Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Heads or Tails #93 -- motion

Well, if this is HoT 93, then I've missed three Heads or Tails in a row. I hope Barb will forgive me. In the meantime, I suppose, the pressure should be on to come up with something really good. Unfortunately, the pressure is also on for me to get some work done.

I'm sure many participants today will talk about 'motion' in terms of their kids or pets or grandchildren always being in motion. Others will talk about song titles ("Poetry in Motion" or, an old favorite of mine, "It Ain't the Meat, It's the Motion") but I'll climb out on a limb here and say I'll be the only HoT participant to talk today about motions that are filed in court....


A motion in a court case is a request by a party to have the court do something: set the case for trial, dismiss the case, order compliance with discovery, sever the head of the worthless attorney for the other side and raise it high up on a pike in the courthouse square as a warning to others... that sort of thing.

I have no idea why such requests are called motions, except that, in them, we "move" for particular relief.

There is a rather ritualistic formula that is observed in stating a motion, at least here in Illinois. A party moves "this honorable court by and through its attorneys." When you think of it, that might be disgusting -- why would the court want to deal with something that's been moved through the attorneys?

But plain language wouldn't do: I can't imagine a 'motion' saying, 'hey, judge, would ya, could ya?'

At the end of the motion, we "pray" for particular relief. This is not a violation of the separation of Church and State -- although, in filing certain motions, I will admit to directing prayers in Directions other than at the bench.

Motions are ruled on. They are granted or sustained -- or denied or overruled.

This, by the way, is how lawyers tell good judges from bad ones. Good judges grant our motions; bad ones deny our motions. We can be very shallow, fickle people sometimes.

But that will be our little secret, OK?

4 comments:

Skittles said...

Somehow I knew.. just knew.. that you would go this way with the theme. :)

Did you make up that meat and motion song? Inquiring minds want to know. (me) How about.. everybody's doing the lo-co-mo-tion!!! I want to know how long that gets stuck in your head.

I need to do more drive-bys on courthouses looking for those lawyer heads on pikes. I miss all the fun.

Nice to see you again. :)

Jean-Luc Picard said...

We have to use the legal language!

Dave said...

I Googled motion, no success. Down here, we "Respectfully Request."

Pawlie Kokonuts said...

I like your blog. No legal mumbo jumbo here. Latin phrases, humor -- what's not to like? If I recall correctly, I came here via my friend Murphy's Craw, then Ken Levine. Not that it matters. Just saying.