Legal English II: Final Case Assignment – Criminal Procedure

Happy April Fool’s Day!

As you hopefully now realize, there is no “Final Case Assignment” for the Legal English II class. This is all part of a semi-elaborate April Fool’s Day prank. 🙂

For readers not in my Legal English II class, here’s the email that was sent to my students today:

Hi everyone,

Our sincere apologies but there’s one additional Crim Pro case assignment we neglected to include in the syllabus and which needs to be completed before Monday.

Here’s a link to the:

1. Final case assignment instructions

2. Final case

Again, our apologies for the late notice.

Professor Horowitz

ps Have fun with it!

BONUS Part 1: My own greatest and worst April Fool’s Day prank was my senior year in college. I was taking a large-lecture European History class. And in addition to the weekly lecture, we also met once a week in small sections with a Teaching Assistant. For one assignment, we had to write a 3 to 5 page paper, and I realized it was due on April 1.

So after I finished writing my paper, I also wrote an alternative version of my paper. Except it was just 4 pages of the text “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” repeated over and over again. And if you’re not familiar with the horror movie The Shining, there’s a climactic scene where an author is going mad and his wife goes into his office and looks at all of the pages he’s been typing for weeks, and she realizes they all have that phrase over and over and over. Very chilling!

barbara on Twitter: "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work  and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull

Anyway, back to the story, I went in to the history department office, found my Teaching Assistant’s in-box (amidst a wall of many Teaching Assistant in-boxes), and then put the alternative paper at the top of the pile and my real paper at the bottom.

The following week in our small section, I brought a couple extra copies of the real paper just in case anything went wrong. And it definitely did.

At the end of class, my Teaching Assistant approached me tentatively and said, “Um…Professor Hunt would like to meet with you.” I said, “Is this about the paper?” And he said, “Um…you better just go talk with Professor Hunt.”

I walked across campus to Professor Hunt’s office, and the Teaching Assistant followed behind me. I went into Professor Hunt’s office, and I asked, “Is this about the paper?” And she said, “Yes.” I said, “You know that’s from The Shining, right?” And she said, “Yes. That’s why everyone was worried. We had a big meeting about this and discussed whether this was a threat.”

I said, “It was meant to be an April Fool’s joke. I put my real paper in the TA’s in-box.” And I looked at my TA and he uncomfortably shook his head and replied, “I didn’t see it there.” And I thought, “Oh crap. This isn’t going well.”

I then pulled out one of my extra copies of the paper and said, “See, I really did write the paper. Here’s a copy!” And Professor Hunt replied, “Oh, you just happen to have a copy of the paper now?” And I thought, “This is really not going well.”

But somehow I was able to persuade her and the Teaching Assistant that I did not create this elaborate prank just to buy extra time to write the paper. I was a senior, I wasn’t worried about my grade, and I this was not a difficult paper to write. So there was no bigger agenda.

Finally they decided they could trust me and I walked out of the office and across campus picturing what the meeting and discussion with the professor and all the Teaching Assistants must have been like. I felt terrible. But then I also thought, “Well, at least they’ll always remember me!: 🙂

BONUS Part 2: One of the greatest April Fool’s Day jokes ever in American modern history was in 1985 when Sports Illustrated magazine published an article about an amazing baseball player named Sidd Finch who no one had really heard of but who could throw faster than any player ever had. This was pre-internet and most people didn’t realize for at least a week or two that it was an April Fool’s joke.

And the only real clue was in the sub-heading of the article–“He’s a pitcher, part yogi and part recluse. Impressively liberated from our opulent life-style, Sidd’s deciding about yoga—and his future in baseball.” The first letter of each word in that sub-heading spells out: “Happy April Fool’s Day — a(h) fib.”

Sidd Finch: A pitcher, part yogi and part recluse. - Sports Illustrated
The immortal–and completely fictional–Sidd Finch.

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