Monday, August 12, 2013

Rhyme Time

Anyone who has ever practiced will tell you that lawyering can be overwhelming, omnipresent, and exhausting.  A little levity in the practice of law is often a good thing.  But is it really appropriate for a court to issue an opinion written in rhyme—especially in a criminal case that resulted in a seven-year sentence?  

In Brown v. State, 134 Ga. App. 771, 216 S.E.2d 356 (1975), the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a rhyming opinion overturning the defendant’s conviction.  According to the court, the trial court erred in refusing to delay the trial to permit one of the defendant’s witnesses to testify.  The opinion reads, in part:

To continue civil cases  
The judge holds all aces
But it’s a different ball-game
In criminal cases.
Was one day’s delay
Too much to expect?
Could the State refuse it
With all due respect?...
This case was once tried
But should now be rehearsed
And tried one more time.
This case is reversed.

Id. at 773, 216 S.E.2d at 357.

What do you think?  Is this opinion appropriate, or does it cross the line?  Does it make a difference that the court overturned, rather than affirmed, the defendant’s conviction?  


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