Welcome to the first True Trial Story. I will try and post a new story each week. If you have any stories to share, I would love to post them.
THEY DON'T TEACH YOU IN LAW SCHOOL WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR OBJECTION WHEN THE JUDGE IS ASLEEP
It was a typical small damage car accident case being tried in the Harris County County Court where Judge Eugene Chambers, now deceased, was presiding. Judge Chambers was forced to retire from his post as a District Court judge because of his age so he ran for and won the County Court At Law position. Needless to say, Judge Chambers was a senior citizen and as we tried this case to a jury, we retired for lunch. When we came back from lunch, the Plaintiff attorney continued his examination of a witness. Judge Chambers began dozing off, but would occasionally rouse himself and I guess he just assumed no one really noticed.
Eventually, however, he nodded off for good. No snoring or anything, but he did fall back in his chair with his head thrown back. He was out.
At some point, the Plaintiff attorney asked a question and I reflexively stood up and objected. Now, all eyes were on the judge. The jury was looking at the judge. The court reporter was looking at the judge. The plaintiff attorney and I were looking at the judge and at each other. We both started to approach the bench when the bailiff, Robert, stood up in his chair and wagged his finger at us warning us NOT to wake up Judge Chambers. All of this happened in a second, so the objection was still pending.
Once the bailiff warned us off from waking the judge, the Plaintiff attorney looked at me and said simply:
The whole court room bursted out laughing. It literally took half a minute or so for everyone to even compose themselves. Once we did, we looked up and Judge Chambers had awoken. We went on with the case and he never knew the difference.