But Did the Defendant Come in Through the Bathroom Window?

As a member of a Memphis rock cover band that plays several Beatles songs and a huge Beatles fan, I have a special appreciation for Montana Judge Gregory R. Todd’s order in a 2007 criminal case.

After the defendant pleaded guilty to burglary, he was asked to fill out portions of a pre-sentence investigation report. In response to the question, “Give your recommendation as to what you think the Court should do in this case,” the defendant replied, “Like the Beetles say, ‘Let It Be.’”

Judge Todd took issue with both the defendant’s apparent plea for leniency and also his misspelling of the name of the Beatles, for whom Judge Todd obviously has great fondness. The judge penned a caustic sentencing memorandum, written to the defendant, that managed to work in the titles of thirty-nine Beatles songs:

Act Naturally

Baby It’s You

Bad Boy

Carry That Weight

Come Together

Day in the Life

Do You Want to Know a Secret?

Fixing a Hole

Fool on the Hill

Get Back

Hard Day’s Night

Hello Goodbye

Help

Here, There and Everywhere

Hey Jude

Honey Don’t

I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party

I Feel Fine

I Should Have Known Better

I, Me, Mine

I’ll Cry Instead

I’ll Get You

I’m a Loser

Let It Be

Long and Winding Road

Magical Mystery Tour

Misery

Mr. Moonlight

Nowhere Man

Run for Your Life

Something

Strawberry Fields Forever

The Word

Think for Yourself

Ticket to Ride

Wait

We Can Work It Out

When I’m 64

You Really Got a Hold on Me

Here’s a taste from the last paragraph of the memorandum:

Later when you thought about what you did, you may have said I’ll Cry Instead. Now you’re saying Let It Be instead of I’m A Loser. As a result of your Hard Day’s Night, you are looking at a Ticket To Ride that Long and Winding Road to Deer Lodge. Hopefully you can say both now and When I’m 64 that I Should Have Known Better.

Judge, what can I say, but Thank You Girl, er rather, Your Honor. Til There Was You, most judicial opinions were just so Yesterday. I hope we have a chance to Come Together for lunch or Something. Why? Well, just Because.

State v. McCormack, No. DC06-0323, Montana Thirteenth Judicial District, Yellowstone County, Feb. 26, 2007. Thanks to Pat Smith.

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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