find the latest legal job
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Property Lawyer
Category: Property Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· 12 Month Contract · Diverse Work
View details
Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law | Location: Eastern Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Boutique Firm · Great Reputation
View details
Infrastructure Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Perth WA
· We'd be particularly interested to hear from you if you were a lawyer who knows your way around the infrastructure and energy sectors.
View details
What a joke!

What a joke!

Folklaw can’t begin to fathom why a US lawyer thought it would be a good idea to tell a knock-knock joke at a murder trial.

Folklaw can’t begin to fathom why a US lawyer thought it would be a good idea to tell a knock-knock joke at a murder trial.

In a case of ‘what the hell was he thinking?’, Don West, the Florida lawyer representing accused killer George Zimmerman, told the following gag on the opening day of the trial (25 June).

“Knock-knock. Who’s there? George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? All right. Good. You're on the jury,” he said, the joke falling like a lead balloon before the stone-faced jurors.

Maybe they were laughing on the inside...

Now, in fairness to West, it may not have even occurred to him that the joke was inappropriate.

But, after watching a video of the proceedings on YouTube, Folklaw discovered that West gave a lengthy disclaimer before launching into his routine. He warned jurors that they might not think it was funny under the circumstances. He even asked forgiveness in case they found the joke inappropriate.

If you know a joke could be taken the wrong way and, importantly, is not that funny, then why tell it?

The only explanation Folklaw can muster is that West was desperate for comic relief from his all-too-serious job of representing alleged criminals.

But if you’re going to tell a joke, Folklaw urges lawyers to at least get it right.

Learn comedic rules before you break them. Knock-knock jokes are meant to make a pun, and West’s gag was not punny at all.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

What a joke!
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Nov 17 2017
It's time for politicians to commit to eradicating domestic violence
The national shame of domestic violence cannot be left unaddressed, writes Christine Smyth. ...
Nov 16 2017
From lawyer in law firm to senior governance professional
Promoted by Governance Institute of Australia As a law graduate, Kate Griffiths never imagined...
marriage equality
Nov 16 2017
Legislation the next hurdle for marriage equality
Lawyers have underscored the importance of ensuring same-sex marriage legislation does not limit ant...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...