19 Legal Fight Stories Where Involved Parties Managed To Screw Themselves Up
Margareth SPublished on
It’s not fun when you work as a lawyer, and it’s just so clear that your client is not going to win. But a job is a job. As the representative, you want to do your best to lighten their sentence. And for that to happen, all they need to do is stay quiet and apologize when inquired.
Yet, lawyers and legal experts always manage to see people screwing themselves up as they greedily scheme to gain more. Only for their story of failure to go down in history through this one viral thread on Reddit on the biggest fails lawyers had ever seen.
“Was involved in a custody case where a wife cheated on her husband and had a child as a result. She let husband believe the child was his until she was about five years old, and they were divorcing. To stop him from getting custody, she convinced the biological father to try to get custody, thinking that if he won, she would wind up with the child. It became a huge three-way fight, multiple sets of grandparents involved, attorneys’ fees skyrocketed because the case would have been pretty quick otherwise. She couldn’t pay her attorney, tried to get the bio dad to, got even messier, etc. Basically, there still isn’t an agreement all parties will follow. They are in and out of court every year or so. She screwed herself.” – Carcharodons
“More of a case of screwing himself over, but here goes. This was a case another prosecutor in my office had a few years back. The 30-year-old defendant was charged with sexual assault of a child after he got his girlfriend’s 14-year-old sister pregnant. She actually kept the baby so the police just waited and got a paternity test. No surprise, the defendant was the father.
Defendant wanted probation; the prosecutor refused to offer it. He decided to plead guilty and have a jury trial on punishment (here in Texas, you can choose to have the jury set punishment). Evidence mostly proceeded as expected. The victim testified to having consensual (aside from not being old enough to consent) sex with the defendant, getting pregnant, etc… Paternity test introduced.
Defendant took the stand. His version of events was that he snuck into victim’s room at night, covered her mouth, and held her down while he forcibly had sex with her against her will. It seemed like his own lawyer had no idea that’s the story he settled on.
The jury deliberated about fifteen minutes before returning a verdict of 17 years (the maximum possible as charged was 20). When interviewed by the attorneys afterward, one of them said they decided on 17 years so the defendant would never forget the age of consent in Texas again.” – Fuzerr
“Someone I knew had a pro deo case where she had to defend a person who had been charged with a criminal offense (don’t know what, confidential and whatnot). Even though the police and DA could pretty much pinpoint the crime to her client, there was no evidence to tie him to the crime, circumstantial at best.
She had instructed him to shut up and let her do the talking during the trial, as from experience the client sometimes does not know how to answer a question properly. She pleads and can show that the court has nothing on her client, she feels that for once, a pro deo case is going her way.
After her plea, the judge thanks her for her plea and turns to her client. He asks if the client had something to add to the plea. Client looks at her, back at the judge, tears well up in his eyes and he blurts out: “I’m so sorry, I’ll never do it again!”
She threw her notes and everything else she had in her hands at the client (now convict) apparently. She basically got screwed by her own client, who screwed himself even worse.” – ILoveLactateAcid
“Not my case but still my favorite story. Dude screwed himself over when he went to a jury trial for a burglary charge and wore the same, distinct sweatshirt he wore the night he committed the crime. Kind of hard to argue the guy in the video isn’t your client at that point. Needless to say, he was convicted and spent a few years in DOC.” – Seinfeldologist
“It’s not “someone else,” but it’s timeless and I bet every criminal lawyer has seen it.
Us: We’ve gotten you an incredible result, just stand up and apologize and DON’T SAY ANYTHING ELSE.
Us: No, seriously we mean it, DON’T MONOLOGUE. Just say you’re sorry, and we’ve convinced the judge to give you a lenient sentence.
Judge: Defendant, do you have anything to say?
Client: [extended monologue about how unfairly he’s been treated]
Us: You dumb*ss.” – KenPopehat
“Not a lawyer but I sat on the jury of a man who was accused of molesting his 10-year-old niece. He elected to testify in his own defense and his defense was: “I did it, but it was her idea.” It was his third felony strike so he will be spending (with luck) the rest of his life in prison.” – titusmaul
“Kind of a self-screw but the MPAA entered DVD Jon’s code for breaking DVD copy protection as part of their lawsuit into their evidence which then became public record. The code that breaks DVD copy protection was now available to the entire world, defeating the entire purpose of their lawsuit.” – tensigh
“Represented a guy that stole three trucks from his work. Only two were recovered before trial. He showed up to a motion hearing in the third one.” – Wacocaine
“Not a lawyer, but my dad is a physician and is sometimes called a professional witness in cases of malpractice. In one memorable case, a family was suing a doctor for something fairly frivolous, and my dad was a witness for the defense. The lawyer representing the family was cross-examining my dad, and brought up a chapter in a medical textbook, and asked my dad to read a highlighted paragraph. He does, and the lawyer says something to the effect of, “So, what you just read means <blah blah medical thing>.”
My dad confidently replied, “No, it does not mean that.”
Lawyer: “No but if you read xyz, the author clearly states <blah blah medical thing>.”
Dad: “No, really, that’s not what the author means.”
Lawyer: “How do you know that’s not what the author meant?”
Dad: “Well, because I wrote it.”
Judge basically facepalmed while the lawyer mimicked a goldfish and stared at the author’s name on the chapter. Basically the best moment of my dad’s professional life. (Yes, the ruling was in the defendant’s favor.)” – linkcecum
“Reminds me a tad of this time a pro se litigant was suing a wonderful surgeon who had done nothing wrong. One of the attempted arguments was that the surgeon’s physician assistant wasn’t competent to assist with procedures and follow-ups. So, the guy asks the surgeon does he HONESTLY thinks physician’s assistants know what they’re doing, and does the surgeon know what’s reasonable to expect of one?
The surgeon, who was patient and humble, and polite up until this point (and still was at this point) kindly replied that he founded the entire practice of having physician’s assistants in the United States and that he came up with the idea while serving in combat, where he saw how helpful medics were to him while he was operating on an overwhelming number of casualties…
…and that, yes, he has a very good one at the hospital.” – Reddit
“A wife filed for a restraining order because she wanted the house during the divorce. Husband has a good job, like 200k per year. The employer finds out about the restraining order, the husband is fired. He was a very specialized employee so the only job he can find close to house, ex-wife, and daughter is 50k.
House gets foreclosed. Child support at less than $500 per month. His wife has to get a job as a waitress. Four cars get repossessed.” – Thencewasit
“Not a lawyer, but I was a jury foreman on a case about 5 years back. Guy was accused of attempting to kill his girlfriend. Various charges up and down the severity were filed. However, the victim’s testimony wasn’t terribly convincing, especially after the cross, and there was only evidence that something had happened in the house that night, but not necessarily that the BF had done it.
Anyway, defenses turn to present, and they unexpectedly recess for the day. We come back the next day, and the defendant testifies. He puts himself at the scene and admits to hitting her. We ended up convicting him of everything but attempted murder if I remember right…
Afterward, the judge came into the jury room and told us that the unexpected recess the previous day was because the defendant insisted on testifying against his lawyer and the judge’s advice. If he hadn’t testified, basically no chance we would have convicted him. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.” – etherag
“So my father in law had arrested someone for breaking and entering. During his arraignment, the judge stopped for a moment and asked the defendant where he got his suit from. It turns out that the defendant was also responsible for a previously unsolved break-in at the judge’s home and had shown up wearing one of the judge’s stolen suits.” – HaroldRichardJohnson
“A friend kept meticulous records of how much time his estranged wife spent with their daughter. He used a pink highlighter for Mom and a blue highlighter for himself.
Mom sailed into arbitration demanding full custody and handsome child support and the house. Dad pulled out three years’ worth of year-long calendars. Mom had spent less than a full month with the child in three years.
Mom was not happy with the outcome.” – Omars_daughter
“Not the worst, but one that sticks out that they did to themselves. Woman shows up to court in an “It’s party time b**ches! Drink up!” t-shirt. She was there for her first appearance on a 3rd DUI charge. The judge was not in a humorous mood that day.” – Lionel_Hutz_Law
“My dad was a judge and had someone on trial for DUI. The guy would not stop running his mouth and was trash-talking everyone in the room. He instructed him to stop. Dude did not stop. Dad placed him in contempt of court for 90 days. Dude gets out, goes back to trial. First thing, he starts running his mouth again. Boom. Another 90 days in jail for contempt. 180 days in jail when a DUI in our state is only 60 days for his level of DUI.” – notjawn
“I work as a public servant in a criminal law judge’s office, and since I have a law degree I don’t normally do administrative work, though I get to be with the judge in some of the hearings. Last month we had a huge drug trafficking case (I’m talking about 20 or more people involved, months of investigation, undercover agents, videos, audio, the whole ordeal). Hearing lasted three days.
Anyway when it was time for one of the defendants to be on the stand so the prosecutor could read the charges he was accusing him of (He was pleading not guilty, as he very loudly stated from the majority of the hearing, up until my boss -the judge- told him to shut up or he would be admonished, to which he replied “what are you gonna do, arrest me?” which, to be honest, was actually a bit funny), the prosecutor, as part of the facts of his case, told him that “he was being accused of selling, trafficking and carrying x amount of x drugs, with the base of his operation being his house, where he lived with his partner” (Mind you, said partner wasn’t even in the hearing, she wasn’t arrested or anything as there was nothing tying her to the case) he said, “Wait up, I was the one selling the drugs, she didn’t do anything.”
His lawyer (a state-assigned public lawyer) facepalmed so hard it’s actually recorded in the audio of the hearing.
He still pleaded not guilty.” – mildepan
“I spent a summer as an intern doing narcotics work. You’d be surprised how much information defendants and their friends/family share over prison telephone calls, even when the line informs you the line is being monitored and recorded before the call begins.
That said, a defendant maintained he was an innocent Uber driver and was not in the business of selling drugs… meanwhile, he was telling his wife over the phone that they needed to figure out how to move 3 kilos of cocaine so they could afford the lawyer to represent him.
Needless to say, he was shocked when the recording was played back in court…” – lawtinaaa
“Well, not my story, but a prior boss’s story: They had a drunk-driver-kills-a-car-worth-of-people case at the time when they were a general practitioner. My boss was representing the family that got hit (one where the two kids and the wife had died, but the father had not) and wanted the college guy’s drunk-driving skin to be mounted on a wall.
This was back before Facebook was commonly used in court proceedings and before tons of people realized that sh** is too great for any attorney worth their weight in salt to pass up. So, the kid (drunk driving college kid) had managed to get the judge’s sympathy during the first part of the hearing by saying he was sorry, haunted, never going to drink again, this was going to ruin his life, etc. The judge seemed to really be eating it up.
Then comes my boss and immediately burns this kid’s remorse to the ground by showing numerous Facebook statuses and photos of them binge drinking, partying, and even joking about driving drunk from the date of the accident up until a night ago. The kid looked like he was being forced to swallow hot coals and the judge was absolutely livid.
Needless to say, the kid had to do way more than just apologize and be remorseful after that.” – rivlet