Lawyers And Judges Are Sharing The Dumbest Things People Have Tried To Legally Justify
"The whole courtroom facepalmed."
A while ago, Reddit user u/Burquaqueen asked, "Lawyers, judges, etc. of Reddit, what's the dumbest thing you've heard someone try to legally justify?"
Needless to say, there were plenty of outrageous responses. Here are some of the top-voted ones:
1. "Trying to get out of paying his bill at a restaurant because he ordered a single beer, which altered his mental capacity, thereby negating his capacity to enter into a binding contract when presented with his credit card receipt for signature."
2. "Buddy working graveyard shift at a gas station got robbed, and the police caught the guys. He had to testify as a witness, and I had to drive him to court, so I hung out in the courtroom during the trial. One of the guys, acting as his own defense attorney, called the other guy to the stand and asked him, 'When we robbed that gas station, was I there?' The whole courtroom facepalmed."
3. "I had a guy call me to tell me he wasn't going to be in court because he was getting his hair cut. I asked him if he was serious — he said yes. I told him he was going to have an order for his arrest out if he didn't appear. He hung up."
4. "I do patent law. I once had a guy try to pay our firm to fight a large company because '[he] had a dream [he] actually invented that.'"
5. "Being eligible for a refund because the private stripper a guy had ordered wasn't hot enough."
6. "A woman cold-called me and wanted to sue the Los Angeles Times for an article that ran 22 years ago. The article was about homeless people in Los Angeles. It did not name her or show her picture, but she said people could tell that it was talking about her and that it was harmful to her reputation."
7. "Guy suing his employer for an injury at work that he 100% caused — just because it happened at work."
8. "My grandpa is a lawyer. He once took a case from a woman who sued someone for calling her 'ugly.' I can't even begin to imagine what led her to believe she would win that one."
9. "On two separate occasions, I have dealt with people involved in an assault who, having thrown the first punch, said that they 'hit him back first.'"
10. "I work for car insurance. Someone hit a parked car and tried to tell me it wasn't their fault. 'The car is parked, sir. It was a bright day and in a parking lot.' The response: 'Well, yeah, but it was in my way.'"
11. "My friend's father is a defense attorney and ... was defending a man who had broken into a store (I think it was a convenience store). His plan was to sneak onto the roof of the building and break in through a trapdoor or something. The roof was bad, so during his planned robbery, he fell through the roof, landed on the counter in front of the woman who owned the store, and was promptly apprehended. In court, the woman was asked to identify the man who had attempted to rob her store. She pointed directly to the suspect, saying it was him. Hearing this, the man jumped up and shouted, 'Your honor, that's impossible! There's no way she could have seen it was me; I was covered in soot!' He lost the case."
12. "This court uses a flag with gold fringe. Gold fringe means the court is international. An international court needs to enforce maritime law. Under maritime law, I am a vessel. The woman declared herself to be a boat."
13. "'Yeah, I deal crack! So what? I'm not afraid to admit it!' (You might not want to lead with that at a bail hearing.)"
14. "A woman was going to take a course to obtain career skills. Her instructor died, and she did not take the course. Then she was hurt in a roller-skating accident and later tried to claim loss of income for the job she would have had — if she had taken the course and successfully gotten the job."
15. "I don't know if it actually got to court. Guy didn't want to drill a hole in his nice car to affix his front license plate, and he didn't want to put it in the 'approved' location in the windshield. Instead, he rubber-banded it to the passenger's sun visor. He got pulled over, told the cop he had never heard of that requirement, and got a warning to put the plate in an approved place. Three months later, he got pulled over, told the cop he had never heard of that requirement, the cop ran his record and found the warning, and wrote him a ticket. He asked me if I knew a lawyer who would 'guarantee that he could get [him] off.'"
16. "Sentenced to 20 years in a federal penitentiary. 'But wait, you haven't heard my reason for doing it yet.' Sigh. 'OK, why did you do it?' 'Because I felt like it.'"
17. "Prisoner tried to claim it was cruel and unusual punishment for a guard to take his highlighter."
18. "A friend's uncle had his house broken into, and he ended up beating up the intruder. Later in court, they asked him if he felt in danger, to which he replied, 'Nah, I knew I could take him.' He was eventually convinced to reply, 'Yes, I felt my life threatened' so he wouldn't get in trouble."
19. "He said that during a work comp hearing for a former employee, he was leaning back in his chair and hit his forehead on his desk. Judge said, 'You know that is physically impossible.' Employee said, 'No, it isn't. Look, I have a bump right here.' We won."
20. "I'm not a lawyer yet, but someone did try to justify speeding (80 mph in a 40) because it was pouring rain and he wanted to outrun the storm."
21. "I was once on a jury for a criminal case. Dude was caught manufacturing and selling drugs out of a property on 'Shirley Street.' He was obviously trying to prove that he did not own the property, but he had 'SHIRLEY' tattooed on one forearm and 'STREET' on the other. He lost."
Fellow lawyers and judges, what's the dumbest or most outrageous thing you've heard someone try to legally justify? Let us know in the comments below!
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.