Lawyers Reveal The Least Defendable Cases A Client Tried To Bring Them
Ever wonder why lawyers defend guilty people? Especially those that are downright dumb? It's not just for the stories; it's necessary to preserve our system of rights. Sometimes they're simply hilarious.
-lifealert- asked lawyers of Reddit: What was the least defendable case ever brought to you?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
15. DNA doesn't lie.
Probably my client charged with statutory rape (multiple counts) who impregnated his high school sweetheart's daughter after having sex with said daughter. DNA in the form of a baby is strong evidence for the State.
Just wondering but how do you deal with somebody so horrible? Can you refuse to take it?
Not a lawyer, but I've worked with legal defense teams. I deal with it by reminding myself that I'm not supporting this abhorrent behavior, but that I am protecting their right to a fair trial.
14. Ill-tempered frivolity.
A woman wanted me to sue her previous lawyer for charging her a lot of money but producing almost no work to justify his fees. She gave me what she told me was the lawyer's total work product - a page printed off the internet for which she said she was charged thousands of dollars for legal advice. She had already brought a claim via my jurisdiction's disciplinary body for lawyers - she had lost and wanted to bring an appeal. The judgment kept referring to documents that I hadn't seen. I pushed her to give me everything and she came in with multiple files full of immaculate legal work that totally justified the fees she was fighting. We told her to get lost but she wasted a lot of my time before we realized she was full of sh*t.
Did you charge her?
No. I suppose we could have but we were ultimately refusing to take her case or carry out her instructions so we thought it best to just get rid of her. Also, she was crazy. Crazier than my account above sets out. She was paranoid and possibly mildly delusional. Charging her for the work would have perhaps been cruel.
13. Your superstitions about pizza aren't other people's problems.
So this guy ordered a pizza, nowhere was it specified that the delivery was supposed to be done under 30 mins but the guy assumed it because "movies." The delivery arrived 1hr later and to apologize even if it wasn't necessary, they brought him his order and an additional beef pizza. The guy wanted our firm to sue them because he is Hindu, doesn't eat beef and apparently felt offended.
Also this one time this dude wanted us to sue his neighbor because he assumed the guy was practicing black magic.
12. Great plan.
This guy murdered his father then during the trial he sent death threats to his mother.
"Ladies and gentlemen, take pity on my client, he's soon to be an orphan."
11. Nice work.
A friend of mine was in a case where a guy was accused for graffiti vandalism (among other things), and the conversation with the judge went like this:
Judge: "Sir, did you make this graffitti?"
Defendant: "No, I did not."
J: "But it has your signature at the end."
D: "Yes, an artist has to sign his work!"
Congratulations. You just played yourself.
10. He invented the piano key necktie. He invented it!
Worked in-house for a famous character company with a large fanbase. A few crazies a year call in.
A guy called in claiming that we stole characters that he created and demanded to be compensated. I calmly ask them to provide more details so I can determine whether this has any merit to it. He states he designed the characters himself and gave it to the well known actual creator when he was a kid, and the creator pawned them off as his own. I asked him when he was born, and it's a good twenty years after these characters were actually created.
I ask him to explain this, and he pivots and says he also created some other well known famous characters and brands. Characters and brands that are not owned by my company. I kindly ask that if he wants to pursue anything to send us something in writing and hang up.
I figured if he wasn't going to due some really basic research on his own claim, he wasn't going to spend any time to write it up. Never heard from him again.
This sounds like a guy I know that tried to claim that he created Toothless as a character two years after the first HTTYD movie came out.
He also tried to tell me that he was an alien- I'm talking he 100% believed that himself and went on and on about how he was waiting for 'them 'to take him home.
9. Your tree, your problem.
She lived on a large riverfront block. She had a jetty for a boat. Her large tree fell over in a storm and landed mostly in the water and making it difficult to moor her boat. She wanted to sue the government for not taking away her fallen tree.
8. How many kids is enough?
Not my client, but my Dad (and the hospital he worked at) was sued by a gentleman after he saved his wife's life.
Details: patient is pregnant with 8th child and miscarries. The fetus is removed but the patient starts bleeding uncontrollably. The only option available is a hysterectomy. It was either that, or she dies right there on the table. My Dad gets called in to do the surgery, performs it successfully, hooray. The patient's husband is quite devout and beyond pissed that his wife can't have any more kids. So he sued the hospital.
No firm would represent him, and he ended up bringing proceedings himself. Went all the way to trial and he lost hard.
It was the 6th pregnancy, my bad. This event happened 20 years ago, so my memory of the details was a bit off. I have added more info in the comments below, for anyone who is interested. :)
He already had 7 other kids. What does this guy want to do? Create a country?
7. This is what stupid does, when it is.
My dad had a client who was on trial for being a felon in possession of firearms, possession of stolen property, burglary, and distribution of narcotics. Guy had multiple pictures of himself on Facebook holding guns, drugs, and cash, and had videos of himself both breaking into someone's house and stealing a gun as well as selling drugs on several occasions. Despite my dad basically telling the genius he was going to prison either way, and to plead out for a reduced sentence, dude still pleaded not guilty. We still occasionally joke that the guy clearly wasn't competent to stand trial by virtue of being so dumb.
I don't understand people's fascination for positing their crimes on Facebook. Morons.
They want people to look at them and think "Wow, he's so cool! He's above the system, the cops can't stop him!"
And since cops aren't on his friends list, there is no way that they would be able to trace his illegal actions through the internet!
6. Divorce brings out the worst in everyone.
My dad's lawyer hated divorce and custody cases because he always gets the stupid clients.
Wife wanted everything in the divorce, her boyfriend sent a video to her husband-it showed the wife and boyfriend having sex in her husband's house. Wife, clearly at fault, still wanted everything. She didn't get anything and was charged with adultery. Husband celebrated by having a banana split.
1.a) I messed up his one, the charged with adultery happened in my home country of the Philippines, wife was caught banging a neighbor and her husband took her to court, were she would be charged with adultery by the a local court.
Wife wanted custody of her kids and she was actually winning, until she drove to her husband's place, drunk as a skunk and threatening to kill him if he didn't withdraw from the case. Also, she forgot to mention to her lawyer that she was on anti-psychotics.
Guy wanted custody of his kids, but had a rap sheet a mile long- along with a history of domestic abuse and threatening people in the Internet. Judge tried to give him a chance but he f---ed that when he posted a tirade on his Facebook on how he'll curbstomp his kids because their mother deserved it.
Woman was going to lose custody of her daughter, so she threatened to cut off her lawyer's balls if he didn't win. She said this right in front of the judge
Ex-husband denied stalking his ex-wife and putting poop in her mailbox. His social media accounts says otherwise. He even took selfies with his ex in the background, not knowing the guy who wasn't supposed to be near was near her.
Husband wanted a divorce, he was cheating on his wife and concocted a plan to have her be seduced by another guy. Another guy takes her and they both fall in love for real, guy fesses up and husband is the one getting served divorce papers.
My dad's divorce with his first wife was this for her (the first wife). Basically dad's lawyer took any and all evidence and it was discovered she was ffking men while husband was at work and it was known her husband (my dad) can't have kids but she was 5 months pregnant (everyone thought she was just fat) when the proceedings started. Dad's lawyer also pretty much got my dad everything, anything in his house is his and the only thing she got were the clothes in her closet. She couldn't have the grand piano, the fur coats, the jewelry, or even any of the wedding gifts. First wife and her boyfriend tried to break into the house but dad had housesitters he paid with the stuff they wanted. Dad also had to pay her money during the proceedings ( it was like $30-$50/week but his lawyer said not to pay that.
5. You're not gonna win, Jennifer.
Not me but my dad's lawyer.
My dad's ex wife decided that they weren't getting on with divorce proceedings fast enough and decided to make a move while my dad was at work and we were all at school.
So she locked my little brother in my room (the only one they didn't touch) and called over 40+ people to take whatever she thought was hers (so pretty much everything, including furniture, old music and pictures from before she was even around.)
I show up to the house to pick up my little brother and it's empty.
I don't know what she thought was gonna happen when she possessed many things that were obviously my dads, like pictures of just me and him, or the computer that he bought through his job at Dell.
My dad sued her 3 times and won every time. She just got caught laundering money from the summer camp she worked at and my old Boy Scout troop, that her son is (was) now in. F*ck her.
Interestingly enough my dad just remarried to a district attorney.
4. Most fraud is clumsy.
I haven't had anything too spectacular, but I've had a couple of clumsy civil fraud cases that I withdrew from. Both involved defendants who forged documents but didn't understand metadata.
"I can right click this added pdf text to view its properties. It indicates that the text was added six weeks after the document was supposed to have been submitted in competed form. The other side will ask about this. What's our response?"
I'm also assuming they get angry at you and your firm for not being able to just think of a magical solution?
Actually, in both cases, they didn't object much to our withdrawal. They knew what they did and knew that others figured it out or would figure it out.
We were willing to provide a defense (e.g., by challenging the claimed damages). The main problem was that we couldn't defend them in the way they wanted to be defended, which would have involved making really bad arguments and likely suborning perjury.
3. He's not wrong.
A guy wanted to sue God because it was unfair to blame the rest of us for Adam's poor choice.
I read about a guy who tried to sue the devil for making him commit crimes. The judge threw it out when the man couldn't prove the devil lived in the judge's jurisdiction.
In 2008, a lawsuit by Ernie Chambers was thrown out because he failed to serve process to God properly.
He sued him to draw attention to all the frivolous lawsuits that were being made and how the people were wasting the courts time, he wasn't crazy.
2. Good guy mule.
-Guy is driving pounds of drugs across the country (multiple state lines).
-Decides to pick up hitchhikers on the way.
-Keeps quarter kilo of hash oil in cup holder for "easy access" while driving.
-Gets pulled over
-Immediately tells the cop the drugs are his because he "didn't want the hitchhiker's to get in trouble"
Somehow, we still got him 0 jail time in lieu of community service and a fat fine. Small rural county cares more about the money than sending some kid to prison. The rich don't go to prison.
Sure, he's a drug dealer and committing federal crimes, but honestly bro move for a) picking up the hitchhiker b) not letting him get in trouble
If the dude had to go to jail, that bro move should've earned him a can of beer per week during mealtime.
1. "I'da got him 10."
A lady was sacked by a large company. They had caught her embezzling money to fund a gambling habit. They had clear evidence the embezzling had occurred, and she did not deny it.
She sued the company for $300,000 for unfair dismissal.
My sister's firm represented the company against this woman. The case was so easy, the firm gave it to my sister as her first ever solo attempt.
My sister screwed it up. Badly. Not only did she lose, the court awarded the woman $500,000 instead of the $300,000 she asked for.
In the end it was a good career move. The partners all knew her name and dropped in to her office, one by one, to offer their sympathy.
I'm not entirely sure. I know she botched the negotiation for a settlement, and then she must have made a serious mistake during the proceedings and really irritated the court.
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We are told that, if you're not confident, you should just "fake it til you make it."
This is great--in theory. In practice, sometimes "faking it" can have extremely real and terrible consequences, which these people found out the hardest of hard ways.