From the moment of birth, sharks' skin is tough and rough -- covered with thousands of tiny hard teeth call denticles that abrade any passerby made of softer stuff. Lawyers are also thick-skinned. Easily identified by their humorlessness and abrasive personalities, they are the bane of many social gatherings.
There's no way, then, that "Sharks And Lawyers: A Comparative Study" would have turned up in a published opinion of the First Circuit Court of Appeals last week -- except that a printout of the Internet page was found in the empty jury room after jurors convicted Benito Grullon of conspiring to distribute cocaine.
. . . and then the lawyer said, "professional courtesy"!
Grullon's lawyer asked for a mistrial, but the First Circuit wasn't troubled (I've omitted citations):
[T]he lawyer joke posed no real danger of prejudicing the jury against the defendant, having nothing to do with the issues in the case or any more connection with one side's counsel than the other's.
Nor was the judge required to hold an evidentiary hearing to explore the subjective reactions of the jurors. Whether to hold such a hearing depends on a practical estimate--particularly whether it is likely to serve any useful purpose. Here, there was no such likelihood, absent which there are affirmative reasons to avoid questioning jurors about their thinking. . . . So there was no error at all, let alone a patent abuse of discretion.
Maybe if it had been funnier.
Lawyer shark photo by Jeff Kubina at http://flickr.com/photos/kubina/131673530/; license details there.