Legal Opinion delivered via Poetry

I read about this recent piece of brilliant poetry aka legal opinion on Martin Gramatikov's Access to Justice blog, and just had to share. This is an awesome twist to innovation in justice- using not new technology like cell phones or the internet (which we often blog about on this site), but old fashioned poetry. Admittedly, this judgement so much easier to read and understand than a typical legal document. Gives some food for thought about the dissemination of legal knowledge for legal empowerment- maybe we can have legal information in poetry via SMS!

(reproduced partially from the legal opinion of Commonwealth v. Goodson here):

In January, 2001, appellant’s car was in a collision.
His insurer totaled the aging New Yorker, then made a just division
of the value of the insurance claim, sending $6,289 to the lender;
the balance of $135, to appellant they made tender.

And thus the matter terminated, or so one might have thought,
but that was not to be, when Goodson’s later schemes were caught
Appellant was unhappy with his meager share, we guess —
comparing the two payouts, his disbursement was much less —
so six months later, in July, Mr. Goodson would appear
at a branch of First National Bank, and there he made it clear
that he’d a check made out to him, which he innocently presented
to open a new bank account — “from State Farm,” he represented.
The check was numbered familiarly, same as the prior one
for $135 that he’d been given when this saga’d just begun.
And it was for $6,289, a unique and memorable amount.
The bank obligingly took the check and opened a new account.
“Welcome our new customer!” a greeting that we’d bet
the bank would come to think of with a measure of regret. 
Sentenced on the other crimes, he surely won’t go free,
but we find he can’t be guilty of this final felony.
Convictions for the forgery and theft are approbated —
the sentence for insurance fraud, however, is vacated.
The case must be remanded for resentencing, we find,
so the trial judge may impose the result he originally had in mind.
What Goodson did is serious, but doesn’t comprise this crime —
there’s simply no rhyme nor reason for it, for these reasons (and in rhyme).
Madame Justice Orie Melvin did not participate in the consideration or decision of this
Mr. Justice Baer joins the opinion.
Madame Justice Todd and Mr. Justice McCaffery concur in the result.
Mr. Justice Saylor files a dissenting opinion in which Mr. Chief Justice Castille joins.

1 comment:

  1. How funny! I agree that as a non-legal person, I can understand this pretty well!