Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Funny Exchange

This is a photo of William Rockefeller, the younger brother of John D. Rockefeller.


As corporations became increasingly wealthy and could hire better lawyers, pleading the Fifth Amendment became increasingly common.  In one such case involving railroad rates, William had the following exchange with the prosecution:

"On the ground that the answer will incriminate you?"
"I decline to answer on the advice of council."
"Or is it that the answer will subject you to some forfeiture?"
"I decline to answer on the advice of council."
"Do you decline on the ground that the answer will disgrace you?"
"I decline to answer on the advice of council."
"Did your counsel tell you to stick to that one answer?"
"I decline to answer on the advice of council."

After Rockefeller provided this reply, the whole court, including Rockefeller, erupted in laughter.