50 Of The Funniest Conversations People Have Overheard In Courthouses
From Judge Judy to Law And Order, few things compete with our endearing fascination with courtroom drama. It encompasses everything from tension to characters, from raw emotions to unmistakable bravado.
Luckily for all the legal drama fans, both on screen and in real life, there’s a whole destination to feast on titled “Overheard Courthouse.” As you suspect, it follows the trend of other similar accounts like “Overheard LA”, “Overheard London” or “Overheard Amazon” by sharing the too-good-not-to-share conversations that people have (let’s assume accidentally) eavesdropped on.
“Overheard Courthouse” welcomes submissions and transcripts from courtrooms across the world and shares the most entertaining ones for its 98.6k followers to see. Below are some of the best ones, so scroll down and upvote your favorite ones!
A courtroom is certainly a tense environment. Think of all the pressure that accumulates in that room: from the judge carefully analyzing every statement and teams of lawyers ready to pounce on anything said that is even slightly inaccurate or worth objecting over, and court reporters frantically typing to ensure every word uttered is recorded exactly right. No wonder many entertaining conversations worthy of courtroom drama happen right here.
Bored Panda reached out to the creator behind the Overheard Courthouse Instagram account who wanted to stay anonymous. “I started @attorney.memes in 2018 and while I was growing that account, I decided to start an account similar to the likes of @overheardla and @overheardnewyork that would detail all the unusual things that are heard in courtrooms,” the creator told us.
At first, they started out posting transcripts of trials collected from various websites they found online. But as the account grew, “my followers began sending me transcripts from their own depositions/trials and unusual statements that they had personally heard so the account started to form its own identity,” the creator recounted.
Part of courtrooms being a perfect place for hilarious conversations to occur has to do with the fact that there is the clash between the etiquette that’s required in a courtroom vs. life outside the courtroom, the person who runs Overheard Courthouse argues.
“Many people outside of the justice system aren’t aware that there’s a certain demeanor expected while in the presence of the court that differs from today’s social norms which tend to be more informal. When you put someone who’s not familiar with the etiquette that is expected in a courtroom, it makes for some hilarious moments,” they explained and added: “That’s especially true for individuals who opt not to hire a licensed attorney and decide to represent themselves.”
The creator explained further: “These individuals are usually known in the U.S. justice system as being 'pro se' or 'pro per' depending on the jurisdiction. The submissions involving pro pers are some of the funniest ones because not only do you have someone who may not be familiar with courtroom etiquette, but they’re placing themselves in a position where they’re not trained or experienced to handle their case and all the complexities and nuances that may come with it, which leads to some hilarious moments,” they told Bored Panda.
The person behind Overheard Courthouse said that they try to be as inclusive as possible when it comes to determining which submissions to post. “Oftentimes I get so many that it’s hard to keep up, but I do my best to get to as many as I can. I also think it’s important to not necessarily share just the funny ones. I think it’s important to share the ones that may be disheartening, heartwarming, and even contain offensive language because they’re all a part of the justice system and it’s important to be aware of what transpires in a courtroom that the general public may not otherwise be aware of. I think these ones are the most memorable ones because although they may not be entertaining, they’re certainly eye-opening.”
“One of the funnier and more memorable ones,” the author said, “is an audio recording of a United States Supreme Court case where oral arguments were being made virtually due to the pandemic and a toilet can be heard being flushed in the background while one of the attorneys is making his oral argument.” They added: “The thought of a Supreme Court Justice flushing their toilet while an attorney is making his argument to the highest court of the United States is uniquely hilarious and memorable.”
According to the author of Overheard Courthouse, the large majority of the account’s followers work in the legal profession and likely have some degree of experience working in a courtroom such as court reporters and trial attorneys. “Most of my submissions are from court reporters and attorneys who understandably wish to remain anonymous. Most of the feedback I’ve received is positive because my followers can relate to the content.”
Moreover, the author said that they have received some feedback from several followers questioning whether the statements overheard are authentic and have expressed skepticism. “When I receive a submission, I’ll sometimes ask for additional context regarding the statements that were overheard and where they occurred. Ultimately, I’d like to believe most of the submissions are genuine because they’re coming from legal professionals who are expected to be ethical and maintain a degree of integrity,” they said.
When asked about the future plans of the account, the person behind Overheard Courthouse said that for now, they plan on keeping the account going as it is and post as many submissions as possible. “In the past, I’ve highlighted unusual events experienced by my followers during virtual court as a result of the pandemic. I may do similar highlights in the future where there’s a focus on a unique situation.”
“I just want to add that I'm very grateful to everyone who has made and continues to make submissions to the account. I’m simply administering the account and its success is made possible through a collective effort. By contrast, @attorney.memes is a lot more laborious since I produce the content myself. I’m able to run both accounts thanks to my followers who make submissions to @overheardcourthouse,” the creator concluded.
According to Joanne Willey, the founder of Cook & Wiley: Court Reporters for the Virginia Legal Community, no matter how much experience one may have in this type of setting, at the end of the day, we are all simply human.
“Slips of the tongue can and do occur in the courtroom just as they do everywhere else. Sometimes the end result is embarrassing, silly, or just plain confusing, but no matter what, it sure is entertaining! Most of the examples below come from books and websites dedicated to funny statements recorded in courtrooms,” she argues.