Ham Sandwich: Most Indicted Food Item Ever

Posted on June 26, 2008


Several blog entries can be made over the recent lawsuit by the citizens against county commissioners and former county commissioners and their advisors. (Click here for link).  But I have not read it, so I can’t speak on it.  Instead, I want to focus on the comments by our mayor,  Larry Langford, who said “You can sue a ham sandwich.”

This was the second time the mayor has used the sandwich reference.
Indeed he used it earlier this year when he was indicted by the SEC.
(See video) This, of course, begs the question of precisely how many different
bodies can invoke proceedings against a ham sandwich.  According to the
mayor’s count, we are up to two — the SEC and the citizens of Jefferson
County, but I digress.

After contemplating a "Ham Sandwich sues Langford blog," I began to
look into the history of the cliché.  Apparently, the first reference
was in 1985 by New York Judge Sam Wachtler.  (Click here for link).
Judge Wachtler according to the blog entry regrets to an extent that it
is the ham sandwich and not other equally indictable sandwiches — a
pastrami or a turkey sandwich perhaps.  His comments have spurred fodder
for numerous defense lawyers and legal commentators:

  • Barry Bonds lawyer used it (click here for link)
  • Tom Delay also used it, and indeed Alabama congressman Mike Rogers tried
    to change the Congressional Standard for leaving Congress when
    indicted in order to assist Mr. Delay (click here for link)

It was also apparently used in Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities.  So
Mr. Langford is in good company.  But I still do not know what he is
talking about with the lettuce and tomato, and maybe if he runs into
trouble again, he can branch out a little – perhaps he can indict with
him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Mike Goodrich, Goodrich Law Firm, LLC