April 5, 2023 | Eul Basa

Lawyers Reveal The Most Ridiculous Arguments They’ve Ever Heard In Court


“People do not win people fights. Lawyers do.”—Norman Ralph Augustine.

Law school exists for a reason. Everyone can argue; only a few can do it well. Reddit asked lawyers to share the most far-reaching and shaky arguments they’ve ever heard in a court. Lawyers—plus those with experience in law—from all over the world came forward with tales of the botched defenses that almost were. In many of these cases, the accused (or accusers) were acting on their own behalf. Unfortunately, some of these arguments also came from legal professionals who, in theory, should’ve known better. So maybe law school doesn’t fix everything. Throw the book at these 42 unbelievable stories about the worst legal arguments ever uttered in a court of law.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsInsider Louisville


42. Take The Win When It’s Given to You

Not a lawyer.

Went to court to contest a traffic citation and the cop didn't show up. Case dismissed. "Thank you, your honor."

Next case also dismissed. Guy stands up and is angry. "Your honor, I came down here to fight this. I brought my friend as a witness and everything." Judge: "So you don't want me to dismiss this?"

"I paid $15 bucks in parking and we came to fight this." Judge: "Do you want to take a moment to think this through?" The witness has started tugging on the back of his buddy’s shirt by then and talks him down. "Thank you, your honor, I think I'll just go home."

The Northern Virginia Daily

41. Too Big to Know Better

As a corporate lawyer, the most ridiculous argument I come across almost monthly is as follows: Fortune 500 company signs a garbage contract and is going to lose a lot of money due to the plain language of that contract; Fortune 500 company argues unconscionability—specifically that said company was not sophisticated enough to read the contract and no reasonable person would ever agree to the term or terms in dispute.

In sum, multi-billion-dollar firms claiming they're incapable of reading contracts.

VideoBlocks

40. Crimes of Fashion

Law student sharing a former professor’s story:

Defendant busted for possession of narcotics, they were in the pocket of his leather jacket. He argues the search was illegal because with his buttery smooth leather jacket, there's no way the officer would have felt the drugs in his pocket during a pat down, so he shouldn't have reached in the pocket to find the drugs in the first place.

Judge asks if the jacket is the one he was currently wearing in court; it was. Judge asks to feel this jacket and the pockets. Defendant hands it to the bailiff. Judge finds more drugs in the pocket.

Needless to say, it didn't go well for him.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsMaison Nord

39. Drunk on Puppy Love

I was a juror, but this was a hell of a defense.

Defendant ran through a red light and crossed against traffic in front of an officer. She was over twice the limit.

It wasn't her fault. She had a cut on her arm that her dog licked. The yeast from the dog’s saliva entered her blood stream and converted her blood sugar into alcohol.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsMark Rogers Photography

38. What Doesn’t Incriminate You Makes You Stronger

An opposing attorney the other day said I should not cross-examine his witness at a preliminary hearing because it would only hone the witness's testifying skills to be cross-examined at trial. I laughed out loud.

Fotolia

37. Sleep on It

Oh, geez where do I start. I mean I could tell plenty of these about my own clients, but I like this one:

A lady has an injury/Comp case. It's for her upper back and, of course, complex regional pain syndrome.

She decides she needs the insurance company to pay for a special mattress for her. Like, a $6,000 memory foam mattress, with heat and massage and a thousand other features. And not just a twin, she needs a California King, because, of course, her layabout unemployed boyfriend needs to sleep there too.

We spend months litigating this damn thing. Finally, she buys it herself and my client agrees to give her $1,500 just to be done with it. The judge takes myself and opposing counsel aside and says he's gonna screw us if we ever say the word mattress in his court again after wasting all this time. It was that ridiculous.

Not three months go by and the case comes on for another hearing. After exhausting all the chiropractic care allowed under the law, her doctor was seeking a variance to get some additional chiropractic.

We get to court and I'm arguing it should be denied, etc. Judge turns to her and says, "Ma'am, why do you feel you need more chiropractic care?"

She pauses for a minute then says, "I'm having a lot of trouble sleeping on my mattress."

I think I saw smoke coming out of his ears.

YouTube

36. Did Not Sign Up for This

In family court hearing, a motion for entry of a restraining order for an abusive husband. Husband's lawyer argues that in a marriage, there is implied consent for a certain amount of abuse/violence.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsTenor

35. The Whole Package

I'm a lawyer. Might be a little late to the party but here goes. I was working in child protection cases at the time. We had a mother who gave birth to twins who both tested positive for cocaine. Mom argued that she shouldn't be faulted because she hadn't done cocaine for two months before and that the babies had only tested positive because she had been involved in packaging large amounts of cocaine recently.

Still really not sure why she thought that would get her off the hook in a child neglect proceeding.

Inc

34. Thank the Lord

Had a pro se litigant argue that she didn't owe the credit card company because of Jesus.

The basic argument was that debt is a sin (or maybe not paying the debt was a sin). And Jesus died for all of our sins. Therefore, Jesus died to pay off her debt. Brilliant.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsFluteNotes.ph

33. The Getaway That Never Was

I was in the public gallery for this while studying Law. I was not the lawyer. Leeds Crown Court back in the early ‘90s.

A 75-year-old foreign (yes, this IS important) man was facing a preliminary hearing at relating to charges that he had sexually touched a 13-year-old relative. His barrister made a successful plea for bail based upon this man being an established pillar of the immigrant community, and the judge asked the old man if he had anything to say before he was bailed until the next hearing in a month.

He made two comments:

"She was wearing very, very tight shorts and I should not be held responsible because no real man could resist see something like that."

The judge reminded his this was a preliminary hearing not a trial, so he should wait until the trial to argue his case, especially statements that are far from exculpatory and are better suited to mitigation.

"I cannot re-appear in a month because I am flying back to my home country tomorrow and will not be coming back."

The barrister appeared to be just as surprised as the rest of us. The judge ordered the defendant's passport seized and he was remanded in custody until his trial.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsGerman Pulse

32. 12 Seconds or Your Trial is Free

Girlfriend is a Reddit lurker. Posting on her behalf:

This is a story that my grandpa always tells, so some of the details are fuzzy but this is the gist of it. My grandpa was a public defender, and this was a defense he used for one of his clients, who was being accused of attempting to break into a car.

How it happened: Man #1 is sitting in his house, and he looks out the window and sees Man #2 next to a car parked in the street. Man #2 is out there fiddling with the car door for like 10 minutes, and so Man #1 realizes he's trying to break into the car and calls the cops. Man #2 runs, and eventually Man #3, my grandpa's client, is picked up nearby because he matched the description of Man #2.

So, my grandpa is meeting with his client and telling him what he's accused of. Client asks, "Wait, what kind of car was it?" Grandpa tells him. Client says, "I can prove that it wasn't me." Grandpa: "How?" Client: "You said the guy was out there for 10 minutes–I can break into that car in less than 20 seconds." Grandpa: "Prove it."

So, he finds one of whatever kind of car it was, and the client proceeds to pick the lock in 12 seconds. Grandpa gets the judge out there, and the client does it again for the judge, who makes him do it one more time and then dismisses the case.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsfainaidea

31. A New Meaning to Plea Bargain

Several years ago, I was doing a civil trial (personal injury), defending a woman who allegedly hit a bus monitor with her car.

We had offered to concede liability and just try damages—in other words, the jury wouldn't hear the circumstances of how the injury happened, just that we agreed my client caused the injury, and they would only decide the amount of damages. We had evidence that the plaintiff was significantly exaggerating her injuries. The plaintiff's attorney refused to agree to our concession, thinking that if the jury heard the circumstances they'd want to give even more money to punish my client.

So, we went to trial on liability. The plaintiff called one witness, her client, who testified that an older woman in a green car hit her. They rested and I moved for a dismissal for failure to prove a case. There was literally no evidence connecting my client to this incident, just an older woman in a green car. The plaintiff never bothered to call my client to the stand.

The attorney told the judge that the bus driver had written down my client's license plate and gave it to the police. They never bothered trying to find the bus driver. The attorney asked if she could just put the police report in and I objected that it was hearsay.

The attorney then actually said, "Please just let me put this in, I haven't had work in a while and I got retained by a firm to try this case, I really need to win this." Of course, I didn't agree, and the judge dismissed the case. I felt a little bad for her but that was maybe the worse presentation of a case I ever saw.

I spoke with the jury afterward and they all said they hated the plaintiff, didn't believe a word she said, and likely would have found in my favor anyway.

Moral of the story, BE PREPARED IN COURT.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsUnion Leader

30. Authorial Intent

Recovering small business/bankruptcy attorney here.

Was in bankruptcy court on a motion of my own, when a very young attorney gets up to argue his position—his request was denied in pre-hearing disposition.

Young Attorney ("YA"): “Your Honor, I believe your reading of the three cases you have cited is incorrect.”

Bankruptcy Court Judge ("BKJ"): “You think that, do you?”

YA: “Yes, your honor. I don't think the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel believed these cases would be used in this fashion, and I think you are misreading the author's scope.”

BKJ: “Ok. Tell me, as those are BAP opinions - who wrote those opinions?”

YA: “I'm not sure, your honor. I didn't check.”

BKJ: “In the future, you may want to check those sorts of things—all three cases were authored by the judge you just told didn't understand his own writing.”

Court Audience (mostly attorneys): *Collective gasp*

YA: *Blank stare*

BKJ: “Jesus, son. I WROTE THOSE OPINIONS.”

YA: “Oh. Well, I still think they're wrong.”

BKJ: “Request denied. Get the hell out of my courtroom.”

It was, quite possibly, the most awkward type of walk of shame I've ever seen as he gathered his things and left.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsWWD

29. The Sun Is Always Setting Somewhere

Not a lawyer, but I was in traffic court and a cab driver had got a ticket for running a red. He argued that it was really difficult to see because the sun was rising (morning) right where the light was. He was traveling west.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsPCWorld

28. The Value of Silence

Lawyer here. During an order of protection hearing, the 6'3" tall muscular tattooed idiot told the judge that my 5'1" tall female client deserved the black eye he gave her because she wouldn't stop running her mouth. He actually expected the judge to be sympathetic or something. The second he admitted to hitting her the judge cut him off and said "Order of Protection granted. Next case."

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsSmart Commute Metro North

27. Liquored Above the Law

Not in court but a conversation in my office:

“It doesn't matter if you were sober or not. You jumped out of a third-story window with a beer bottle and threw it at a cop. The jury is going to think you were drunk. Also, I think you were drunk.”

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsRana Campbell

26. You Got Us There

Hands down the most ridiculous argument I've ever heard was a Constitutionalist, pro se defendant trying to explain why the Court lacked jurisdiction over him.

I was prepared for the standard arguments about "freeman on the land," non-corporate natural person, admiralty court, etc... But this one was different. This particular defendant was part of a Jehovah's Witness compound and happened to be Marshallese-American (i.e., he was black).

After the Court patiently explained to him that it has jurisdiction over all persons in the county, the defendant promptly piped up that, under the “Dred Scott” decision (for those who don’t know, a case from the slavery era that stated that a slave could never be considered a citizen of the US), he wasn't a person and the Court had no jurisdiction.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsMeme Generator

25. Kiss and Tell

This came in a deposition, but it's still one of my funniest stories from this old job.

I worked part-time as a paralegal when I was in college. We had this massive case with a lot of people involved that had spun out into a bunch of little side cases. In one of those side cases, this guy was claiming our client had left him threatening voicemails related to the main case, so he and his wife sued for loss of consortium.

Loss of consortium and I swear to you this is a real thing, basically means something happened that is stopping a married couple from having sex, and they want to sue you over it. The guy was claiming that he was so scared by these voicemails that he couldn't sleep with his wife anymore.

Deposition time rolls around, and I'm sitting in the other room, but it's a small office and I can hear everything. My boss starts asking the wife how we're supposed to know that it was our client's fault they stopped having sex. Maybe she's just not as attracted to him anymore. Maybe he's not attracted to her. Maybe they didn't have that much of a sex life to begin with, etc.

So, this woman starts yelling "I love sex!" and banging her fists on the table. Her lawyers try to calm her down and tell her to stop talking, but she keeps on shouting "I love sex! We used to have sex two, three times a day! We'd be thrown out of hotels because of the noise we'd make!" And to the protestation of everyone in the room, her counsel and ours, she proceeded to describe their sexual history in graphic detail, all of which was recorded in the deposition and filed with the court.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsFlickr

24. Losers Keepers

Former assistant state attorney/prosecutor here.

This defendant is called up for arraignment and the judge is telling him that he's been charged with theft for stealing a roll of scratch-off tickets from a gas station. The judge informs the defendant that since the value of the tickets was over $300, therefore it's a felony rather than a misdemeanor.

The defendant says to the judge "But your honor, to be fair, the tickets were all losers" implying it's not theft at all.

I was amazed at the ingeniousness yet futility of the argument.

Fierce and Nerdy

23. How Could an Environmentalist Be Guilty?

Traffic court, speeding ticket. "Your honor, I didn't speed, and I can prove it with logic."

Judge: "Okayyy..."

Lady: "I drive a Prius."

Judge: "...?"

Lady: "That proves I'm responsible. Specifically, in the realm of cars. So I obviously wouldn't speed."

She had to pay the ticket.

Magical Maths

22. Not Long Enough

Hah, I have a story for this one. I'm not a lawyer nor could I talk at the time. During a custody battle between my grandparents and my mom and dad, who were addicts, the judge asks why my parents should have custody, and they say "Well, we are his parents." The judge says, “Well, you guys have substance abuse issues."

"No, we don't,"

"So you're not using anything?"

"No, we're both clean"

"When is the last time you've used?"

"A few days ago, and we're done now"

My grandparents won that day in court. This story has been told to me a few times by my grandfather.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factseBaum

21. Party Pooper

Actual lawyer. This was what I dubbed the "Surprise Party Defense."

In a hearing for an order of protection in which an ex-wife is trying to get an order of protection against the ex-husband who had been stalking her. They have a high-school aged child together. Ex-husband tries to argue against the order of protection by saying they may need to be able to communicate about the child. The judge points out that they can communicate THROUGH the child, and also that other family members have been put in place by the juvenile court to be intermediaries re: pickup, drop-off, etc.

Then ex-husband has a brilliant light-bulb idea:

"Judge, what if I need to throw my son a surprise party, and I need to keep it secret from everyone, but his mom still needs to know so she doesn't throw a party the same day?"

In other-words, while I admit have been stalking my ex-wife and that there are grounds to grant an order of protection, you should not grant that order just in case I need to throw a surprise party one day.

What made it was how clever he thought the argument was. Thus was born, the Surprise Party Defense.

The bottom line is, the guy was trying to use the kid as an excuse to avoid an order of protection, so he could continue to stalk and harass his ex-wife.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsUltraman Wiki - Fandom

20. Gotta Go Fast

In a child custody modification, I once had the respondent site her arrest record as a defense against a claim my client had made. The arrest in question was for an aggravated assault charge in another state that we were not aware of.

Later the same woman refused to take a drug test because she had already paid her lawyer enough money, before basically fleeing the courthouse.

Needless to say, the children now permanently reside with my client.

Faculty of Law

19. They’re Reaching, Your Honor

Not a lawyer but when my mom was killed by a drunk driver, we were filing a wrongful death suit. And the lawyer for the defense used my mom's cancer to say that she was going to die anyway, so a wrongful death dispensation was not owed.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsvelhaonda

18. Selectively Low Sugar

Not a lawyer, but I do have a story for this. This happened while I was working as a medical assistant. One of our diabetic patients got a speeding ticket while his blood glucose was low. And he seemed to be under the impression that this would be an iron clad excuse to get him out of it.

So, he calls our office one day, and I answer. PT= patient.

Me: "Dr. X's office. How may I help you?"

PT: "Hello. I need the doctor to write a letter for me."

Me: "I can definitely help with that (we do this frequently, usually for a jury duty excuse or a note stating they need to bring their medications with them when they travel, etc.), what is the letter for?"

Pt. "I got a speeding ticket last weekend, and I'm going to contest it. I need a letter from the doctor stating that I have diabetes and that it impairs my ability to drive, so it wasn't my fault I was speeding."

Me: ....

Me: "Let me run through this with you, just so I'm clear what you're asking for."

PT: "Okay."

Me: "You want a letter stating you have diabetes?"

PT: "Yes."

Me: "And you want it to say your diabetes impairs your ability to drive?"

PT: "Yes."

Me: "And you believe telling the judge that your diabetes impairs your ability to drive will get him to throw out the ticket?"

PT: "Yes."

Me: "...I don't think that's a good idea, sir."

PT: "What? Why!?"

Me: "Even if they agree with your argument and toss out the ticket, which I doubt they will, if you tell them that you have a medical condition that impairs your driving ability, I'm pretty sure they'll take your license away."

PT: "No, no, see I'm only impaired when my blood sugar is low."

Me: "Right but..."

This would go on for a few minutes before I told him I'd ask the doctor and see what he thinks. Unsurprisingly, the doctor agreed with me and said he would lose his license if he did that. So we didn't write the letter, but he still brought this argument to the traffic court. The patient is now driven to his appointments by his family members.

Driving Guide

17. We’ve All Had Off Days

Made a left turn on a green turn arrow, a city bus ran a red and T-boned me. My car was a little VW Rabbit, so it just scooted me, and I was perfectly fine.

The driver pulls over, comes out and says, “The sun was in my eyes." I say, "I'm not hurt, thanks for asking".

Police arrive, and guess what? There was a literal bus load full of witnesses. Everyone had the same story... She ran a red.

City paid for my car, etc. She denied wrongdoing and went to court, which I had to attend along with a witness or two and the officer. Her defense? She had a migraine.

Judge: “So, I should let you off the hook because you had a bad headache and was driving into the sun?”

Driver: “Yes, your honor, I'm glad you understand.”

She got her commercial vehicle license revoked. Should have just taken the points.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsKorea Bizwire

16. The Man Who Totally Wasn’t Me

I wasn't a lawyer, but a law clerk working with the prosecutor's office. This guy was caught on the highest quality security cam video I've ever seen stabbing a store clerk like 15 times (she survived), and then was tackled a block away from the scene not five minutes later by a man who had see him flee and followed him, 25 feet from the knife and the jacket he'd been wearing that was covered in blood with a receipt with his name on it in the pocket.

It was the literal definition of a slam dunk case. The guy chose to proceed to trial without his lawyer, instead of having the case postponed after his attorney’s house was broken into and all his files were stolen.

This guy’s main argument was that it wasn't him because in the statement of probable cause written by the officers after the incident they misspelled his highly unique last name by adding a T in the middle (e.g. Johnson became Johnston). He spelled his name out at every opportunity with much emphasis. He also argued it couldn't be him because the man on the video tied a t-shirt around his head so that the distinctive tattoos there would be hidden, but he would never cover over his tattoos like that because he was proud of them and they represented his heritage as a Korean man.

The jury took less than a half hour to return a guilty verdict.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsOnline Writing Jobs

15. Head to Head

Waiting for my case to be called I heard a wild argument. It was a domestic violence case and the petitioner (person seeking protection) was accusing respondent (ex-boyfriend) of abuse, specifically that he’d head-butted her.

Respondent argued back by saying "Seriously, honestly, Judge, I couldn't have because look at my head, it's huge. A head this big would leave a mark. Honestly Judge, look at my head."

To which the judge responded, "Son, I have a big head. Look at my head." This went on for a minute.

Now the story doesn't stop here. It just gets better. The respondent then argues that petitioner "is keeping him from seeing their daughter,” and that she went as far as putting her uncle as the baby's father on the birth certificate.

At this point I look around in shock, the clerk's mind is slowly grasping what he said, and the judge nods his head with a "typical Tuesday" smirk.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsMetro Parent

14. Leave It to the Vets

I am a lawyer. A colleague argued that it wasn't animal cruelty to shoot a dog because the dog didn't suffer. This wasn't like a euthanasia situation, rather a robbery gone bad. The judge entertained it for a second and then came to her senses.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsImgur

13. The Sanctity of Marriage

I'm a lawyer. The most ridiculous argument I've seen was one I actually made!

One of my clients got busted cooking meth. This was a very clear-cut case, they actually caught him in the middle of a cook. No way he was getting out of this one. Even worse, he was cooking at home and children were there. Yep, the DA loaded him up with felonies, there was no bail and he was being held in the county jail.

My client knew he was screwed. He had been planning to get married a few weeks after he got busted.

My client asks me if he can get released for 24 hours so he can still get married. I tell him that I'll ask, but that there's no way in hell they'll let him out.

First, I ask the DA if they will allow it. Nope. They laugh.

So, I file a motion with the court. Now, I knew the judge was a crusty old conservative family values kind of guy. Who also has a raging erection for drug crime. There was no law involved, but I put together an argument about the sanctity of marriage and how the state should encourage marriage at all times, and that sort of thing.

We have a hearing and I make the argument. The DA is totally opposed and calls it ridiculous.

And the judge grants it. The judge actually decided to allow my client out for 24 hours to get married. He had to surrender at the county jail at 8 AM the next day and some other conditions, but, still, he was allowed out.

Everyone is stunned. Nobody can believe it.

The day of the wedding comes, my client gets out, gets married, then goes back to the jail. Everything went exactly like how it was supposed to, which is also pretty shocking.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsPurposely Written

12. Truth and Consequences

Fellow lawyer:

Sometimes it is surprising as hell who tries to run and who doesn't.

I had a guy who was a refugee from a seriously war-torn country. Gets an impaired, where the consequence will be a fine and some time off the road. He fled home to avoid the punishment. I was like "WTF?"

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsAMC International

11. That Stop Sign Had It Coming

Public Defender, checking in. Apart from the usual sociopaths who argue that there's nothing wrong with cheating people, stealing, and screwing people over, and apart from the constitutionalists who want me to argue that because they put their hands over their eyes the government can't see them anymore, there are some good stories.

I had a client accused of hit and run damage to unattended property; to wit: a stop sign post. My client had parked his car in front of a gas pump and walked into a corner store. The car rolled away from the pump without him, rolled over the curb, and then over a stop sign and into a ditch. My client ran out of the store, got in the car, and promptly sped off. His driver’s license was also suspended at the moment. This was all captured on video by a conveniently timed passing city bus.

My guy wants me to argue that it wasn't hit and run because he wasn't driving the car when the thing got hit. He's got exactly half a point.

I had to tell him that his argument solved, at most, half of the problem because it sure as hell was him driving for the “run” part of the hit and run. He took the plea deal.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsHudo

10. Father Knows Best

My parents are both lawyers.

Was in court with my dad when I was younger. Dad is throwing out objection after objection at the opposing counsel during cross-examination. Judge is sustaining all of them. Several hours into this, the judge is getting restless and asks the opposing counsel to hurry it up.

Opposing counsel responds: "Well if Mr. Surname would stop objecting perhaps I could get through my examination."

Judge did not like this. She lays into the guy: "If you would stop asking objectable questions, Mr. Surname wouldn't have to object! Hurry this up, I am not going to sit here all day."

Was pretty cool to watch as a kid. Dude got roasted. Dad won that trial.

Know Your Meme

9. I’m Gonna Write This Off

I am a lawyer. The state tried to argue that probable cause exists simply because there is a police report alleging the crime. "From the fact that a police officer filed this report it is a reasonable inference that the crime took place as described."

Good, allegations are self-proving now. Well, wrap up court then, I guess no need to hear any more motions to dismiss ever. I wonder why no other prosecutor in 240 years of jurisprudence ever thought of that before this 25-year-old assistant district attorney who went to the worst law school in this state did.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsEmerald Law Group

8. A Window of Opportunity

A taxi driver was charged with assault for pelting a stone at a bus driver after a minor accident between both vehicles.

Defense lawyer: “Your lordship, the bus driver was injured on right side of his neck, it is not possible for my client to cause that injury. The bus is right-hand drive and the door on left side of the bus was open and driver was in driver's seat...”

State: “Your lordship, is counsel unaware that buses have windows?”

Defense: "The window was closed."

Judge: “Really? How many times in this ~very hot and humid Indian city~ have you seen a bus drive around with windows closed unless it was raining?”

Defense: “I request an adjournment, your lordship.”

The News Now

7. Return This Excuse to Sender

Postman claims speeding fine got lost in the post. The judge accepted it too.

I Heart Street Art

6. Before Ctrl+F, There Was This Lawyer

My dad told me a story in which his opponent claimed that the Surgeon General's 1964 warning was never released in the New York Times. He did this through use of a book and he claimed the headline was not in there and did not exist. My father spent the entirety of the next night looking for the book, found it, bought it, found the headline for which he was looking, and absolutely demolished the argument the next day by showing the headline to everyone.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsErika Mohssen-Beyk

5. The Self-Fulfilling Defense

Currently studying law. One of my tutors told me about a case he had while working for the state, where the defendant tried to claim that being an orphan had given him severe PTSD and mental illness and he was unfit to stand trial.

Unfortunately, he was on trial for murdering his parents, so it didn't really fly.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsjunkee

4. Best Friends or Else

Not a lawyer, but was the child in a custody case between my parents. My mother's lawyer argued for and had it put in the final agreement that I had to add my mother as a Facebook friend.

This was seven years ago, we are still not friends on Facebook, and she's blocked on everything I have an account for.

Busy Moms

3. Doggone It

I’m a lawyer who is not practicing in court, but when I was in college doing my bachelor's degree, criminal law was part of the curriculum and this included spending a couple of days observing criminal trials.

The things you witness.

Anyway, at the start of one of these trials a guy with the greasiest mullet enters the room. Thin, tall, disproportionately sized limbs, tattoos all over; I swear the way he sat before the judge, the only thing that was missing was a beer in his hand and a chicken under his arm. Now, this guy chose not to have a lawyer represent him, as he's a regular and spends short periods of time in jail or doing community service pretty much every month anyway. Real problem case; drugs, alcoholism, etc., but still he comes across as a really sympathetic dude and has a really entertaining way of telling a story while keeping a straight face and not realizing how funny he is.

He knows he's getting a fine and a couple of hours of cutting weeds as community service to keep our Dutch streets nice and tidy, but still tries to win the sympathies of the judge to decrease his sentence. This man's dog was sent to a dog shelter when they found it malnourished a couple of weeks before when they brought him in for dealing—real sad, but also the reason he's standing trial. The guy got high as a kite and drunk as an Irishman on St. Patrick's and while completely drugged out of his mind decided to get his dog back from the shelter, because he really missed “his girl.”

The judge asks him if it's correct that he broke the lock and some of the camera equipment on site of the dog shelter and he confirms. You could really tell from his passionate account of the progression of the evening that he did all this out of pure love as his dog according to him was the only thing that pulled him through all of his rough patches with his girlfriend and his drug problem.

So, the judge orders camera footage to be shown to confirm that it is the suspect and he confirms. On it he is seen stumbling about and wrenching one of the dog enclosures open and hugging a German Shepherd. At this point everyone is touched by seeing this guy be so emotional on the camera footage with the dog, hugging it, petting it and playing with it and you can see the judge really get into it, as well.

Anyway, so this guy continues with his story and tells about how he took the dog to his car and went home never feeling happier in his life and ends his account with the driest delivery of "needless to say, I was surprised when I woke up the next day and there was a German Shepherd in my room instead of a Staffordshire Terrier."

Everyone just broke out in laughter. He didn't get what was funny. Turns out the dude stole the wrong dog. Judge sentenced him to 50 hours of community service and €3 000 or so for repairs of the broken doors and camera equipment.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsPinterest

2. Her Own Worst Neighbor

I have a brief encounter (personal injury prospect):

Old lady slipped & fell on an icy driveway which was not salted or maintained, so she wanted to sue for damages.

After hearing the story, turns out the lady fell on her own driveway which she did not salt/maintain. She was wanting to sue herself.

Ridiculous Court Arguments factsdavidmmasters

1. Good Call

This never made it to court.

I asked my divorce lawyer what was the worst thing a client had asked him to argue. I was expecting a "I want the salad spinner!" sort of story.

He had a client, a professor in his 70s who was divorcing his wife, also a professor in her 70s. They were both Jewish. His wife had a tattoo on her arm. It was a number, put there by the Nazis when they put her in a concentration camp in WWII as a child. Husband was born in the US, was not German. The German government was in the process of settling a case with the survivors. She had some amount of money, a six-figure sum, due to her. The husband wanted his lawyer to argue that he should get half the settlement money.

The lawyer told him that there was a special circle in hell for lawyers who ask for stuff like that and that he was not planning on ending up there.

Me.me


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