Sunday, October 7, 2007
The Sea Sponge Defense
This story's over a year old, but just came to my attention.
Last year, the San Franciso Recorder reported on a Santa Cruz attorney who -- in his haste to file an appellate brief -- did a quick spell check search-and-replace to correct mis-spelled words. Unfortunately, spell check did not recognize the Latin term sua sponte ("voluntarily") and replaced it with the nearest substitute: sea sponge. While sua sponte is a well-known term used to describe action that a court may take of its own accord, this brief argued that "It is well settled that a trial court must instruct sea sponge on any defense, including a mistake of fact defense." The judges soaked it up.