We thought that we would never see/ A suit to compensate a tree.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Poetry on the Bench
U.S. District Court Judge James Muirhead rejected a prisoner's exhibit in a decision written entirely in poetic verse. To be exact, a decision written in the style of Dr. Seuss' "Green Eggs and Ham."
NY Lawyer reports that an inmate sent the egg as part of his complaint against New Hampshire state officials. The inmate, Charles Wolff, 61, says, among other things, that he cannot tolerate hard-boiled eggs, so when he was served a meal with them, he mailed the complaint and egg to court in a manila envelope.
Judge Muirhead wrote: "I do not like eggs in the file. I do not like them in any style. I will not take them fried or boiled. I will not take them poached or broiled. I will not take them soft or scrambled Despite an argument well-rambled." He then ordered the egg destroyed: "No fan I am Of the egg at hand. Destroy that egg! Today! Today! Today I say! Without delay!"
Muirhead actually follows a noble tradition of poetry on the bench. In 1983, for example, a Michigan court rejected a lawsuit brought on behalf of a tree -- the panel's dismissal consisted of 12 lines of verse modeled on Joyce Kilmer's famous poem "Trees." It began: