PLAINTIFF ARRESTED ON THE STAND
Back in the early 1990s the old workers' compensation law resulted in a jury trial of just about every case. One time, in a Texas Employers case, the plaintiff had a warrant out for his arrest for operating a chop shop. Rather than just alert the warrant department of the City of Houston Police department, the adjuster on the case thought it would be more dramatic to have the plaintiff arrested while he was on the witness stand. This is the type of pleasure and excitement only an insurance adjuster could love...
So this Plaintiff is on the stand testifying when the adjuster goes into the hall and calls the warrant department using the pay phones that were on every floor of the Harris County Court House. The adjuster comes back into the courtroom all full of smiles and grinning from ear to ear. In the meantime, the Plaintiff is answering questions on the stand from his own attorney when the bailiff gets a call at his desk.
It was commonplace for the bailiff to take calls and talk very quietly on the phone at his desk to the side of the courtroom. Well this time, the bailiff slams the phone down and gets up real excitedly. You have to remember, a bailiff is a sherriff's deputy who sits in a courtroom all day, day after day and almost never sees any police action of any kind. The most they do is say "Order in the Court, the Honorable So and So and this Court is in Session".
So this time the bailiff gets up and approaches the Judge on the bench. This was highly unusual and as he gets near the Judge he blurts out "I have to arrest him." The judge says back, "You have to do what?" And the bailiff repeats "I have to arrest him." At which time the plaintiff could have bolted from the courtroom. This was long before the days of security on the ground floor. But instead, he just sits there and the judge tells the bailiff to come around the back to where the judge is sitting. In the meantime, the jury has heard every bit of what the bailiff has said so the case is a sure mistrial.
The bailiff whispers to the judge and the judge then says to the jury, "Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, I am going to declare a mistrial of this case." The judge then tells the bailiff to take the jury into the back but the bailiff, hot on his new arrest, reminds the judge he has to arrest this plaintiff and so the judge gets up and escorts them past the soon to be arrested plaintiff and into the jury room in the back.
The bailiff proceeds to putting handcuffs on the Plaintiff and away he went to be booked into jail. His lawyer just sat there stunned and never said a thing.
The case never came up again. The adjuster settled it for peanuts and accomplished what he wanted. It was entertaining for sure.