ABA Journal



Federal judge’s strip club opinion includes photo of ‘Miss Wiggles’ and double entendres

May 1, 2013, 12:52 pm CDT


Maybe this judge is bucking for Leno's spot?

By Fred on 2013 05 01, 3:02 pm CDT

Judges often mistakenly think they are funny because everyone laughs at their jokes.

And the umpire, to borrow from Chief Justice Roberts, should not try to be the star of the show. Just call the balls and strikes.

By Goober on 2013 05 01, 3:05 pm CDT

Why does this article not include a citation and link to the opinion? How else are we readers to discern the bare facts and the naked truth about the case?

By AndytheLawyer on 2013 05 01, 3:41 pm CDT

SHORTER: San Antonio area zoning ordinances favor CY[T&]A.

By BMF on 2013 05 01, 9:37 pm CDT

@3 - Check the link to Above the Law.

By NoleLaw on 2013 05 02, 12:13 pm CDT

Where is the picture? An old lady standing on her head is worth a gander. What was she not wearing? This would make front page news here!

By Guana on 2013 05 03, 10:09 am CDT

I think this opinion is a disgrace. It's crude and inappropriate and degrades the dignity of the federal courts.

By Plain Truth on 2013 05 03, 10:42 am CDT

This opinion isn't half as funny as some of the Supreme Court ones I've read lately. They way they make stuff up is pure entertainment.

By RealityRocks on 2013 05 03, 12:21 pm CDT

I think the opinion is great (except for the outcome), it's nice to see a lawyer/judge with a sense of humor who perhaps doesn't take himself too seriously. My favorite part: "While the Court has not received amicus curiae briefs, the Court has been blessed with volunteers known in South Texas as 'curious amigos' to be inspectors general to perform on sight [sic?] visits at the locations in question."

As to the statute itself, well, it's nice to see that good old American puritanism is still alive & well in Texas. Because, I mean, just imagine the parade of horrors that would folllow if adults in this country were allowed to glimpse a bare female breast.

By Just Some Bloke on 2013 05 03, 1:15 pm CDT

I've never understood why lawyers get "holier than thou" in complaining about offbeat decisions like this one when they know that most civil cases are jokes to begin with! This is what the taxpayers in Texas are paying for? A debate over bikinis over pasties? I agreed with the judge's tone. This issue was a waste of court time and resources and did not merit being taken seriously.

By NYS Courts ex-wife on 2013 05 03, 1:43 pm CDT

The "Lady Chatterly's Lover" style seems a little forced, but his clerks must have enjoyed thier "curious amigo" leg work. Meanwhile, ordinances regulating "human display establishments" should really regulate the attire worn by some people at water parks, concerts and the mall.

By Provided, however on 2013 05 03, 1:50 pm CDT

I'm all for writing in a more personable style. And I'm all for occasional humor from judges. But this wasn't funny. Not even close. It also appears the judge wasn't taking the matter seriously, as if he were more interested in finding new ways to refer to various strip club, um, services.

There's a fine line between off-beat or humorous decisions and lack of judicial temperament. This marches right over that line and keeps on going.

By Not Funny on 2013 05 03, 1:59 pm CDT

Totally juvenile and unprofessional. Comment #2 is exactly right- lawyers don’t “laugh” at this drivel because it’s funny, but because they are in the modern equivalent of a Nero’s court.

This reminds of the stunts that Samuel Kent used to pull, although to his credit Judge Biery is not bullying and mocking people like Kent used to do. Still, Biery needs to reconsider these attempts at headline-grabbing. The reason that other judges do not do this sort of this, is decidedly not because they just lack the cleverness and wit of Judge Biery.

By Tom on 2013 05 03, 2:38 pm CDT

This judge clearly thinks he's a great comic and a talented writer, and is showing off both "for the crowd."

We can all appreciate the occasional double entendre in an opinion. But humor is like salt; you only need a little to go a long way. This, however, is excessive--and painful to read. Before going into law, I was a journalist. One maxim we learned is that everyone needs an editor. Judges, apparently, are no exception.

By Blondie on 2013 05 03, 2:40 pm CDT

The opinion is a bit NOW JERRY BROWNesque.

By NoleLaw on 2013 05 03, 2:45 pm CDT

Plain Truth @ 7 needs to get a life. the opinion is many things but not a disgrace.
Tom @ 13, I am an attorney and I laughed at some of the judge's comments like I laugh at an amusing joke told in a bar. Surely you and others who criticize the judge's humor (or attempts at humor) have never, EVER told a lousy joke. Yeah right. I concede if one was counsel of record in the case, especially for the party that lost, it might be hard to explain to your client why the judge should be taken seriously.
One cannot help to wonder what, if any, extra-judicial exposure the judge had to the subject of his opinion.

By Realist on 2013 05 03, 4:11 pm CDT

I am a female attorney and I think the decision is hilarious. Lighten up. It is Friday.

By Sherry on 2013 05 03, 5:00 pm CDT

I like Miss Wiggles, she looks pretty good. Such an excellent body control!

By Anna Gray on 2013 05 03, 7:32 pm CDT

Beautiful! Both the judge's opinion,
and Miss Wiggles!

(Who might be rolling over in her grave,
but in a nice way.)

By Tom Youngjohn on 2013 05 03, 9:27 pm CDT

I agree fully with #s 2, 7 and 13.
There ought to be an outlet elsewhere than F.Supp. for judges who can't resist writing like this. It could be private, public, or whatever, even if it's still at taxpayer expense, as long as it's elsewhere.

Even if the guy were somewhat funny, I still wouldn't want such sleaze in my profession's precedents.
I wonder if his law clerks are going to have to spend the next ten years apologizing for him - and disavowing any personal participation in drafting this drivel.

Nobody wins here.

By Avon on 2013 05 03, 10:56 pm CDT

@ 20: Oh, lighten up! One of the reasons I began doing tax law is because the opinions were not only more concise, but well-written and often a bit more creative. But seriously, in oral arguments, I often have to be able to pull an appropriate opinion out of my butt from the hundreds that I've researched for a particular matter. If "Miss Wiggles" makes the details easier to recall, go for it! It's certainly no worse than judges who lean towards the pompous or the pedantic.

By BMF on 2013 05 04, 3:56 am CDT

Given the comments above, this just goes to show that humor is subjective. While some of my colleagues may not have chuckled at this decision, I found it hilarious.

By EsqinAustin on 2013 05 06, 1:39 pm CDT

Get your funny hat on...the opinion is hilarious...and never strays from the point...

By Pocahantas on 2013 05 06, 6:32 pm CDT

Just one more petty tyrant chipping away at individual liberty but who thinks he's funny--beaming with pride at the sounds of laughter from the jesters falling over themselves to curry favor.

By Billarights on 2013 05 07, 6:41 pm CDT

If I were the Plaintiff, I would be wondering if Trojan makes a latex prophylactic large enough to attire the judge. As a Defendant, who had just paid a fortune in legal fees for the opinion, I would feel like I had just finished watching a very expensive porn flick. I think most outside observers, probably laughed a bit but were left with the unsatisfied feeling that the Judge's sense of humor was a bit limp.

By Eric on 2013 05 07, 8:02 pm CDT

I think it's unbecoming and unseemly. Every opinion and ruling affects the involved parties, sometimes in disastrous ways, but always negatively to at least one party. To drape a decision in jokes, double-entendres and supposedly clever prose is to minimize the importance of the situation.

By Cato on 2013 05 08, 1:56 pm CDT

Brings to mind that judge in the news a couple years ago who was removed from the bench for repeatedly using a penis pump under his robes IN COURT while motions and trials were going on (I'm not making this up). It's not so difficult now to imagine Judge Biery drafting his own opinion, so titilated by his own "prose" that he's compelled now and then to vigorously work the ol' pump.

By Learned Hand on 2013 05 08, 2:45 pm CDT

Who cares. As long as the outcome is correct, it doesn't matter how s/he writes it. We get tired of reading the same babble in opinions day in and day out.

By tim17 on 2013 05 08, 2:47 pm CDT

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