Today in 1912, New Mexico became the 47th state in the US.
And so far, it’s the only one where a state lawmaker tried to make expert witnesses dress like wizards in court.
This was proposed in 1995 by New Mexico State Senator Duncan Scott.
According to the University of Cincinnati Law Review, Scott thought there was an excessive number of psychiatrists showing up in court cases to testify as expert witnesses.
So, he introduced a very tongue-in-cheek solution, as you can see from the text:
When a psychologist or psychiatrist testifies during a defendant’s competency hearing, the psychologist or psychiatrist shall wear a cone-shaped hat that is not less than two feet tall. The surface of the hat shall be imprinted with stars and lightning bolts. Additionally, a psychologist or psychiatrist shall be required to don a white beard that is not less than 18 inches in length, and shall punctuate crucial elements of his testimony by stabbing the air with a wand. Whenever a psychologist or psychiatrist provides expert testimony regarding a defendant’s competency, the bailiff shall contemporaneously dim the courtroom lights and administer two strikes to a Chinese gong…
This is obviously some unusual legislation, but what’s even weirder is that the New Mexico Senate actually approved the amendment by a unanimous vote.
That’s as far as the proposal got: the New Mexico House took up the full bill minus the wizard amendment, so it never became law.
And Scott returned to the private sector the following year, so he didn’t bring up his amendment again.
As such, psychiatrists have not had to put on cone-shaped hats and white beards and hold wands while testifying in court in New Mexico.
Tomorrow in Yuma, Arizona, the Yuma Medjool Date Festival.
Local growers will have plenty of dates to sample and enjoy, sometimes in some very unusual recipes.
You can go by yourself or bring a date.
Odd Law Alert: New Mexico Expert Wizard Amendment (University of Cincinnati Law Review)