LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — When it was released 25 years ago Monday ‘My Cousin Vinny’ probably wasn’t predicted to be the timeless comedy classic it is today. Nor did anyone expect it to be a teaching tool for law schools, attorneys and judges.
The film starred Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei about a brash, New Yorker and inexperienced lawyer, who drops into a small Southern town to get his cousin off on a murder charge. Tomei, played the sassy fiance of Vincent Gambini (Pesci) and won a best supporting actor Oscar.
A federal appeals court on Friday ruled against five people prosecuted for protesting inside the court in 2015, upholding a law the demonstrators argued was unconstitutionally vague in prohibiting “loud” language, or making a “harangue” or “oration.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia used the 1992 movie “My Cousin Vinny” to explain why the law was clear, quoting a line from movie Judge Chamberlain Haller.
“Don’t talk to me sitting in that chair!” Haller, played by Fred Gwynne, tells lawyer Vinny Gambini, played by Joe Pesci. “When you’re addressing this court, you’ll rise and speak to me in a clear, intelligible voice.”
Judge Janice Rogers Brown, writing for a three-judge panel, was making the point that the protesters’ actions could be considered public speeches that disrupted court proceedings.
A federal judge ruled in 2015 that the words “harangue” and “oration” are too vague for people to understand, but said the word “loud” was clear enough. But the appeals court upheld the entire law, saying its intent is clear.
Recent tweets show how the film is a hit with legal professionals.
(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press contributed to this report.)