A Judge Who Said "Succubus" in a Court Opinion

The Sleepy Hollow episode “Heartless” was a fun monster of the week story where our heroes battled a Succubus. The episode could have been called, “When Trying to Score Goes Horribly Wrong.” For those unfamiliar with Succubi, they are demons who appear as a beautiful woman to seduce men, often resulting in death.

SleepyHollow_Succubus_6139In Sleepy Hollow, the Succubus sucked out the soul of a man, followed by a woman, leaving their bodies burned out shells. It is an excellent warning on avoiding nightclubs and dating apps. Or if you do date, bring Holy Water with you, just in case.

Ironically, there is case law referencing Succubi, and you guessed it, both are from Texas.

The first case was in a dissenting opinion from 1988 in a murder case over the statutory construction imposing punishment in a law that was passed to apply to murder-for-hire cases. The Defendant had murdered her husband and buried his body on the property, which was not discovered for two years. The murder apparently was for life insurance money. The dissenting Judge expressed his thoughts on the Defendant as follows:

I don’t mean to be maudlin about this. Ms. Beets is evidently a greedy and insensitive killer, the kind of succubus who has managed to capture the romantic imagination of Americans in such modern cinematic classics as “Body Heat” and “Black Widow.” I have little sympathy for her, nor would it alarm me overly much if the Legislature had decided that all such criminals should be put to death. What I have difficulty believing is that the Legislature has already decided this in fact.

Beets v. State, 767 S.W.2d 711, 755 (Tex. Crim. App.1988)

The second case is from October 2014 and dealt with the admissibility of Internet search terms in a criminal case. The search terms included, “succubus demon,” plus others that would disturb most people. The Court admitted these Internet search terms over the objection of the Defendant on relevance and the prejudice of the evidence outweighed its prohibitive value. Chandler v. State, 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 10869(Tex. App. Austin Oct. 1, 2014).

There are plenty of dangerous people to date, whether you think an ex-girlfriend was a succubus or ex-boyfriend an incubus, but no Court will take judicial notice of the existence of such creatures. However, some well-read judges in mythology might use the term “succubus” to express their feelings about a case.

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Josh Gilliland

Josh Gilliland is a California attorney who focuses his practice on eDiscovery. Josh is the co-creator of The Legal Geeks, which has made the ABA Journal Top Blawg 100 Blawg for 2013 to 2016, the ABA Web 100 for Best Legal Blog and Podcast categories, and was nominated for Best Podcast for the 2015 Geekie Awards. Josh has presented at legal conferences and comic book conventions across the United States. He also ties a mean bow tie.