April is Poetry Month!
Defendant was present His witness was not.
He prayed one day’s delay From His honor the judge.
But his plea was not granted The Court would not budge.
So the jury was empanelled All twelve good and true
But without his main witness What could the twelve do?
Judge Evans, Brown v State, 134 Ga.Ct.App. 771, 771-772, 216 S.E.2d 356 (1975). In the footnotes to the case, Judge Evans explains that the decision was written in rhyme because a Senior Judge of the Superior Courts had demanded (at a party) that if the writer ever reversed another one of his decisions, the opinion be written in poetry. Judge Evans goes on to say “it was no easy task to write the opinion in rhyme”.
For more law related poetry see:
- J. Greenbag Croke, Lyrics of the Law: a Recital of Songs and Verses Pertinent to the Law and the Legal Profession (W.S. Hein, 1986) 4th floor – PR1195.L4H3 1986
- Percival E. Jackson, Justice and the Law: an Anthology of American Legal Poetry and Verse (Michie Co., 1960) 4th Floor – PS595.L3J3
- Ina Russelle Warren, ed., The Lawyer’s Alcove: Poems by the Lawyer, for the Lawyer, and About the Lawyer (Doubleday, Page, 1900) 4th floor – PN6110.L2W2
- A law review article written as a poem, see Gary Dubin, The Ballad of Leroy Powell, 16 UCLA L. Rev. 139 (1968).