Perhaps one of the finer moments of US Judicial humour in a footnote arrived in the my e-mail inbox in the form of the appeals judgment in US v Murphy (4 May 2005, 7th Circuit).
The case was about witness intimidation in – of course – a crack-smoking trailer park:
“On the evening of May 29, 2003, Hayden was smoking crack with three other folks at a trailer park home on Chain of Rocks Road in Granite City, Illinois. Murphy, Sr., who had sold drugs to Hayden several years earlier, showed up later that night. He was friendly at first, but he soon called Hayden a “snitch bitch hoe”(1) and hit her in the head with the back of his hand. He said he saw her name in discovery materials from his son’s criminal case and that she was responsible for putting him in jail. …”
The footnote at (1) reads:
The trial transcript quotes Ms. Hayden as saying Murphy called her a snitch bitch “hoe.” A “hoe,” of course, is a tool used for weeding and gardening. We think the court reporter, unfamiliar with rap music (perhaps thankfully so), misunderstood Hayden’s response. We have taken the liberty of changing “hoe” to “ho,” a staple of rap music vernacular as, for example, when Ludacris raps “You doin’ ho activities with ho tendencies.”