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Real Lawyer Reacts to Miracle on 34th Street


– Tell me Tommy, why are you so sure this is Santa Claus? – Because my daddy told me so.
(courtroom laughing) Didn’t you daddy? – Hearsay. (upbeat music) Hey legal eagles, it’s time to think like a lawyer, and it’s time to save Santa Claus. Today we are covering
the Christmas classic Miracle on 34th Street. Now, I may be a jaded, cynical lawyer, but I love a good holiday movie, especially one that involves
lawyers saving the day. Because who is is going
to save Santa Claus if not for the lawyers? (bells chiming) If you disagree with me, be sure to comment in
the form of an objection, which I’ll either sustain or overrule. And I will pin the best comment that most thinks like a lawyer. Of course, stay until the end, when I give Miracle on 34th Street a grade for legal realism, and we settle once and
for all the question of whether there really
is a Santa Claus or not. So, without further adieu, let’s dig in to the original
Miracle on 24th Street. (band playing holiday music) Terrible Santa Claus. Oh, could be public intoxication. Big trouble. – She’s a little confused, and I thought maybe you could
help to straighten her out. – I’d be glad to. – Would you please tell her that you’re not really Santa Claus? That there actually is no such person. – Ugh, how dare she! – I disagree with you Mrs. Walker, but not only is there such a person, but here I am to prove it. – No, no, no, you misunderstand. I want you to tell her the truth. What’s your name? – Kris Kringle. I’ll bet you’re in the first grade. – Second. – I mean, your real name. – That is my real name. – So there is a
philosophical discussion here that this movie sort of skirts, which is, what does it
actually mean to be someone. What if your particular subjective belief about your own identity doesn’t comport with what
everybody else thinks. Is there such a thing as a platonic ideal of someone’s identity? These are some heady,
philosophical questions that I’m not even going to try to answer. But I think we should
probably keep that in mind as we delve into a trial over
one’s own personal identity. – Now, I want you to stand
with your feet together and your arms extended. – Then I want you to
muscular coordination test. Surely. Be glad to (chuckling). You know, sometimes the cause
of nervous habits like yours is not obvious. No, often they’re the
result of an insecurity. Are you happy at home Mr. Sawyer? – That will be all Mr. Kringle! The examination’s over, you may go. – I have to believe that having an on-staff
psychologist or therapist is pretty unusual in a department store. Even in the 1940s, it seems kind of weird to have
someone permanently on staff who does nothing but psychologically
evaluate your employees. You’re probably doing something wrong, creating a dangerous workplace, if you have to have a psychologist on hand in your department store. It seems a little weird. – I beg your pardon! – You’re job here, I understand, is to give intelligence tests. Passing yourself off as a psychologist. You ought to be horsewhipped. Taking a normal,
impressionable boy like Alfred, and filling him up with
complexes and phobias? – I think I’m better equipped
to judge that than you are. – Just because the boy wants to be good and kind to children, you tell him he has a guilt complex. – Having the same delusion, you couldn’t possibly understand. The boy is definitely maladjusted, and I’m helping him. – Maladjusted? You talk about maladjusted. Seems to me that the patient
is running the clinic here. – I won’t stand… Leave this office immediately. – Now either you stop– – Oh, he might be
trespassing at this point. – Straight to Mr. Macy and tell him what a malicious, contemptible fraud you are! – Get out before I’ll have you thrown out! – There’s only one way
to handle a man like you. You won’t listen to reason. You’re heartless. You have no humanity. – Are you going to leave? – Yes. (umbrella smacking forehead)
– Oh! – Oh boy! I thought if you were naughty
you got a lump of coal in your stocking, not bashed in the head with a cudgel. I think Santa might be
in some trouble here, because he has committed a
clear-cut case of battery. Battery is a simple tort
that only has two elements. Number one, you have to have intentional contact with a plaintiff’s body. And number two, that intentional contact must
produce some sort of injury. But in New York, where
this movie takes place, there are several
different kinds of battery, including aggravated battery. So, to figure out which
particular variety of battery Kris Kringle has committed here, we need to think like a lawyer. (upbeat tones) New York has several different varieties of assault and battery, the first of which is the least severe, which is assault in the third degree, or commonly called simple assault, which is causing someone harm
with the intent to do so. It doesn’t matter how
severe the injury is, so long as you have caused pain, you have made physical
contact with another person, without consent. That is a misdemeanor charge, which is punishable by
up to a year in jail. Now, the next type of assault is assault in the second degree, which generally you do by, again, making physical contact with someone, but with the intent to
do serious bodily harm, and actually committing
serious bodily harm; causing serious bodily harm in the victim. Not surprisingly, if you
commit second degree assault, because it is so much more severe, it carries with it a
much more severe penalty. Assault in the second
degree is a class D felony, and carries with it a
mandatory jail sentence. And then, finally, there is
assault in the first degree, which is the most severe form of assault, which is committed with the intent to disfigure or amputate the victim here. So it’s a very, very serious
penalty that carries with it a mandatory, multi-year sentence. So it is a big deal. But let’s put that aside for the moment, and just focus on the simple assault and potential second
degree assault charges against Santa Claus, Kris Kringle. Kris Kringle got into a heated argument with the fake psychiatrist. After basically yelling at each other, he picked up an umbrella, a hard object, and hit this psychiatrist
over the head with it. Under those circumstances, you might be able to conclude that he intended to
inflict serious bodily harm on the fake psychiatrist. On the other hand you might argue that since this is
ostensibly Santa Claus here, he did not intend to
seriously injure the man, but just to ring his bell and to cause him temporary suffering for what he has caused
the other little boy here. And you can see that the psychiatrist is not permanently harmed, and in fact malingers
and fakes the seriousness of his injury to get
sympathy from his coworkers. Which might militate in favor of it being a non-serious bodily injury, and really just being
unwanted physical contact, rather than the more severe penalties associated with assault
in the second degree. However, there is a complication here, because in New York, if you use a weapon, it is an automatic aggravation, from simple assault to
assault in the second degree. I think there is a reasonable argument that an umbrella, especially
the hard end of an umbrella, constitutes a weapon, and might take the simple assault from being unwanted physical conduct into the realm of second degree assault, which is a class D felony. So within the world of this movie, Kris Kringle has committed assault, and may be guilty of
felony aggravated assault in bopping the psychiatrist on the head with an umbrella. (umbrella smacking forehead)
– Oh! – Merry Christmas. – Henry, listen, I’m no legal brain trust. I don’t know a habeas from a corpus. But I do know politics. That’s my racket. I got ya elected, didn’t I? And I’m gonna try to get ya reelected. – I know Charley. – Judges are elected in
a lot of jurisdictions. It’s a big problem actually. – And I’m telling ya, get off this case. – Buy why? – Because you’re a regular Pontius Pilate the minute you start, that’s why. – Oh I don’t believe it! I’m an honest man, and nobody’s going to hold it against me for doing my duty as I see it. – This sort of does highlight
the problems that judges have in staying objective. There are a lot of political consequences associated with different outcomes, and it’s really difficult
to stay objective in these circumstances. – Hey.
(courtroom chatter) – Taking a cigar into court. Boy, those were the bad old days. – [Bailiff] Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye. All person having business
with the special term part three of the Supreme Court held in and for the county of New York. Draw near and give your
attendance and ye shall be heard. – So what’s happening here
is a motion by the state to involuntary commit someone, an elderly gentleman named Kris Kringle, to a mental institution. I actually had to look this up, because mental illness
law is not something that I practice with any frequency. And I thought it actually
might be a trope in movies that looks good but isn’t true, like quicksand, for example. However, what I found is that
there is actually a procedure in New York law, to be able to involuntary commit someone for a mental illness, both in the present day, and in 1947 when this movie came out. And, in fact, what it requires
is that the state prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the individual in question suffers from a mental illness that requires immediate inpatient care, without which it’s likely
to result in serious harm to that person or others around them. So, if those requirements are met, it is possible for the state of New York to involuntarily commit
someone to a mental institution for treatment. Now you know. Get out of the well, man! The bailiff will tackle you! – I said before you. Your honor, please, I should like to call the first witness. Mr. Kringle, will you take the stand? – His first witness is the defendant? – Mr. Kringle, you don’t have to answer any
questions against your wishes, or even testify at all. – We have no objection your honor. – Oh, I’ll be glad to answer
any question that I can. – So that was a huge strategic mistake. Kris Kringle here has
a fifth amendment right not to testify. And it’s common for a
lot of people to think, well, if you don’t have anything to hide, then you might as well take the stand. But that is the wrong way to look at it, because everyone has testimony that may come back to haunt them. And bad things can happen, based on your own testimony. So it is especially important where the state bears the burden of proof, not to give them ammunition. And here, we know that there
are skeletons in the closet, because Kris Kringle has
bashed someone over the head with the blunt end of an umbrella. He has committed assault. And, it’s possible he
committed felony assault against the fake psychiatrist. And in a hearing over whether
you present an immediate danger to yourself or others, that kind of testimony is going
to be very, very important, and in fact, that testimony alone might be enough to meet
the state’s burden here to show that he needs to
be committed involuntarily to a mental institution. – Where do you live? – That’s what this hearing will decide. (courtroom laughing) (gavel banging) – A very sound answer, Mr. Kringle. – The judge should not
be opining at this point. – You believe that you’re Santa Claus? – Of course. (chuckling) – But what does it mean to be Santa Claus? (upbeat tones) In a Cartesian way, the fact that he actually
thinks he is Santa Claus is a form of being Santa Claus. And, in fact, one who plays Santa Claus is a type of Santa Claus, perhaps a transitory or
temporary Santa Claus. I don’t know that this state
has made it’s burden here. I think it has a long way to go in arguing both the philosophical
and legal questions here. – State rests your honor. – Ooh. So at this point, what that means is that the state is not going to put on any more witnesses, and it’s not going to put
forward any more evidence. The only testimony that has come out is the testimony that’s come
by way of Kris Kringle himself. Which is crazy considering he could have put the fake
psychiatrist on the stand, to explain that he actually
was physically assaulted by Kris Kringle. That would’ve gone a long way
towards meeting his burden. All he is done is asked a few questions, which are ambiguous at best, to establish the mental state
of this individual person, and hasn’t had any testimony that goes to whether
he is a physical danger to himself or others. So at this point, I don’t think there’s any argument that the state has not made its burden. I think that many be intentional. The prosecutor (chuckling) probably doesn’t wanna ruin Christmas, the judge doesn’t wanna ruin Christmas, and face the ire of his grandchildren. So I think that he is
intentionally tanking this case to not go forward. – I believe he was employed
to play Santa Claus, perhaps he didn’t understand
the question correctly. – Oh, I understood the
question perfectly, your honor. (chuckling) – That doesn’t actually
solve anything though. He can understand it and the question can
still mean different things. – No further questions at this time. – Yeah, there should definitely not be any cross examination. – Thank you. (laughing) In view of this statement, do you still wish to put
in a defense, young man? – I do, your honor. – Ooh. So what the judge is
hinting at there (chuckling) is that the defense should not go forward, because the state has not made its burden. Instead, what the defense
really should have done here is filed for a directed verdict or a motion for judgment
as a matter of law, a JMOL. What those motions do is they signal to the
court that the person or entity that has the burden, in this case the State of New York, has not met their burden. Taking the evidence in
a light most favorable to the moving party, it doesn’t rise to the level of the thing that they have to prove. The state has the burden of proof. They have to prove that Kris
Kringle has a mental illness that is a danger to himself and others. They have not met their burden. It was a big mistake
by the self-proclaimed greatest lawyer in the world, to not stop this trial right here, because there’s no reason
this trial should continue. – Anyone who thinks he’s
Santa Claus is not sane! – Not necessarily. You believe yourself to be Judge Harper. Yet no one questions your sanity, because you are Judge Harper. – I know all about myself young man. (laughing) Mr. Kringle is the
subject of this hearing. – Yes, your honor. – All right, getting metaphysical. – And if he is the person
he believes himself to be, just as you are, then he’s just as sane. – Granted, but he isn’t. – Oh, but he is, your honor. – Is what? – I intend to prove that
Mr. Kringle is Santa Claus. (murmuring from courtroom) (laughing) – That’s very, very amusing, but a terrible defense strategy. He has now taken on an affirmative burden, which the law doesn’t put on him, and he has decided not to end this trial when it should have been ended, and decided to prove something that he doesn’t actually have to prove. Not a good strategy, when you’re sitting in a
winning position as a defense when the prosecution
hasn’t made their case. – Go in and get mother’s
scissors, will you? They’re in the bedroom. That’s a good boy. I don’t want you to discuss
this case in front of him. It would break his heart. And while we on the subject, I agree with the reporters. Mr. Kringle seems to be a nice old man, and I don’t see why you have
to keep persecuting him. Firstly, I am not persecuting him, I am prosecuting him. And secondly, I like the old man too! Wish I had never gotten into this. But it’s too late now and there’s
nothing I can do about it. It’s up to the State of New York, and I’m just their duly
appointed legal representative. Kringle has been declared
a menace to society by competent doctors, and it’s my duty to protect
the State of New York and see that he’s put away. No matter what they may say about me, I’ve got to do it. – I think the prosecutor does
have an ethical obligation to go forward with his
case as a zealous advocate for the State of New York, but on the other hand, he also has the ability to
dismiss this case entirely, and to drop the case. I don’t think the DA has to proceed. So that’s an interesting ethical quandary. I’m not sure which way that comes out in favor of the prosecutor here. I think he probably could
drop it if he wanted to. (courtroom muttering) – Psychologist. Where’d you graduate from, a correspondence school? You’re fired. – Ooh. And now he has a claim for retaliation. – Mr. Marrah seems to have
appointed himself to judge here, your honor. He’s now ruling on what
testimony I may introduce. – Your honor, we request an immediate
ruling from this court. Is there, or is there not, a Santa Claus? – So I actually think that this court may be constitutionally prohibited from weighing in on that question. Because remember, Santa
Claus is a religious figure, Saint Nicholas. And under the first amendment, courts cannot weight in
on religious decisions. Under the United States
Supreme Court Jurisprudence, specifically the US versus. Ballard case that came out in 1944, just three years before this movie did, courts are prohibited
under the first amendment from deciding religious questions. In other words, they cannot
decide the truth or falsity of any particular religious tenent. – And what about the Salvation Army? Why, they’ve got a Santa
Claus on every corner, and they take in a fortune. But you go ahead Henry, you do it your way. You go on back in there and tell ’em that your rule there’s no Santy Claus. Go on! But if you do, remember this: you can count on getting just two votes. Your own, and that district
attorney’s out there. – The judge really shouldn’t
be in this situation at all. Because most judges ascribe
to the judicial canon that the court should only
decide the minimum number of questions that are absolutely necessary for the resolution of the case at hand. And here, the judge doesn’t
actually have to weigh in on this question. The court, really, should just say that the prosection
has not met its burden, not weigh in on the larger question of whether there is a Santa Claus or not. – Can he produce any evidence
to support his views? – If, your honor, please, I can. Will Thomas Marrah please take the stand. – Who, me? – Thomas Marrah junior.
(courtroom muttering) – They gave him a subpoena (laughing). Well, if you’re going to
call the prosecutor’s son, you have to subpoena them. – Do you believe in Santa Claus, Tommy? – Sure I do. He gave me a brand new
flexible flyer sled last year. And this year– – And what does he look like? – There is he, sitting there!
(courtroom laughing) – Your honor, I protest! – He has a positive ID. – Overruled. – Overruled. – Tell me, Tommy, why are you so sure this is Santa Claus? – Because my daddy told me so. (courtroom laughing) Didn’t you daddy? – Hearsay. – And you believe your
daddy, don’t you Tommy? – Should be objecting here. Also, he should be fighting like hell to prevent his son from testifying here. That’s totally improper. But, adorable. – He’s a very honest man. – ‘Course he is. My daddy wouldn’t tell me
anything that wasn’t so. Would you daddy? (courtroom laughing) – Thank you Tommy. – No cross-examination? – Goodbye daddy. (laughing) – Your honor, the State of New York concedes the existence of Santa Claus. (laughing) – Oh, that may be an ethical
issue for him right there. But he shouldn’t have conceded, he should have just dropped the case. There wouldn’t have been
any precedential value in this particular trial, if the DA just gave up prosecuting it and withdrew the motion to
commit the defendant here. This is a problem of their own creation. – I therefore request
that Mr. Gailey now submit authoritative proof, that Mr. Kringle is the
one and only Santa Claus. – That’s not a legal standard. There’s no such thing
as authoritative proof. There is proof, and you
have to meet your burden, generally speaking here, proof by preponderance of the evidence. But there’s no such thing as
quote, authoritative proof. – Your honor, I’m sure we’re all gratified to know that the post office
department is doing so nicely, but it hardly has any
bearing on this case. – It has a great deal, your honor, if I may be allowed to proceed. – By all means, Mr. Gailey. – Your honor, the figures I have just quoted indicate an efficiently run organization. Furthermore, the United States
postal laws and regulations make it a criminal offense
to wailfully misdirect mail, or intentionally deliver
it to the wrong party. – So there is something
called the supremacy clause in the US constitution, that requires that where the
federal government has acted that preempts state law
contradictory action on that particular point. But, on the other hand, it
does create a precedence. State laws and courts rely on regulations from the federal government, not for their preclusive effect, but often for their authority
in very different cases. For example, if a state
court is deciding a matter or first impression, it will often rely on
federal court decisions, or administrative decisions
of the federal government, in crafting its opinion, because while it’s not
bound by those decisions, it can use those opinions
and decisions and regulations as persuasive authority. If the federal government
has decided something, it lends a great deal
of credence to the idea that that is what should actually happen in a matter of first impression before the state court. So what’s happening here, relying on the post office, presumably the administrative
decision of the post office, has a ring of truth to it. State court judges to that all the time. – I have further exhibits your honor, but I hesitate to produce them. – Oh, I’m sure we’ll be
very happy to see them. – Yes, yes, yes. Produce them Mr. Gailey. Put them here on my desk. – But your honor– – Put them here on the desk. Put them. – [Mr. Gailey] Yes, your honor. (courtroom muttering) – That’s what we call the
overwhelming weight of authority. (comedic drums) (dog whimpering) (upbeat music) All right, now it’s time to
give this holiday classic a grade for legal realism. (gavel banging) It’s been a long time
since I’ve seen this movie, and I’m delighted to see
all the legal accuracies. The hearing, regarding mental commitment is both based in law and
largely factually correct. The legal arguments are
inventive, but somewhat realistic. However, on the other side,
they gloss over the fact that Santa Claus committed assault, that he waived his fifth amendment rights, and kinda screwed up some of
the constitutional arguments. But this is a clear holiday classic, so I’m going to give this
wonderful holiday movie three candy canes. It’s so wonderful, I don’t
see how I can give it anything less than that. And on the question of whether there really
is a Santa Claus or not. Well, as an officer of the court, I am bound by Supreme Court precedence, and I can’t lose my impartiality. But I will say this, if the real Santa Claus is out there, and you’re looking for the
best attorney in the world, I will represent you pro bono. So happy holidays legal eagles. And until next time, I’ll see you in court.

Stephen Childs

100 Comments

  1. As always, the comment that best "thinks like a lawyer" in the first week will get pinned! Check out my other reactions here: https://goo.gl/mmzShz

  2. I object …while you may be stating " Get out of the Well, Man !…the Bailiff will tackle you ! " in semi-jest, in reality , the Bailiff would only resort to physically tackling someone if he ( or she ) thought that the person entering the Well was intending to do some sort of harm to either the judge or someone in the jury box. At least I would hope they would reserve their tackling maneuver to only situations where it was necessary.

  3. OBJECTION! Santa Claus is NOT a religious figure, but a fictional character based on a religious figure. Saying the court cannot weigh in on his existence is like claiming that the court can't rule on the existence of Superman because he's based on Moses.

  4. I love that you always state the different standards of evidence!

  5. OBJECTION! Speculation on an on-staff psychologist. How does he know whether it is out of the ordinary or a sign of bad business practice?

  6. I love this stuff!!!! Now please turn your Legal Eagle eyes on The Wizard of Oz!!l The Wizard runs Oz so I can imagine that your sharp mind can find good legal issues in the film!

  7. This is what you can easily google and find on wikipedia : "Saint Nicholas of Myra, also known as Nicholas of Bari, was an early Christian bishop of the ancient Greek maritime city of Myra in Asia Minor during the time of the Roman Empire. He is revered by many Christians as a saint. Wikipedia"
    This movie makes no sense. You are welcome.

  8. actually your videos (which I've watched 4 so far, actually really good and thought provoking) is really showing me as a curious person that the world needs more lawyers. The a practicing attorney can make more of a difference than 100 beat cops. Which ironically I found out that there is no correlation of a increased police presence reducing crime. It actually doesn't reduce crime at all. Anyways you have just earned yourself another subscriber.

  9. Objection! Misquotes the Evidence! The US does not comment on religious figures: in order to qualify as a saint the person must be deceased, the person testifying is not deceased therefore cannot be the religious figure stated: Saint Nicholas.

    Objection! Assumes facts, not in evidence! This trial was to ascertain the identity of a man named Kris Kringle, not Saint Nick, a deceased historical figure, a different person. Unless the defense can prove that Saint Nick and Kris Kringle are one and the same, the prohibition of the US government opining on religious matters does not apply.

  10. So, I've watched a couple videos of yours because they keep popping up in my recommend. A few laughs here and there, some definite knowledge gained. But my first real, hard laugh came from the 'Enjoys living on Hard Mode' caption came up. That was hilarious.

  11. What are your opinions about Harvard's firing of Ronald Sullivan?

  12. Who on Earth taught that guy on how to use a whip? Seriously I'm an amateur and I'm better than that pillock.

  13. Objection! No jury in New York would buy that a simple umbrella handle constitutes an actual weapon. At best, it would leave a minor bruise. I would argue that the court wouldn't try this as a serious felony (especially by an old man of little strength who has no history of assault & battery) & would at best, & keep it a misdemeanor. He should receive a fine, and apologize to the defendant. On a completely unrelated side issue, has anyone ever told you you look amazingly like Alexander Siddig? The actor who plays Dr. Julian Bashir from Star Trek's Deep Space Nine?

  14. If you are going to legal analysis on a TV show, how about Perry Mason, any of them. I know there are nine seasons of over 30 episodes each, but pick some. I would be interested in what you think.

  15. Question. Does the statement "sue me" or somthing to that affect have any reprocusions in court if that person ends up sueing? Like saying sorry at a car wreck even if it was not your fault.

  16. objection on last few words about what you would have done. we know Santa Claus in the "north pole, ho ho ho" format, but there is another way. when you give a gift on Christmas, don't you, in a way, become Santa Claus? you are doing exactly what Santa Claus is said to do. When someone says "I am Santa Claus", they could be referring to that

  17. Technically Santa did exist. HIs name was Saint Nicolas of Myra. The "Santa Claus" legends and myths are based on Nicolas of Mrya, and mixed with the legends. He had a reputation for secretly giving gifts of toys to children at a time when toys and games were considered "sinful" by the Roman Catholic Church.

  18. You don't think Santa hurts people? You must not be from Europe.. He has a friend who eats naughty children

  19. Objection why the other lawyer doesn't object and say well the judge identity isn't being proven here and the judge mental state

  20. Could it be argued that Santa Clause was defending himself from an angry fake psychologist? He was told to go to this meeting by his employer he should expect a professional experience from a licensed medical professional.

  21. You heard it here folks if you're accused of a crime claim to be Santa Claus.

  22. Objection: The procecutor can't use the fake psychiatrist's testimony because the cross examination would reveal his practicing without a license. Sure, he could take the fifth. But he's not the defendant. There's no rule his taking the fifth can't be used use against him when weighing the evidence in this case.

  23. Question:
    What do you call 500 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?

    Answer:

    A good start.

  24. OBJECTION! Creation of material fact! You stated in your presentation that Santa was guilty of battery, but in your grading you stated that they glossed over the fact that Santa committed assault. (Loss of credibility as a witness). 😉

  25. I think someone else mentioned it, but you should do God’s Not Dead 2. It’s honestly a ridiculous movie (this is coming from a Christian) but I think it kind of relates to the religious figure problem with Santa Claus in this video. I would just be curious to know if any of the charges and/or arguments made in the movie are even remotely accurate.

  26. Objection: Confirming whether or not this man is Saint Nicholas isn't a religious matter; they aren't attempting to prove religious belief. Saint Nicholas was a real man, and all they would have to prove is that he is that very person or not.
    (Beware the following wall of text)

    There's also the fact that this supposed Santa claims that his name is Kris Kringle, but the actual saint never would've been known by that name in his life, and not for many hundreds of years following his official death. The actual Saint Nicholas of Myra was a 3rd-4th century Greek man born in the year 270 and is certified as having died in the year 342, while the moniker "Kris Kringle" is originally a regional American invention that only became commonplace around 1845, over one millennium later; although it's notable that in New York, he was still known as Santa Claus and St. Nicholas, while Kris Kringle derived from a Pennsylvania Dutch word "Krishkinkle".
    If this person is indeed a Greek man who has lived since the 3rd/4th century, wouldn't a test need to be conducted to prove that fact? In this case, it isn't really a matter of religion, but simply confirming the identity of a man claiming to be someone who would be around 1677 years old by the time the film took place, 1947. For all we know, he could simply be a man from Pennsylvania who acted as a gift giver and is simply endowed with the longevity to live just around 100 years or so. Ultimately proving whether or not he is the person he claims to be isn't religious belief, but it is a tangible matter of identity. How they could prove his age with 1947 science, I'm not sure, but there is potentially some possible way to pursue that.

    However, given he cites his name as Kris Kringle and he happens to be in the northeastern US rather than anywhere else in the world where his image is venerated, it's possible for the opposition to his claim to say that he's a Pennsylvania Dutch man who was either given the name at birth or adopted it as some point in his life. His age at the time of the events of this film are consistent with being young or born around the time the name "Kris Kringle" would've taken off. This is actually furthered by the fact that he speaks Dutch to a girl while acting as a department store Santa; hardly a language that would prove he's a man who delivers gifts to all the children in the world, but rather that this girl happened to speak a language commonly spoken in areas of northeastern US for generations, where he'd likely have been born and raised; it'd have more likely supported his claim as being Saint Nicholas if he had to speak Greek to a child. It's likely he has lived long enough in this belief that he also equates himself with the seasonal figure of Santa Claus, who is a hodgepodge of Saint Nicholas of Christian belief and the Jolfadr of Norse/Germanic folk belief; thus Santa Claus technically is not a religious figure, but a commercial one, as "Santa Claus" is not actually found in Christian texts, and Christian doctrine observes Christmas very differently than is typically observed (no decorations, no old man with a sleigh pulled by reindeer, no Scandinavian elves making toys, etc.)

    If we did want to prove that Santa Claus did exist, with the figure being more grounded in the Jolfadr (Yule Father) than with any valid Christian text, proving his existence begs to question how one approaches Scandinavian/Germanic folk belief rather than the legally acknowledged institutions of Christianity. If they pursued that in 1947, would they have regarded Norse/Germanic pagan beliefs as an actual religion unto itself for it to conflict with laws against meddling in religious affairs?

  27. "dont talk about the case in front of the kid"
    proceeds to talk about the case in front of the kid

  28. Santa Claus is real. He was born in 270 AD and his bones are in a church in Italy.

  29. Good day Attorney. I'm from Philippines and I like your videos. It gives me more knowledge about the American Law. Please continue uploading videos and more powers to you.

  30. That whole lawsuit seemed like two toddlers playing chess until Santa’s lawyer dragged in the letters

  31. You are correct about the involuntary commitment to a psychiatric care facility. In Maine, it is AKA "blue papering" the person because the documents that must be filed are colored blue. I used to work at a psychiatric hospital and saw many a time that a person was involuntarily committed because they were a danger to themselves or others.

  32. You have great videos. Have you thought about doing Inherit the Wind or To Kill a Mockingbird?

  33. One thing I'm curious about is the fake psychiatrist, Obviously he is guilty of practising without license.
    But if he did lay assault charges on Mr Kringle for the assault that occurred in his Practice. In this situation would the fact that the "psychiatrist" was practising without licence and therefore being deceptive to Mr Kringle. Would this have any baring on this case?

  34. Can you believe everyone mansplaining about that male being hit over the head with a weapon, being battery?
    Those pathetic whining male pissbabies.

  35. Objection: No Scrooge am I either, but giving this movie "three candy-canes" side-steps your obligation to give a graded report on "legal realism! I hereby give your review of the ST TNG episode regarding Data's right to personhood "Three Tribbles!"

  36. Objection! At 4:07, sorely missed opportunity to deliver the joke "I thought if you were naughty, you got a lump of coal in your stocking, not a lump on the head!"

  37. So, as far as legal accuracy goes… it's mostly all accurate, but the characters just made some unwise decisions?

  38. Cogito, ergo sum does not mean that believing to be somebody proves that identity.
    It meanst, that only a person who exists, is capable of thinking, thus it proves that the thinker exists, in opposite of, say, being a dream dreamed by a butterfly. If you can doubt your own existence, you are already thinking in a way which is only possible to a creature with with a brain. If you can answer your own question without a pre-determined answer, you are sentient since you have to understand the nature of the thinking process itself, the meaning of being a person, and be aware of ones own process of thinking.

  39. Objection you are judging Mister Kringle by today's laws and not the laws of 1943

  40. Public holidays and all associated characters are a part of tradition.

    Traditions cannot be invoked to contravene rights. You cannot sue (the real) Santa Claus.

  41. Objection: That isn't what Descartes meant by, "I think; therefore, I am." He meant that his ability to observe his own thoughts served as evidence for his existence.

  42. In Texas, the state can involuntarily commit someone to a mental facility if they are found to be a serious threat to themselves or others. But only for 72 hours. And they mean it. A judge comes everyday (weekends, holidays) to review any cases.

  43. Objection. Giving the movie a higher grade because it’s a holiday classic is an impartial decision so I call for a mistrial because of this clear impartial decision

  44. Objection: When asking someone why they have a belief, hearsay is admissible for the purposes of establishing the belief system. It does not rely on the truth of the statement, only that the witness believes it.

  45. Objection. The judge's asking Mr Gailey if he still wants to go forward was suggesting that the case is lost, since Kris admitted to being Santa Claus, and therefore immediately needs to be put away. Kris proved at once that he is insane (for the purpose of the movie) with the "of course!" that stopped the prosecutor cold. The state met its burden. Remember that the prosecutor never expected Kris to admit it and that both sides would need to bring witnesses, from the earlier scene.

  46. If we were to judge parents, most of them would be sentenced with 3rd to 2nd degree assault 😂😂

  47. Suggestions:
    – The Verdict – Paul Newman, James Mason
    – Anatomy of a Murder – Jimmy Stewart, Lee Remick

  48. Objection! Strictly speaking, by tradition, it was not Santa Claus who delivered the lumps of coal. It was, in fact, the Krampus, a goatman who was the companion of St. Nicholas, brandishing birch rods, and his punishments could range from a hiding with one of the rods, all the way to straight up taking the child to hell directly.

    The Lump of Coal thing is a marketing invention of the early 1900s, when Santa was getting a resurgence as a tool of marketing, and so, they ditched the Krampus, and just had naughty kids get lumps of coal in their stockings.

  49. Medical records show %100 of umbrella caused TIPI cases result in death. The umbrella is also of the more common objects to cause TIPI’s. I’d move to classify the umbrella as a deadly weapon.

  50. Point of order: Belief in Bolshevism was declared a mental illness in the United States as a tactic to have foreign agitators deported for health reasons. A department store would hire a fake psychiatrist for the sole purpose of disbanding unions by having its leaders fired for mental incompetence

  51. For a split second at the end I thought he was going to recommend that, if Santa's suit got damaged delivering presents, he might want to try Indochino. 👍

  52. Is Santaclaus a religious figure? I know he comes from Saint Nicholas, but I didn't think people worshiped Saint Nicholas

  53. Is there a difference between “Is there REALLY a Santa Claus?” and “Is there LEGALLY a Santa Claus?”

  54. There is an old English law from either the 16th or 17th century that is a part of American law that states ethereal and metaphysical evidence are inadmissible in a court of law. The defence could have pushed for dismissal of the case on the grounds that Santa Claus is a metaphysical being or the judge could have thrown out the case on those same grounds.

  55. I wanted to know what the law was on a minor being used as a witness.

  56. Hey LegalEagle: If contact must result in serious bodily harm to qualify as battery, wouldn't that mean that a certain motorcyclist would be innocent of the charges of battery that you leveled against him?

  57. I was in Walmart, bemoaning to my woman the loss of my workshop when I said, "I'm a jolly, toymaking fat guy, I AM Santa," and a six-year-old boy in the aisle with us clenched up — bear in mind, no one's ever seen me and Santa in the same room, just saying.

  58. Objection: it's been 7 months and you still haven't pinned anyone but yourself.

  59. The remake then does a double goof by trying to prove a religious figure Santa Claus and using the quote on the dollar bill "In God We Trust." The nation was founded by Christians, but it's not the only religion. Then what about polytheism? It's not a good idea to tell powerful beings that they're not trustworthy.

  60. This was prior to the Miranda ruling, so was he really able to waive his Fifth Amendment rights, if he was not informed about them in the first place?

  61. Objection: The statement of the prosecutor's son should not be considered hearsay. He is being asked to testify not about the existence of Santa Claus, but about the source of his own belief in Santa Claus. I believe the prosecutor should object on the basis that the testimony is both irrelevant and prejudicial.

  62. 0:44 "I will pin the comment that best thinks like a lawyer" *pins his own comment* you've got a bit of an ego there mister lawyer.

  63. "It's a holiday classic! Sue me." …Coming from a lawyer…

    …I see what you did there.

  64. You could use Santa Claus as a metaphor for trans people in a lot of these scenes.

  65. OBJECTION!

    This movie takes place in the 1940s, therefore the examination should be based off of rules and regulations then, not now.

  66. Are we taking into account that Santa Claus is not a US citizen? At least not by birth… he's either Greek, Turkish, Canadian or possibly Finnish

  67. I don't care how legally inaccurate it is, "The State of New York concedes the existence of Santa Claus" remains one of the funniest lines ever recorded on film.

  68. I know I'm a bit late, but you mention the Supremacy Clause and the post office. It turns out, some of my relatives did work in the Post Office and USPS, so I got to learn quite a bit about it: Up until 1970, the Post Office Department carried a very different legal weight than today's USPS. The postmaster who would have had to authorize such mail movement was a presidential appointee and confirmed by the Senate, giving them much of the legal authority of the executive branch, just as if today the US Attorney General's office stated that a man was Santa Clause.

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