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Monday, Dec. 23, 2002

Dear Santa,

I realize that in these tough economic times, you are inundated with letters from people asking you for special favors. Unfortunately, this is another of those letters.

However, I'm not asking you for anything for myself. Rather, I am asking for your help in improving the fates of a number of what I refer to as legally-challenged individuals.

I am hoping that you will be receptive to this request, considering that you yourself seem to get several breaks from our legal system. For instance, by my rough estimate, you committed 100 million acts of criminal trespass last Christmas Eve alone and yet, you did not receive so much as a parking ticket.

If the average citizen were to put on a red suit and make his way down his neighbors' chimneys, he'd spend the next 3-5 Christmases in the pokey. The defense that he was only there "to leave them gifts" would probably not be too successful.

But you Santa, continue to walk free. What is the reason? Is it reindeer payoffs? Elf corruption? Santa, as your potential lawyer, I don't want to know, but I've got to tell you: You're in dire need of legal help, or the candy canes won't be the only things wearing stripes in this jurisdiction.

In fact, Santa, I've noticed that you seem to be generally exempt from many of the laws that affect the rest of us. For instance, I suspect that you didn't claim any of the cookies left out for you by children as income on your 1040 last year. Likewise, I find it hard to believe that your sleigh satisfies FAA guidelines, or that your factory is in compliance with current OSHA standards.

The North Pole is not a law-free zone, Santa, whatever you may think, and you have enough contacts in virtually every jurisdiction, thanks to your long "gift" list, that you could probably be hauled into court anywhere in the world. Only a great lawyer - say, myself - could possibly save you.

Now, please don't get me wrong, Santa. I'm not threatening to call the authorities and initiate an investigation into your business practices (though I know you do discriminate against the naughty). I'm merely requesting that, in light of your special status under the law, you make a few extra stops this Christmas Eve, to help some of the more legally-challenged citizens among us.

For instance, you could stop at the LA County Jail to give Robert Blake a new alibi for Christmas. Let's face it, Blake's "I left my gun in the restaurant" alibi is about as persuasive as David Westerfield's "They Were Swingers!" defense. After all, not many restaurants have a "gun check" room.

Also, while you're in the area, can you stop over at Winona Ryder's house and slip a few American Express cards in her stocking? Of course, you will have to make sure that these cards have substantial credit limits to afford Ms. Ryder's $6,500 "shopping" sprees. If that's asking too much, perhaps you could simply leave her one of your oversized sacks. I'm sure she would make good use of it.

A few more gift suggestions for those who need them most:

For Martha Stewart, currently under investigation for possible insider trading: A one-way ticket to Chile (or the non-extradition jurisdiction of her choice).

For the now-freed Central Park jogger defendants: Years of their lives back.

For Ted Williams: An Icee machine for sustenance, over the long wait until he's unfrozen.

For detained U.S. citizens Jose Padilla and Yaser Hamdi: "I became a citizen, and all I got was enemy combatant status" T-shirts.

For professional athletes, a game of Monopoly, complete with Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free Card. In the last year, they've been arrested for everything from assault to drunk driving to tearing the tag off the mattress. Just last month, three members of the Portland Trailblazers were arrested in a single week. They need that card, Santa, or the only trail they'll be blazing is to the pokey.

For indicted or soon-to-be-indicted corporate executives and investment bankers, who've attempted their own "takeover" of the prison system: a special Johnnie Cochran talking doll. When you pull the string in the back, it says, "This is a rush to judgment! If the numbers do not add, that's just too bad!" This doll could save literally millions of dollars in attorneys' fees, Santa. Unlike you, Santa, Mr. Cochran cannot be everywhere at once.

For Trent Lott, subscriptions to Ebony and Jet magazines. Perhaps, these magazines will help him to understand why African Americans were not big supporters of Strom Thurmond's 1948 bid for the presidency.

For the people suing fast food restaurants for making them fat, a sense of personal responsibility. After all, cheeseburgers don't kill people; people do.

Santa, I know that I'm asking a lot of you this Christmas, but these legally-challenged individuals could really use your help. And you should empathize with them, because I have to break it to you that you too, Santa, are legally challenged.

With every household in America as a potential plaintiff in the trespass suit against you, you are possibly looking at the largest class action ever. You need a lawyer, and Santa, I can be that lawyer. But not if you're naughty; only if you're nice.

With that said, I thank you in advance for your assistance this Christmas, and wish you a happy and indictment-free New Year.


Sean Carter, Esquire
Humorist at Law

P.S.We could really use a big-screen television at the Carter household this year.

Sean Carter is a lawyer, stand-up comedian and the author of If It Does Not Fit, Must You Acquit? -- Your Humorous Guide to the Law. He can be reached at

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