Monday, August 16, 2010

No Laughing in Court

KC Crime Report had this link to an Associated Report story from Fayetteville, North Carolina:

"Court is no laughing matter as far as one North Carolina judge is concerned. A Fayetteville man who was waiting for his case to be heard Friday drew the ire of Judge Toni King after starting to laugh in a Cumberland County courtroom. Authorities said King asked 47-year-old Johnny Montgomery why he was laughing, but the man refused to say.

King ordered Montgomery to jail on a misdemeanor charge. As deputies were preparing to take Montgomery to jail, they searched him and found more than 3 grams of crack cocaine. Montgomery was charged with felony drug possession. Authorities said he was being processed Friday evening and does not yet have a court date nor an attorney."
When I was in college and in those dark days that I call my "wedding years" (you know those years where you attended a wedding nearly every weekend,) my wife and I were invited to a ceremony of a couple we knew at best, causally.  We were in this older church sitting in a balcony at a right angle to the altar real close, but above where the ceremony was taking place. 

Mid-ceremony, the bride reached up and snagged the microphone off the stand, and, seemingly impromptu, whipped into a version of the then omnipresent pop-horror, "You Light Up My Life."  This was no mere, recitation, the bride, who's name I promptly forgot, went into full-torch, gyrating and whipping around in a way that struck me as hilarious beyond measure.

I started laughing, shaking, tears were rolling down my cheeks. The pew was shaking, I could not stop.  The more I tried to repress my mirth the worse it was.  I don't recall attending the reception, or for that matter ever interacting with this couple again. 

Laughter happens.  Laughter happens in court. Laughter does have a place.  A very limited place.  Laughter is a pressure valve for tension.   We last prominently saw it used in Sam Adam, Jr.'s closing argument on behalf of Rod Blagojevich where among other things Adam labeled his client not the sharpest knife in the drawer and who told an a heavily-accented ethnic joke involving a shot gun, her elderly husband and a mule.  Don't ask.  Judicious use of humor is, well judicious.

P.S. I hope my acquaintance is still "lighting up her life."

1 comment:

  1. Good story, I too have had bout of uncontrollable laughter and in inappropriate situations. I wonder if there is some sort of name for this, a syndrome or something?