Thursday, April 06, 2006

Legal Hecklers

I attended a baseball game earlier this week where, beyond watching a highly entertaining game, I had the additional treat of hearing a professional heckler. The guy had a response for everything that went on in the game: for strike outs he gave the usual "left, left, left, left, you suck" cheer; for pick offs that did not work he yelled "not even" and the other fans around him yelled "close;" and when the bases were loaded he loudly asked the pitcher if he felt surrounded.
This got me to thinking that court rooms really need professional hecklers. There should be at least 3: 1 supporting the Plaintiff, 1 supporting the Defendant, and 1 supporting the judge. Plaintiff's heckler could cheer for punitive damages; Defense's heckler would cheer for summary judgment; and the judge's heckler would cheer for a settlement. This is one way to get the public more involved and help them better understand the law. All of a sudden there would not be a boring witness. Each question would get some response from the hecklers.
Example: Plaintiff's attorney examining his own witness
Attorney: "Could you state your name for the record?"
P's Heckler: "I can see the money now. Can you say sympathetic witness?"
D's Heckler: "I wouldn't do that if I were you. By the time our lawyer gets done with you, you won't know what your name is anymore."
Judge's Heckler: "You better speak up. Judge holds quiet witnesses in contempt."
As you can see, every question would have commentary and excitement. These hecklers could be brought to any legal event: a deposition, arguing a motion, even initial conferences. Scholars are always looking for ways to reform and make law more accessible; legal hecklers would achieve both of these objectives and make mundane legal practice much more fun. If hecklers were to catch on who knows what might follow: hotdog vendors, beer on tap, 5$ programs? The possibilities are endless.

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