Friday, December 6, 2013

He Lives in a Pineapple Under the Sea

The matter of People v. Danser, a 2006 appellate case out of California, is now old news, but I only recently encountered it.  I truly feel bad for this attorney.  We've all found typos and mistakes in briefs that we didn't catch before filing, but this error is really unfortunate.

The attorney was representing a former judge, who appealed his criminal conviction for fixing traffic tickets.  I'm not sure about the substance of the appellate brief, but the attorney did at least one thing I recommend--he spell-checked his document.  Unfortunately, he wasn't very careful in deciding which words to correct. 

In his brief, the lawyer made arguments about what the trial court should have done sua sponte.  The spell-check program he used, however, auto-corrected "sua sponte" to "sea sponge," leading to gems such as:

"It is well settled that a trial court must instruct sea sponge on any defense, including a mistake of fact defense." 

The sea sponge argument appeared at least five times in the brief--no word on whether Spongebob also made an appearance. 

A short article about the case is available at

Happy Friday!

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