...The hell?

Lawyers don't write well. Judges, being lawyers, don't write well. I present to you an example of legal writing at its most incoherent. The following comes from Judge Carl Scacchetti, Jr.'s decision in People v. Bonnakemper, from 1973:

Gentlemen, the Court has wrestled with the statements contained in Section 79- h, Subdivisions (a)(6), (8) and (b), Subdivisions of the Civil Rights Law of New York State, and now as far as the first argument posed by counsel for the defendant, Wayne Bonnakemper, regarding that the motion is premature, it is the Court's ruling that of course it is not premature. Further, the Court states that the only effective means available to the subpoenaed one, Gannett Press in this instance, would be by way of an Order to Show Cause and to bring it on before trial so that the matter can be fully and fairly determined by the Court. As to that Argument, the Court makes the ruling as stated, at this time.

Now I've been known to write many a convoluted sentence myself, but Judge Scacchetti has me beat. He's got three sentences here and each one packs in between two and five different ideas. Scacchetti needs to slow down, take a deep breath, and break each of his ideas into its own unique sentence.

UPDATE: Huh. Upon googling Judge Scacchetti, I have learned that he was removed from office and sentenced to a 2 year jail term in 1981. For accepting bribes and giving favorable rulings to friends, not, as one might expect, for crimes against the English language.

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on November 20, 2005 3:41 PM.

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