Jurors Share The Greatest 'Plot Twists' They've Witnessed In Court.
Jurors were asked about some of the greatest "plot twists" they've witnessed while judging a case on trial. Get ready for some outrageous answers.
Source list available at the end.
I was arrested for "pedestrian in roadway" at the 2008 DNC. I went to trial, and two cops testified that I was in the road and refused to leave. I had my lawyer ask them, "Are you sure he wasn't pushed from the sidewalk into the street by police?" and they each swore to that. I whipped out a video of exactly that happening, and the judge clarified into the record what she saw. I asked my lawyer to make sure the local defence lawyers knew that I would gladly testify against these officers' truthfulness if they ever tried to swear to anything ever again. Of course, I was acquitted.
This guy said that he couldn't read when he was asked to read out a part of his statement that he had given to police. Fifteen minutes later, he's reading stuff from his own notes.
My old man said he was in court once, and some guy was brought up on a charge of burglary. The evidence was heard. The very first thing the defence did was highlight the fact that the man couldn't have possibly committed the burglary (as a burglary is specifically committed during a certain time frame, and anything outside of that time frame must be considered a robbery). I can't remember the exact details, but in Australia a "burglary" and a "robbery" are two different things.
They had charged him with the wrong offence and he walked. The prosecution simply had nothing more to say. They couldn't do anything.
Been a few years, but I was selected to serve on a county jury. While everyone around me booed and offered condolences, I thought it was at least an opportunity to get to see what really goes on (Court T.V isn't real, folks).
The situation was as follows: a middle-aged couple was suing a self-storage company owner for loss of property. The asking compensation was 50,000 USD.
According to the plaintiff, the storage company had gotten rid of their property without a proper eviction notice and wanted to be reimbursed to the tune of 50k for their lost property. Cited items such as office furniture, other office sundries, and electronics were mentioned.
The key points were that the plaintiffs were regularly LATE with monthly payments, at times, in arrears of 2 to 3 months. No receipts or photos for "supposed property" were ever produced. The only "evidence" they had were a set of handwritten sheets with no kind of organized inventory whatsoever. State law, at the time, required 60 or 90 days notice for eviction. After about the third or fourth habitual situation of arrears, the company owner termed the contract and called them to pick up their things. 10 to 15 days later, he evacuated the storage unit.
The twist was that after divvying up culpability, fees, demerits, and whatnot the plaintiffs were awarded a bit more than $7k USD. The defence lawyer ended up with a pretty damn big grin on his face. In the elevator, after the trial, he confided to three of the jurors (I among them) that, originally, the storage company owner had offered to settle out of court for $40k USD. The prosecuting lawyer refused and insisted they go to trial.
I was on a jury that decided very quickly on a guilty charge for a DUI. The judge had us go back to our room and said that he would come say "goodbye" and "thank us" in a second.
He did thank us for serving (and as he did) he also went on to say, "I'm confident you made the right choice on this one. We're obviously not allowed to tell you before the verdict, but this will be this guy's eighth DUI charge. So, good job."
It made me feel less guilty about the fact that we had decided on our verdict so quickly.
This is one my professor told us a while ago. So, we live near a bunch of old order Mennonites. This lady gets accused of molesting her nieces and nephews. She gets kicked out of the community and arrested. It also wasn't just molestation, but a lot of violent, odd, and vaguely satanic abuse. She even confessed to it when confronted by the family therapist who uncovered the abuse and the children's parents.
Turns out, none of it actually happened. Once it got to a trial, it became obvious that none of the stories matched up. Some would have been impossible as they either overlapped, while other evidence proved she simply couldn't have done it. The therapist implanted the memories in the kids' heads during the satanic panic, and she was just a meek, older lady who got brow beaten into confessing when everyone ganged up on her. Sadly, many in the community still believed she was guilty, and she had to move to another Mennonite settlement. I heard children's services even kept a close eye on her when she did have kids, and her nieces and nephews now have those "memories" forever.
Not a jury case, but a friend of mine got a speeding ticket, and he thought the fine was extremely high and unfair for how much over he was driving. Four or five of his friends (including myself) and a traffic lawyer advised him to fight it in court because police officers have better things to do than to show up in court for such trivial things. When they're a "no show", as they pretty much always are, the judge will then toss out the ticket (at least this is what happened to all of us in the past). So, he does this. Now, here's the plot twist, the officer who wrote his ticket actually did show up. He lost and had to pay the fine.
My daughter was in a car accident, and the blame hinged on whether or not the traffic light was yellow or red when she went through it. The cop's report listed four witnesses, and I spoke to all of them. Number one thought it was red, number two was sure it was yellow, while number three and number four, who were together in one car, didn't see anything until the sound of the impact.
So, with the witnesses on my kid's side, I asked number two to come to the trial with us. The cop was caught unprepared for an actual witness and promptly withdrew the charges.
I served on a federal jury for a prison guard who was charged with sexual abuse of a detained immigrant. It was a consensual encounter, but because the defendant was a guard, that didn't matter. The defence kept trying to point out that the defendant worked in the kitchen; therefore, he couldn't be a guard. Even though he supervised detainees as part of his work. We found him guilty. Afterwards, the judge came in and told us this was about the fifth time the defendant had been caught in a sexual act with a prisoner. Never heard what his sentence was.
I was on a nine day trial involving about $600,000 in theft by the financial controller of a local tire chain. He'd been siphoning off money for about a decade. It had to do with how he could manipulate receipts involving cash sales and change inventory. In a criminal trial like this, it can be rather difficult to prove some of the charges related to the theft itself. The easy target for the government is income tax evasions. It's pretty difficult to explain how it's possible to spend more money each year than you make. This guy was making roughly $60,000 per year in legal wages but spending at least that much per year in luxury items, vacations, and wire transferring money to his wife's family in Indonesia. Add that spending with the normal living expenses like mortgage, utilities, healthcare, groceries, etc. and it was pretty obvious that he had a hidden source of income.
During a trial, every juror is given a notepad to write down trial notes to keep all of the details fresh for when it comes to deliberation. The funniest twist of the whole trial was when the guy's sister (very pretty, but not the smartest) took to the stand.
She was coached by the defence to try to weave a BS story about how her dear-old-dad, who died midway through the embezzlement period, had saved several hundred thousand dollar in cash that he stashed in his home because he didn't trust banks. This was a weak attempt to explain where the money came from.
The guy's sister (not being very bright) was being questioned by the prosecutor. He was absolutely leading her from one question to the next, until she finally realized that she had painted herself into a corner with lies that didn't add up. After the last question, where she finally realized her story was unbelievable, she froze up like a deer in the headlights and blurts out, "I don't know what I'm talking about."
As I tried to hide my smirk and not giggle, I wrote her quote down in 3 inch tall letters underlined. That little twist was my favorite part of the trial!
I was the juror for a rape trial. All of the evidence pointed to the defendant, but we could tell that there were a lot of things that were being kept from us. I asked the bailiff, and he took it to the judge. We were told that there was lots of evidence, but it was excluded and redacted because the other guy with the defendant pleaded guilty and offered to testify against the defendant. His plea was reduced to exclude him from the trial, and all of the evidence that was linking both of the people was thrown out.
We barely found him guilty. It was only after a few of us convinced the rest of the jury to re-watch the police interview that the defendant admitted to it.
After the trial, I learned that the excluded evidence did prove that the defendant was overwhelmingly guilty, and I was blown away at how the justice system could allow that.
I was on a jury in a small town in upstate South Carolina. The guy was on trial for attacking his uncle. The beautiful part was all of the family dynamics involved. One lady got on the stand, and they asked her how she knew the defendant and she said, "He's my brother slash nephew." The defence attorney looked like Colonel Sanders and talked like that chicken lawyer from Futurama.
I've only served twice. One time, a young girl was up on a drug charge. This older, druggy guy (who had been living with her at the time) got called up to the stand, questioned for a bit, and basically admitted the drugs were his. The defence lawyer moved for dismissal, and the whole trial ended right there.
This lady was on trial for brandishing a weapon at her roommate/lover, and she admitted to a larger plot to kill him, so it basically turned into premeditated murder.
I was a juror on a drug case. Any time finger print evidence was brought up, the prosecuting lawyer objected to it, and it was sustained. On top of that, every bit of actual evidence that was brought up all pointed to one person, and that person wasn't even the one on trial.
There's a case in the U.S. where an atheist got out of his court mandated rehab because it included the twelve-step program.
In the U.S., there needs to be reform on addiction treatment that is developed by medical professionals and not by politicians or social groups.
Not a juror, but my grandpa was a judge in our county, and he was delivering a verdict on a case around Christmas time one year. He was wearing a musical tie with the button that would play "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" in court that day. As he leaned over the bench to speak into the microphone and deliver a verdict of "Life in Prison" to this guy, the button was pushed and the tie started playing the song. So, some guy in the state pen had his life in prison verdict read to him while "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" was playing in the microphone.
It was day seven of a trial where the defendant was painfully representing himself. He asked a witness to describe the defendant's violent history, to which the witness named a crime that I was very familiar with, having worked in the building where it was committed. I had to approach the judge to explain this connection. Shockingly, both the defence and prosecution were okay with this.
One time, I went and spent my whole day in court, only for the case to end up as a mistrial.
Post are edited for clarity.
Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.
Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.