16:08, July 11 36 0 abajournal.com

2019-07-11 16:08:06
Do you think humor is helpful or harmful in the courtroom, and why?


Image from Shutterstock.com.

Does comedy or humor work in the courtroom? Sometimes, writes Philip N. Meyer in a September 2016 ABA Journal article, “but you have to be careful when and how you use it. And always know what the purpose is and who is the subject and object of the humor.”

Two recent Your Voice columns give varying opinions the use of humor. Marcel Strigberger argues that humor is admissible in law practice, while John G. Browning says the use of humor in the courtroom is no laughing matter.

Browning says “using humor in the courtroom is fraught with risk.” And what might seem like innocuous attempts to make light of current events can backfire, “especially when made in the most serious of settings where someone’s very life or freedom might be at stake.”

This week, we’d like to ask: Do you think humor is helpful or harmful in the courtroom, and why? Have you used jokes in court? Did they benefit or hurt your case? Is there ever a good or bad time to use humor in the courtroom?

Answer in the comments on our social media channels via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Check out last week’s question: Who’s your favorite SCOTUS justice and why?

And view some of last week’s answers from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Featured answer:

Posted by Jim Getz on Twitter:

“On the current court? Sotomayor. On past courts? Too many to name, but I agree with Brandeis. Also the first Justice Harlan. Earl Warren as a chief that brought the promise of individual rights into the modern era. O’Connor because of her practical experience at the state level.”

Do you have an idea for a future Question of the Week? If so, contact us.