"A guy I used to work with was going through a messy divorce. His soon-to-be-ex-wife was a psycho and her father was a psychologist, so he was pulling all of the strings. Even had my co-worker arrested at work one day (for the dumbest charges).
The divorce case took years (one young son involved) and at every turn, my friend lost because of something the father filed or another string he pulled.
In the end, they were in court and it was very apparent that my friend was going to lose custody and all visitation rights. Every plea he entered was squashed and he was mentally broken. The judge asked the ex-wife if she had anything else to add and she said she had a written statement that she wanted the judge to read. The Bailiff took the paper from her and handed it to the judge, who unfolded the note and read it.
But then he stopped for a minute and asked her if she was certain she wanted this note added to the case and she said yes. The judge turned to my friend and said (paraphrasing): 'Mr. (name), all these years and all these claims that I ruled against you. The court profusely apologizes. I did not believe you but now I do. Ruling in your favor (bangs the gavel) I grant you full legal and physical custody of your minor child. Bailiff, please handcuff Miss (name).'
My buddy was stunned that he won and happy at the same time. He later found out that the note said: 'Give me my son or I'll freaking kill you.'"
"A guy had taken my family to court basically be he had been dating my mother, and things ended.
So he then takes us to small claims court with an itemized list of everything he'd ever bought the entire family. This included every cheeseburger and every Kit Kat he ever bought any of us. He even billed us for things he did, like house repairs. Some of the repairs were terrible and ruined other things. He tried to unclog the sink and ended up destroying the main drain pipe for the house.
Now, he had bought some more expensive things as well. No one asked him to, but he was one of the types that loved to show how much money he had and would always talk about his 'connections' and would name drop someone any time we went anywhere.
So when he takes us to court with his full itemized list, the judge asks him to go first and present his testimony. He basically says: 'While I was with them, I bought all this stuff. I took them to dinner all the time and all this, but it was the idea it would be paid back by them.'
Judge: 'You bought a child a birthday cake with the idea it would be paid back? Did you ever say that these things were loans and not gifts?'
Him: 'Well no, but I shouldn't need to, that's the normal way people think.'
Judge: 'Well, that's not the way I'd think, case dismissed.'"
"I had a DUI case I was defending where the client showed up at his house. His wife was in the house and at the time, they were separated but she had agreed for him to come over to pick some stuff up.
When he got there she refused to let him in the house. The client got pretty emotional and upset and went to his garage to get some of his tools and grabbed some drinks from his stash out there and started drinking.
Well, he gets annoyed that she won't let him in the house so he calls the cops. He tells her that he is calling the cops, so she then calls the cops too and tells the cops that he is wasted and drove here that way.
Long story short, the cop shows up and does the dumbest DUI investigation ever. He properly administers the field sobriety tests but his police report mentions nothing about him checking to see if the engine was warm, asking how long ago my client had been driving, etc. This is important because, under our statute, he generally needs to show that any result was within 2 hours of driving.
So I am hammering this cop on cross (opposition) and he starts essentially making stuff up and reciting things, not in his police report. He states that he asked the guy how long ago he was driving and that my client advised him '20 minutes ago.' The cop said that my client made that statement 10 minutes after he arrived on the scene. He then said he checked the engine and it was warm. Again - none of this is in the police report and during my cross, it's pretty apparent to me, the prosecutor, and the judge, that this guy is full of it.
So the prosecutor tries to salvage the case by introducing the 911 call logs to establish a timeline. Now, these had not been provided to me in discovery so I objected but was overruled.
Then the prosecutor starts going through the timeline and it was essentially something like:
6:15 - Call received from client. 6:18 - Call received from wife. 6:28 - Officer en route. 6:32 - Officer arrives. 6:42 - Client purportedly states he was 'driving 20 minutes ago.'
Well, the prosecutor didn't realize what he had just done for some reason. So, on my re-direct, I questioned the officer again, based on this timeline.
Essentially the officer was forced to admit that there was no possible way my client was driving 20 minutes earlier. Probably the favorite question that I asked, and I am paraphrasing because this is a few years ago, but it was something like: 'Officer, do you know if the defendant is able to time travel and are you aware of any argument which takes negative amounts of time to occur?' Case got tossed and my client walked.
After the trial the cop came out to me and yelled at me that he was an honest man, that my client was guilty and that I was 'garbage' for making him look like a liar to the judge. I just responded with: 'Well, next time, put it in your police report.'"
"Parents were being sued by their landlord, and parents had a countersuit against him. Parents were moving across country and found this house to rent. They did a walk through, looks great. The landlord wants first, last, security and $1500 because they had a dog and two cats. Fine. It was somewhere in the $8000-9000 range, no big deal for them.
They are set to move in on a Monday, so my mom flies in on Saturday, to do one final look over, sign the contract and get the key. Perfect, they are now the tenants.
Monday, they arrive and the house is freakin' trashed. The landlord has moved a bunch of his stuff into the garage, shed, and one of the bedrooms. I can't really do this justice, but my mom took pictures and videos throughout the entire house. She calls the landlord and tells him that they are not moving in with the house in this condition. He tells her to clean the house, and he'll buy the first tank of oil for the house (it was empty). He tells her to do it or he's keeping all the money for breach of contract. A lot of back and forth happens, and tons of harassing texts and phone calls from him.
Court day comes, and everyone's ready to submit their evidence in front of the judge. Parents have photos, texts, the contract, videos. The landlord only has the contract. But his contract is different than my parents. His contract included a section that states they permit him access to the house for his storage needs, and that tenant is responsible for all on-site cleanup and maintenance after accepting the key. The best part was that the date of the signatures on his contract was the date they moved in, not the date my mom flew in and signed.
Judge tells the landlord he's a special level of stupid, and then the judge's final remarks were about how disrespectful the landlord was to show up in shorts, a Hawaiian shirt, and flip-flops, in his courtroom. He never paid a dime, then claimed bankruptcy, and started a business under a different name.
Two years later, I went to his house, let out all but 19psi from all his tires, and superglued the caps on the valve stems."
"My wife is a public defender. One time she was trying a case where the defendant was accused of filling fraudulent prescriptions. Now keep in mind public defenders deal with a lot of shady characters who maintain their innocence with increasingly implausible stories as the evidence gets worse; so you can get a bit jaded after a while, but you don't have to believe your client's story to represent them vigorously.
So the prosecution has grainy surveillance video of someone who looks like the defendant getting the prescription filled and the ID used to fill it, which belongs to the defendant.
Defendant maintains that someone stole his ID and is using it because they look similar, but never reported the ID as stolen. Wife is skeptical that the jury will go for that, but she's always willing to go to trial if that's what the client wants, so she prepares that defense and heads into the trial.
Prosecutor brings in the pharmacist who reported the prescription issue, goes through the usual routine of establishing who she is, where she works, was this the ID used that day, etc.
Finally, the prosecutor asks the pharmacist if the person who attempted to fill the prescription that day is in the courtroom. Pharmacist: 'No.' Oops!"
"I had a case where the opposing party (unrepresented) was insisting she had a contract with my client.
There were four versions of the contract as negotiations continued, all signed by my client, none signed by the opposing party. Eventually, my client got fed up and ended negotiations, which prompted the lawsuit.
During the hearing, after having made lengthy submissions about how she had a contract with my client and was owed a ton of money in damages, the opposing party then went on to talk about how she 'didn't understand the contract, and that's why she didn't sign it.'
The judge paused and asked, during her submissions: 'So, you didn't understand the contract?'
Opposing Party: 'Yes.'
Judge: 'And so you chose not to sign it?'
Opposing Party: 'Yes.'
Judge: 'You chose not to sign?'
Opposing Party: 'Yes! I didn't understand!'
Judge: 'Okay, bye.'
I literally just sat there winning."
"The State was prosecuting an individual for reckless conduct with a deadly weapon and criminal threatening with a deadly weapon. It was a bench trial because the defendant was a foreigner and, I guess, the defendant was concerned that a jury would be biased against him.
Essentially the State alleged that the defendant waived a weapon at two employees of a Dairy Queen and then discharged the weapon in the air. The defendant was the manager of the Dairy Queen. So at the start of the case, the State requested a continuance because it could not produce the two employees. They had been subpoenaed but didn't show. The judge denied the continuance. So the State decided to go forward. It put on its case but wasn't able to introduce any testimony that the defendant brandished the weapon at the employees or that he had discharged it near them. There were admissions that he had had a weapon that night, which he had shown to other people and made testimonies that the weapon had been discharged. State rests.
Defense does not move to dismiss and calls the defendant to the stand. I was watching in the gallery with some public defenders because trials were uncommon in that county. We immediately began whispering to each other about how he didn't do the motion to dismiss at half-time. The defendant testifies about how he wanted to scare the two employees as a joke. Then on cross (opposition), he testifies how he brandished the weapon and what angle he was holding it when he used it. Defense rests.
The judge had the longest delivery of verdict that I have ever heard. He said something to the effect of: 'It is rare that you find a defendant that convicts himself by his own testimony. But that is what happened here. Without the testimony regarding the weapon and the discharge, there would be insufficient evidence to convict.' He goes on an on. While the judge was delivering the verdict, the defendant was standing obviously. He faints and slams his head on the defendant's table. He ultimately was taken out of the courtroom on a stretcher and transported to a local hospital. There was blood all over the floor. The defense attorney (who was in his 60s) looked like he needed medical attention too. This would have been instant ineffective assistance of counsel. But, he was immediately deported (which is the main reason he went to trial), because he was also a convicted felon (though not charged with felon in possession in this case) and INS was only waiting for the conviction to deport him. So he was sent back to his home country.
This was the most messed up thing I have seen in court and I have seen some wild stuff. I felt bad for the attorney, but ultimately contacted lawyer's assistance about him because I saw him do other things that were almost as bad. As a prosecutor, I was worried about his clients (who were paying him for the most part. The court was no longer appointing cases to him) and his ability to effectively represent them."
"My dad's ex-girlfriend took us to court over his estate after he kicked her out. Her claim was that she was entitled to half the pie due to de-facto marriage. Our claim was that she was a gold-digging psycho, who planned it from the beginning.
She had mountains of evidence of her contribution to dad's company and running the private estate. Expense reports, receipts, dates and times, times her and dad 'proved their relationship' with trips and combined spending, etc. She had so much evidence, the judge took four days to look it all over, after which he came back and basically said: 'Why the heck would you have all of this if this wasn't your plan the whole time?' The case was very downhill from there.
Evidence from the idiot:
She'd done the same thing to her ex-husband, giving precedent. He and her children said so in their testimonies. One of her children even inadvertently admitted she'd told them what to say and paid them for it. The next example was that we were able to name the date the relationship between her and my dad ended, which was months before she claimed, and outside the time limit to make it a de-facto/common law marriage.
Additionally, we had testimony from the doctor at his ICU who said she tried to keep everyone, including his ex-wife - our mother - and us, his children, away from him. Meanwhile, she had his phone and computer and was trying to take over his contacts and business. We had proof of this. Also, her lawyer was a moron! He constantly contradicted himself and the evidence. He 'lost' documents, gave incorrect dates and asked irrelevant questions of the defense.
In the end, it was that her expenses for the relationship were deemed normal for anyone in any kind of romantic relationship, that gifts and meals aren't claimable for compensation, that her contributions to the household and business were not sufficient to warrant compensation - she never actually put any money into either - and that the relationship was not sufficient in duration to qualify as a common law marriage.
This case took four freaking years to settle, including two elevations of appeals. She finally gave up because she'd run into about a quarter million dollars of court fee debt, as well as being forced to pay us $40,000."
"I had a misdemeanor possession case I was defending.
The client was driving his mom's car. He gets pulled over for playing the stereo too loud. There are pills in the center console, but they were in a prescription pill bottle. The bottle has his mom's name on it.
The client gets arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription.
The case is obviously nonsense, but the dumbest District Attorney (DA) I've ever met in my life, won't dismiss. We go to trial.
During closing arguments, the DA says: 'This case is a circumstantial evidence case.'
During my closing, I slap the jury instruction on the projector that says: 'If a case is based on circumstantial evidence and there is one factual scenario that points to guilt and one that points to innocence, the jury must find in favor of the defendant and acquit.'
My client was acquitted."
"Opposing counsel introduced a HIGHLY RELEVANT and bloody crucial piece of evidence during the cross-examination itself.
We were really mad, and we had every right to argue that this was deliberate suppression of relevant documents during discovery, but rather than object to its admissibility, we asked for our lunch break to commence earlier. We did this so we could take instructions from our client as to how to proceed -which turned out to be a darn excellent course of action.
The document prima facie looked supportive of the Defendant's case, but it actually was pretty condemning for them.
We basically came back from the lunch break to rub the Defendant's witness's face in it, and the witness was so shaken, he broke (for lack of a better word to describe how he couldn't carry on with his lies) and completely admitted to his negligence on the stand. He admitted as well that he copied the expert's opinion, instead of giving his own independent evidence. It was a beautiful trial.
There was a lot of client confidentiality dealt with this case, unfortunately! But a lot of the dispute was pretty technical. What I can tell you though, was that the witness kept pretending he didn't understand English (which was not true, based on his background), and he made up some nonsense about technical engineering concepts (which defied logic and physics, and it was pretty clear to me as a non-technically trained person) but couched it in a lot of technical terms to confuse the court. He took a certain position in his statement of evidence, which remained unchanged for ages until he stepped onto the witness stand and suddenly said something different. We didn't understand why until that 'suppressed evidence' document came out. Well, it turns out, after seeing the expert's report, he knew he made a huge mistake and was trying to cover his tracks.
Anyways, I was the main person dealing with his cross-examination. Having spent the last 5-6 weeks not having a weekend, and having spent that week of the trial going on an average of 3 hours sleep per night, this moment made it all so worth it. (I wouldn't recommend the hours but the lack of sleep combined with adrenaline and caffeine is such a great mix)."
"I am a Public Defender in California. My client was being charged with possession of illegal substances for sales. This was a few years ago right after prop 47 was implemented. Prop 47 made simple illegal substance possession a straight misdemeanor (rather than a wobbler which gives the district attorney the discretion to charge it as either a felony or a misdemeanor).
During this time, the district attorney office was charging people with sales who were clearly in possession of illegal substances for personal use - not for sales. The District Attorney (DA) did this to get more felony convictions. My client was absolutely not selling; there were zero indicia of sales - no baggies, scales, a large quantity of bills, paw-owe sheets, and he didn't even have a cell phone. Further, he had paraphernalia on him, for personal use! The only bad fact for my client was the amount of substance he had (for a very heavy user, this was about 6 days worth).
The district attorney had this sham of an 'expert' who was testifying in these sham sales cases. He looked the jury in the eyes and said the amount of substances, alone, was enough to establish possession for sales. The district attorney should have stopped here, but she for some reason asked: 'And why is possession of that amount definitely for sales, where a lesser amount could be for personal use?'
The expert then testified how under a certain number could possibly be for personal use, but how, based on his expertise, his amount is a common quantity of those who are selling.' The district attorney and her 'expert' didn't know that a week prior to the trial, my investigator and I got a court order to have access to the evidence locker. The district attorney was given notice and invited to join me and my investigator but she didn't. We weighed the packaging which was a plastic bag and a ton of plastic wrapping, way more than usual. It weighed way less than what we thought.
I didn't ask the DA 'expert' any questions. The DA rested and then I called two witnesses to establish the weight of the packaging and rested. The judge then granted my motion, dismissing the case. My client had a prior strike (from the '90s) and was looking at a minimum of 32 months state prison if he was convicted of the sales."
"I had a hearing where the opposing party offered an 'updated' contract that my client supposedly signed. Except it was a horrible copy and illegible.
Then he assured the judge that the new contract was exactly the same as the old contract, except for the party name at the top (the original contract was in his mom's name, the new one in his name) and the date of the contract itself. He made that assurance multiple times. After he exhausted himself saying how everything was the same, I then pointed out to the judge that half of the provisions were different and that my client had never signed that form. The judge asked if we were really accusing him of forging my client's signature since that's a serious accusation. I held up the guy's prior conviction for contract fraud and said: 'I absolutely am, your Honor.'
We won. Hands down. No further argument needed."
"I have had a lot of cases where opposition can't back up their stupid stories, but actually presenting evidence against themselves is a rare occasion.
Unfair dismissal case. The client, (big fast-food chain - hamburgers etc) for all the right reasons, terminated an employment contract with an employee who didn't show up at work. The employee claimed that she had called the employer saying that she cannot come and she is so sick that she has called an ambulance for herself. The employer didn't hear from her for 5 days after that and employee claimed she didn't have any credit left on her mobile to call and tell she is sick. Of course, the employer didn't believe her nonsense because these excuses are more common than you think. Not notifying an employer about illness is a considerable breach that can justify the termination.
So the employee argued that she called about the ambulance and she couldn't after that because of no call credit, and because of that, she had a valid reason missing work and the dismissal was unfair. I said that you never called, you just sent a text message about calling an ambulance (while showing employer's phone) and told her that most people are released from ER on the same day due to overreacting. Presenting that there was no excuse for her missing work or not calling the employer.
Then I asked her about the ER documents, she, of course, didn't have anything to present and said the family doctor has them. Okay, I asked why the 5-day wait until you called, she gave the same no credit reason and presented the court her phone records, to prove that she had called and informed employer after 5 days 'on her first chance' about the illness, thus making the dismissal unfair.
Little did the teeny-tiny brained girl know that with that, she showed her call history from the day of the ambulance text message to the employer to the day her calling in sick and all 5 days between. It showed no call to 911.
After the text message when she supposedly didn't have any credit to call, she had called to half her friends on the same day and every day after that. Also before notifying the employee she had called her friends etc.
I didn't even get to argue my 'why didn't you ask someone else's phone' or 'why is your profile active on Facebook?' or 'text messages are free' these were the lines that I had prepared. Then the judge angrily shouted at the employee: 'Why are you wasting court's time here? DISMISSED!' Well, that one went well."
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