One Hand Clapping

Opinion: 'Yo, Yo, Yo, White Boy' And Other Courtroom Comedy

The Connecticut Law Tribune

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Norm Pattis

The judge looked relieved. At least I hope she was relieved. There would no corpse carried from her courtroom.

"I'd never cut it in the bra-wearing world," I continued. It was family court, where women generally seem to outnumber men. I could tell from looking at the judge's face errant straps were familiar to her.

I returned to the cross-examination with a new lease on life, my hands clutching papers, or at my side.

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Janet Bond Arterton is one of my favorite federal judges. She's smart, tough-minded and fair, although a little on the humorless side.

Years ago, I was defending a young man against charges of murder-for-hire in her courtroom. It was an intense sort of trial, as you would expect.

Some hapless mope was on the stand, and I was doing my best to needle him. It didn't take long until he erupted.

"Yo, yo, yo, white boy, you just don't get it," he said.

"Why don't you try to break it down for me," I replied.

He descended into some street gibberish, and the day soon ended.

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