"The penalty for laughing in a courtroom is six months in jail; if it were not for this penalty, the jury would never hear the evidence." H.L. Mencken
This may have been true when Mencken wrote it, probably in the 1920s, but I wonder if it is still true. People have become so innured to the absurdities in so many courtrooms and so accustomed to treating the proceedings with solemnity rather than guffaws that I wonder how many are tempted to laugh these days.