Sometimes, we must go back to our roots. The roots of “I Swear,” the column, are in the actual dialogue between lawyers and people who are under oath. Those who, in essence, tacitly add “I swear” to everything that they say.
Q. How long does it take for you to get from where you live to Mr. Hicks’ office in Mt. Vernon?
A. From where I live, it’s 14 miles to Mt. Pleasant, 14 miles to Pittsburgh, and 14 miles to Mt. Vernon. I am 14 miles from nowhere, any which way I go. Plus another 14 to come home – that’s 28 miles throwed away.
Q. How much education do you have?
A. About three semesters at Lon Morris Junior College.
Q. Do you remember giving your deposition in my office several weeks ago?
Q. Do you remember my asking about your education at that time?
A. I think so.
Q. You stated you had a master’s degree in geophysics from the University of Texas, didn’t you?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. When you gave that answer, were you mistaken or was it just a barefaced lie?
A. It was a barefaced lie.
Q. Are you married?
Q. What did your husband do before you divorced him?
A. A lot of things that I didn’t know about.
Q. You were fired for allegedly using profanity on the job. What happened?
A. Well, my colleague was soldering some wires close to the ceiling. I was holding the ladder. He was not paying attention to the solder that fell, and I’d complained more than once. At a given point in time, on purpose, he let fall onto my shoulder a red hot piece of metal.
Q. At that very moment, what did you say?
A. I said, “Look here, dear colleague, at the hole you have made in my shirt.”
Q. The claimant says that he worked a minimum of two overtime hours per day. Is that true?
A. Deep down inside, it is true. But he’ll never get any witnesses to prove it.
Q. Before the accident, you lived with your brother-in-law and sister for about six months?
Q. You got to know him quite well?
Q. You saw him interact with your sister? And I believe they had one child?
A. Well, I did not see the actual interaction, but they did have one child.
Q. There is presently a producing oil well on the property in question?
A. Yes, we have a brand new oil well on that lease.
Q. When did you drill this “brand new” oil well?
Q. But this is 1988.
A. Yes, it’s been brand new for three years.
Unless the readership demands otherwise, we’ll stay here in Rootland for a couple more weeks.
Vic Fleming is a district court judge in Little Rock, Ark., where he also teaches at the William H. Bowen School of Law. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.