In a murder trial, the defendant says he suffered temporary insanity after the victim raped his wife. What is the truth, and will he win his case?
Parnell Emmett McCarthy: Twelve people go off into a room: twelve different minds, twelve different hearts, from twelve different walks of life; twelve sets of eyes, ears, shapes, and sizes. And these twelve people are asked to judge another human being as different from them as they are from each other. And in their judgment, they must become of one mind - unanimous. It's one of the miracles of Man's disorganized soul that they can do it, and in most instances, do it right well. God bless juries.
Judge Weaver: Now, Mr. Dancer, get off the panties. You've done enough damage.
Lt. Frederick Manion: How can a jury disregard what it's already heard? Paul Biegler: [shaking head] They can't, lieutenant. They can't.
Maida Rutledge: If this refrigerator gets any more fish in it, it will swim upstream and spawn all by itself.
Paul Biegler: As a lawyer, I've had to learn that people aren't just good or just bad. People are many things.
Judge Weaver: One judge is quite like another. The only differences may be in the state of their digestions or their proclivities for sleeping on the bench. For myself, I can digest pig iron. And while I might appear to doze occasionally, you will find that I am easily awakened, particularly if shaken gently by a good lawyer with a nice point of law.
Parnell Emmett McCarthy: [eyeing an empty liquor bottle] You fought this soldier by yourself. You've been drinking alone, Paulie. I don't like that. Paul Biegler: Drop the stone, Counsellor. You live in a glass house. Parnell Emmett McCarthy: My windows have been busted a long time ago, so I can say what I please.
Paul Biegler: Mr. Paquette, what would you call a man with an insatiable penchant for women? Alphonse Paquette: A what? Paul Biegler: A penchant... a desire... taste... passion? Alphonse Paquette: Well, uh, ladies' man, I guess. Or maybe just a damn fool! [laughter in the courtroom] Judge Weaver: Just answer the questions, Mr. Paquette. The attorneys will provide the wisecracks.
Paul Biegler: You're fired. Maida Rutledge: You can't fire me until you pay me.
Paul Biegler: If you do that one more time, I'll punch you all the way out into the middle of Lake Superior!
Paul Biegler: I'm just a humble country lawyer trying to do the best I can against this brilliant prosecutor from the big city of Lansing.
[Judge Weaver has stopped the testimony by Detective Sergeant James Durgo, State Police, and called the lawyers to his bench] Judge Weaver: Mr. Biegler, you finally got your rape into the case, and I think all the details should now be made clear to the jury. What exactly was the undergarment just referred to? Paul Biegler: Panties, Your Honor. Judge Weaver: Do you expect this subject to come up again? Paul Biegler: Yes, Sir. Judge Weaver: There's a certain light connotation attached to the word "panties." Can we find another name for them? Mitch Lodwick: I never heard my wife call 'em anything else. Judge Weaver: Mr. Biegler? Paul Biegler: I'm a bachelor, Your Honor. Judge Weaver: That's a great help. Mr. Dancer? Claude Dancer: When I was overseas during the war, Your Honor, I learned a French word. I'm afraid that might be slightly suggestive. Judge Weaver: Most French words are.
Paul Biegler: [after cross-examining a convicted felon] Your Honor, I don't think I can dignify this - -creature - - with any more questions.
Lt. Frederick Manion: [Roars at "Duke" Miller, who has just given his testimony] You're a *liar!* You're a *lousy, stinking liar!* Paul Biegler: I apologize to the court for my client's outburst. But it's almost excusable, since the prosecution has seen fit to put a felon on the stand to testify against an officer in the United States Army.
Judge Weaver: For the benefit of the jury, but more especially for the spectators, The garment mentioned in the testimony was, to be exact, Mrs. Manion's panties. [spectators roar with laughter] Judge Weaver: I wanted to get your snickering over and done with. This pair of panties will be mentioned again over the course of this trial, & when it is, there will not be one laughter, one snicker, one giggle or even one smirk in my courtroom. There is nothing comic about a pair of panties that resulted in the violent death of one man, & the possible incarceration of another.
Paul Biegler: All right, the cat's out of the bag; it's fair game for me to chase it!
Judge Weaver: [as Biegler leaves the courtroom momentarily] Judge Weaver... let's not make a Federal Case out of this. [followed by impish grin]
Laura Manion: You're tall! [talking to Paul Biegler while walking to the jail] Laura Manion: .
Parnell Emmett McCarthy: You know I used to think the world looked better through a glass of whiskey. It doesn't. I think I'll keep it this way. Looks nice.
Parnell Emmett McCarthy: Did you give the lieutenant the Well-Known Lecture? Paul Biegler: If you mean, did I coach him into a phony story, no. Parnell Emmett McCarthy: Maybe you're too pure, Paul. Too pure for the natural impurities of the law.
Paul Biegler: The prosecution would like to separate the motive from the act. Well, that's like trying to take the core from an apple without breaking the skin.
Lt. Frederick Manion: Wanted: the Big Ten. Hey. They've got the ten best-dressed dames, the ten top teams, the ten top tunes, and now the ten most wanted. Paul Biegler: Well, don't knock it. That's the American Dream. Those boys made The Grade.
Parnell Emmett McCarthy: Gin!... I knew there was something wrong with that guy. I never met a gin drinker yet that you could trust
Parnell Emmett McCarthy: The lieutenant goes to Quill's place and plugs Mr. Quill about five times, which causes Mr. Quill to promptly die of lead poisoning.