When I was in law school, I advanced in the mock trial competition based almost entirely on my written brief, NOT because of my oral argument skills. At least that’s how I felt. And I felt that way because I simply hated oral arguments. (Nothing like standing before a panel of egotistical, sharp-tongued law professors who could skewer you at the drop of a gavel.)
I was allotted 15 minutes to present my argument. I took the podium. The room clearly had a bug infestation because I (and I alone) could hear the deafening sound of crickets. I swear I could also hear the old professors’ eyeballs squeak as they rotated them to look at me in disgust. I started. My voice cracked as I introduced myself. Then I began to read the statute at issue “. . . any false statement . . .”.
BAM! Immediately the con law prof/judge jumped on me about the word “any” not being in the statute. We sparred for nearly ten minutes about it. Then, it was brought to his attention by an official that he had been given a defective copy of the statute, i.e., it was missing the word “any”.
Oops. He apologized. We moved on. I finished. Sat down. Unplugged. Purged all of the material from my brain and started thinking about the beers I would soon be drinking at Mickey’s.
Then it happened. After opposing counsel finished her argument, the con law judge pronounced, “Mr. [Grey Bitter] has been dealt a grave injustice because of the mistake in my copy of the statute. It would only be fair to allow him another fifteen minutes to present his argument in full. Please Mr. [Grey Bitter], rise and make your argument.”
Are you kidding me? Talk about a grave injustice. By then, I couldn’t even remember what the case was about. What a jackass.
Bitters, have any of you ever been dealt such a grave injustice? Tell us about it.
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