? If not...

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