Sunday, April 4, 2010

In A Court Of Law

EARLY in this century [19th] Judge Lowry was holding a term of the Superior Court in Onslow County, North Carolina. A case was on trial in which the amount involved was small, the evidence conflicting, and the law intricate. When the judge came to charge the jury, he astonished counsel by saying, "Gentlemen of the jury, this is a very shackley sort of case anyhow. Take it and do the best you can with it." Counsel probably saw the force of the remark, as no appeal was taken, though "very shackley cases" do sometimes get into appellate courts… .

IT was the same learned judge who, while a practitioner at the bar, unexpectedly lost a case for a client who was a justice of the peace, and in his own opinion a very learned one. Mr. Lowry was at a loss how to explain the cause satisfactorily to him when they met, but he did it as follows: "Squire, I could not explain it exactly to an ordinary man, but to an intelligent man like you, who are so well posted in law and law phrases, I need only say that the judge said that the case was coram non judice*."

"Ah!" said the client, looking very wise and drawing a long breath,"if things had got into that fix, Mr. Lowry, I think we did very well to get out of it as easy as we did."

Source: The green bag, An Entertaining Magazine for Lawyers, Volume 5, by Horace Williams Fuller, Sydney Russell Wrightington, Arthur Weightman Spencer, Thomas Tileston Baldwin, 1893.

*before a court lacking the authority to hear and decide the case in question.

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