The Expert Wizard Amendment


In 1995, former New Mexico State Senator Duncan Scott proposed a legislative amendment mandating that psychiatrists testifying as expert witnesses dress as wizards. Specifically, the text of the amendment read as follows:
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. 

Apparently, Senator Scott introduced this amendment in a satirical manner because he felt that the number of psychiatrists testifying as expert witnesses was excessive. Surprisingly, the New Mexico Senate passed the amendment unanimously. Luckily, the wizard amendment was thrown out prior to consideration by the House, so it never actually became effective as law.