Sometimes, lawyers spend months prepping a case for trial, and then months more inside of a courtroom trying to win. Sometimes, though, it’s literally and open-and-shut case. These people took to Quora and Reddit to spill the details on their quickest, most slam-dunk court cases ever.
1. Seeing It With His Own Eyes
I had a co-worker who was trying to get disability due to some severe health issues. As it happens, he was turned down the first time, and then went to court.
After his name was called, he was trying to get to the front of the court but was taking some time. It was perfect timing. The judge took one look and granted his disability claim.
He hadn't even made it to the front of the courtroom, and he won.
2. Back The Heck Off
I once got stopped for “following too closely” in a line of traffic, even though I was a full rig's length behind the car in front of me. It gets more deranged. See, at the time I was being stalked by an officer and filed a complaint against him.
He was no longer allowed to stop me, so he asked his buddy with the other local department to stop me. I knew all this at the time. So I go, “Great, he gets to harass me through all his buddies now too, I guess," to the officer.
He goes, “You were riding that guy's bumper!” Anyway, he handed me the stupid ticket, and off I went. Because I knew something he didn’t. Officers rarely show up in court to fight the ticket. I did, and they left my case for last in hopes the officer would show up. Nope, he didn't.
The judge asks what happened. I say I don't know what's going on. There was a line of cars, I kept my distance. You could have fit a rig in between. But I didn’t stop there. I explained how I've been harassed endlessly by the other officer.
The judge interrupted me, saying he was very familiar with the antics of that officer and his buddy who gave me the ticket. He said, “I am very sorry, I don't understand why they still have jobs. Since he didn't bother to show, there's no one to argue the law's side. Case dismissed”.
3. See No Evil
Back when I was young and stupid, I was once driving on bald tires in the rain. The van in front slammed on the brakes and I hydroplaned right into the back of it. The van was okay but it had a wheelchair lift that I had ruined.
I admitted fault and we were exchanging insurance details when an officer comes up. He was angry with me even though I admitted fault and said I would pay. He wrote me a ticket. I really did not need three points on my license.
My brother told me what to do. He said if the officer didn’t see the accident, he cannot testify in court about it. My brother also asked how mad the other driver was. I said that he obviously wasn’t happy that I’d run into him, but he was otherwise okay.
My brother told me to contest the ticket, and then two weeks before the trial ask for a postponement. His reasoning was that the other driver might show up the first time, but unless he truly hated me there was no way he would show up for the postponement date as well.
I do all this and then I finally get my court date. The officer was there and had several cases in a row. The transcript went like this.
Judge: “Officer Jenkins, did you see the accident occur?”
Officer: “No, sir”.
Judge: “Is there anyone in the courtroom who witnessed the accident?” (Silence)
Judge: “How do you plead?”
Me: “Not guilty, sir”.
Judge: “Wise choice. Next case”.
4. Gone Fishin’
This was a battery case before a Justice of the Peace in a Nevada town of less than 100, so it was the only case being heard. The JP asked the Prosecutor where his victim and the arresting officer were.
The DA stated that he was unable to locate the victim as they didn’t live in the County and that the officer who had written the report had passed on duty in a traffic accident a few months before the hearing.
He continued to say that no arrest had been made at the time of the incident and the Defendant (me) had posted bond. Being that the JP knew me semi-personally (like I said, it is a small town) he knew I’d traveled over 500 miles to be there.
The JP said, “Did you really waste both of our time with this? Why are we even here?” But it gets worse. At this point, I spoke up and informed the JP that I had contacted the DA’s Office prior to this court date, trying to resolve the issue. I was told that unless I just wanted to accept a conviction in absence and pay additional fines for failure to appear, I’d need to be there.
Basically, they were unwilling to negotiate any settlement. The JP just sat there for a moment, gathering his thoughts. He then lit into both the DA and his own bailiff for wasting his “fishing time”. He advised me of my right to contact the State Attorney General to file a formal complaint.
The JP rapped his gavel and sternly said, “Case Dismissed”. The whole thing took less than five minutes. I never even got to warn my chair. I went fishing with the JP afterward—I didn’t want to waste the trip, after all.
I also received a check from that County two weeks later for twice the bail amount I’d posted. It more than covered all my travel expenses and I got to enjoy a short vacation.
5. Fashion Victim
Years ago, thanks to a series of screwups at a DMV office in the state where I resided at the time, I got hauled into court for “expired 30-day temporary tags”. This was one of those courthouses that hears everything, and I found myself second in line behind somebody being prosecuted for armed robbery.
Wonderful, I thought. I’m going to be here forever. But I was in for a surprise. Fortunately, the genius defendant showed up in court wearing the same black leather jacket worn by the guy robbing the convenience store in the surveillance video.
Even the judge had to comment, “That’s not the best choice of attire, there”. The court-appointed defense lawyer backpedaled quickly and explained, “Lots of black leather jackets look like this”. The judge then asked to see the jacket, whereupon the defendant removed it and passed it up to the bench. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
That was when the judge turned it over and a large bag of white powder fell out of one of the inner pockets and landed on the bench in front of him. The court rapidly moved to my expired 30-day tags and my explanation that DMV had held them up.
It took about 30 seconds for the judge to ask me, “Do you have the permanent plates now and are they on the car?” and for me to reply affirmatively to both questions. My trial was then over with all charges dropped. The guy in the black leather jacket probably wasn’t so lucky.
6. Three Strikes You’re Out
I represented a married couple with a tenant who wouldn’t leave. Actually, it was a little questionable whether he was a tenant at all. Yep, one of those cases. The case of letting a friend park his RV on their property for a few months. And accepting some money for it. Fine. Let’s say he’s a month-to-month tenant.
Well, the married couple gets pretty sick of some of the things this guy is doing. They read up on what they have to do, and they give him an eviction notice. They did everything correctly. He doesn’t leave after 30 days. They then start the eviction process.
Anyway, this particularly litigious “tenant” goes down to the local courthouse and gets an emergency landlord-tenant restraining order. Without any particular justification. He just thinks it will buy him some more time. The couple panics and calls me.
The tenant doesn’t understand that emergency landlord-tenant matters have a final hearing within 30 days—but usually within 10 days. That’s pretty fast. So, I ask the court to hear the restraining order AND eviction at the same time.
The tenant didn’t know that could happen. Now, this is a landlord-tenant matter. A lot of judges just don’t have a lot of patience for formality in landlord-tenant matters, so they’ll try to avoid it if they can. It’s not uncommon in my state for the parties to the case to stand at their tables, be sworn in as witnesses, and then have 5–10 minutes to just tell the judge their side.
Maybe a question or three. The judge is probably going to encourage the parties to “work it out” in the middle of all this too. Now, the tenant is adamant that there’s nothing to “work out”. Wrong answer. So, we get to the point where the judge wants to hear actual testimony from the parties. The judge tries to swear in the tenant. This is where it got truly ridiculous.
Judge: “Do you swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth?”
Tenant: “No. I don’t swear oaths”.
Judge: “… what?” (sounding pretty offended)
Tenant: “It’s against my beliefs”.
Judge: “Well, you have to agree to tell the truth or I can’t hear your case”.
Tenant: “I can’t swear it”.
Judge: “Okay. Ummm. Then your case is dismissed”.
(He turns to me)
Judge: “Now, on the eviction. I read your memo this morning. Anything new to add?”
Me: “No, your honor. This eviction is straightforward. None of the material facts are disputed”.
Judge: “Anything to say to that Mr [Tenant]?”
Tenant: “I’m not going to swear to anything”.
Judge: “Alright. Then the eviction is granted”.
Whole thing, less than three minutes.
7. Safety First
I was driving an older car and the clicker for the driver’s side seatbelt broke. The spring wore out or something but wouldn’t hold the belt. It had just happened earlier that day. This officer pulls me over for no seatbelt, because that’s just my luck.
He ticketed me for that and also ended up ticketing me for failure to change my license to the state that I was in at that time. This was a border town; I was living there for college and never wanted it to be a permanent living situation so I never changed my license. Of course, I mentioned that to the officer.
So, I end up having to go to court, but before I went, my dad helped me to pull one of the clickers out of the back seat, put it up front in the driver’s seat, and voila…working seatbelt. The day I went into court, I had the broken seat belt clicker in my pocket and a receipt from the local college for a class that I was taking.
When it was my turn to go before the judge, he said, “I see here you were cited for failure to maintain a safety restraint”. Me: Yes, it had just broken that day and I’ve since gotten it fixed, I have the broken piece right here. I didn’t even get it out of my pocket before he said: Ok I’ll dismiss that. You were also cited for failure to change your license for residence.
Me: I’m here taking classes at the college, I’ve got a receipt right here for that.
I didn’t even get THAT out of my pocket and he said: Ok I’ll dismiss that too, have a good day.
Going in front of the judge took less than five minutes, but the wait for the cases before me took way longer.
8. It’s Your Lucky Day
Several years ago, I went to court to defend a client on a breathalyzer. The judge called the case and the prosecutor rose and entered his appearance, and then I rose and entered my appearance.
The judge was filling out paperwork and I heard the prosecutor say, “Oh where is my officer?” He got up from his table and headed out to the hallway. When the judge looked up, I was sitting at my table and the prosecutor’s table was empty.
He seemed confused and asked me where the prosecutor went. I answered, “He said something about looking for his officer”. The judge said, “He left my courtroom without asking permission. Case dismissed for want of prosecution”. I grabbed my client and exited quickly.
My client thought I was some kind of magician; sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
9. A Shoo-In
This happened in traffic court. Every 20 minutes or so, they would stop everything and swear EVERYBODY in...
After being sworn in several times, my name is finally called. I walk up to the bench and the judge, an old dude, looks up from his paperwork and says, “49 in a 45? Who did you tick off?” As I’m about to open my mouth to explain, he taps his gavel and says “dismissed”. Twenty seconds, tops…But he didn’t know the whole story.
So I was on the highway. It was a “Construction Zone,” meaning they had put out an orange barrel or two about 30 feet off the highway and lowered the speed limit for no reason. Apparently, I hadn’t slowed enough (just by coasting) when I hit the 45mph sign and was pulled over.
The officer was cool. He said, “I know this is ridiculous. I’m sorry, but I have to, my supervisor is sitting right over there. Just fight it, you’ll win”.
10. Costs You Nothing But Time
Back in the late 1970s, I was working at a downtown Bistro in Galveston. When I finished work, I found a parking ticket on my car. I looked around very carefully and could not figure out why I had gotten the ticket. There was no parking meter to expire, no “NO PARKING” sign, no fire hydrant nearby, and no white lines painted on the curb.
So I decided to fight this $5 ticket. It was the principle of the thing, plus $5 went a lot further in the 1970s, especially if you needed it. I dressed nicely on the appointed day and went to court. When my case was called, I went to the bench and said I did not think I had done anything wrong and did not even know why I had gotten the ticket.
The judge asked if the officer was in court; he was not. He looked at the ticket and said, “I cannot even read this officer’s writing (apparently he had written the reason for the ticket on the bottom of it) so I don’t know why you got the ticket either. Dismissed!”
11. Darned If You Do, Darned If You Don’t
In my senior year of high school, I was in court because I had an appointment to interview the judge for a term paper I was writing. Judge Lambert Hehl was a local legend known to be a bit cantankerous.
He was doing his turn in the arraignment court, dealing with the usual speeders and DUIs, when a truck driver came up. He had been cited for attempting to cross the Central Bridge from Newport to Cincinnati while in a prohibited vehicle.
The Central Bridge was opened in 1890, and by 1980 it was showing its age. There was a plan to replace it, but until that happened, they decided to prohibit large trucks from crossing it, meaning trucks would have to go to the I-471 bridge and double back on the other side of the river.
That was all fine and good, except for one thing. They did not post any signs warning drivers about the date that it was going to happen, and when they posted the sign saying No Trucks, they put it 2/3 of the way up the approach to the bridge. When a driver saw the sign, his choices were to back down the approach or cross the bridge.
It was the same way on the Ohio side. Newport officers were sitting by the bridge, citing trucks going both ways. If you came off the bridge, you got a ticket for crossing it. If you backed down the ramp, you got a ticket for obstructing traffic.
Judge Hehl listened to the story and agreed it was ridiculous, especially since the driver brought a photo of where the sign was, but the law is the law. The first driver got fined $10 and points. Then the second one came up with the same story. At that point, Judge Hehl asked the court, “How many of you are here over this bridge thing?”
About ten people raised their hands. He nodded his head, told the bailiff to go get the guy who just left and bring him back, and said, “OK, we’re going to move this along”. When the first guy returned, Judge Hehl accepted his original guilty plea and suspended the fine and the points.
Judge Hehl then swore the rest of the drivers in at one time, and as each driver came up, he pleaded guilty and got the same result. Not one of them spent more than 30 seconds before the court. He then called a recess.
After about ten minutes, his clerk came to take me back to his chambers for my interview and as I entered the room he was just finishing up a heated telephone discussion with the Chief of Police.
12. An Expensive Lesson
It was my case, and it was small claims court. I used to work for a company in my younger years. There was another man that worked there that was old enough to be my father and he was looking for a station wagon to move his mother to Connecticut.
I had just purchased a brand new 1979 Subaru BRAT and the car dealer didn’t want my 1968 Pontiac Station Wagon. They paid ME $200 to keep it! This co-worker needed a car so I offered to sell it to him for $200.
He didn’t have the cash right then and offered to pay me $20 per week for 12 weeks until it was paid for. He was old enough to be my father so I figured I could trust him. Plus he said he was going to pay me an extra $40.
I also knew I was going to see him at work every day so if he didn’t pay me, I would be able to bug him each week until he paid. I had no idea I was making a huge mistake. Unfortunately, two days after he got the keys to the car he got fired from the company.
I knew where he lived so each Friday after work I would stop by his house and ask for my money. He always had some story about this, that, or the other thing and didn’t have any money for me. After a month of his lies, I told him that he needed to pay me for the car or I would take him to court.
He said to stop by the next day and he would have an envelope for me. I stopped in, he handed me the envelope and told me DO NOT open it until I get home, and closed the door. When I got home and opened the envelope. Its contents enraged me. I found 10 two-dollar bills inside.
Over a month and all he paid was ONE WEEK of the agreed-upon amount of money. So I went to the courthouse and got a small claims form. I filled it out and got the court date. There is a cost to file and at that time it was $12. If the defendant lost, he would have to pay all court costs.
I went to the courthouse at the appointed time and saw that the guy was not there. The case was called to be heard by the judge. The judge said, “Are both parties present?” He was informed that the defendant was not present.
The judge smacked his gavel on the block and said “Judgement in favor of the plaintiff… Next case!” All this took about 15 seconds. But the story wasn’t over. After the judge ruled in my favor, I asked the clerk what needed to be done next.
Turns out, I had to hire a county sheriff to serve the judgment papers to the defendant and attempt to collect on the judgment. This would cost me $11 each time the sheriff attempted to collect. If the defendant did not have the money, the sheriff would report back to the court what happened.
I then needed to hire another sheriff to attempt to collect a second time. If the defendant failed to pay then it was reported to the court again. After the third attempt to collect, the sheriff could report back to the court and the judge would issue an order for the sheriff to seize property belonging to the defendant from within the home or on the property.
Those assets would be sold at auction with the proceeds being used to pay the debt to the plaintiff. Any monies left over from the auction would be turned back over to the defendant. All of these processes came with fees attached, but the clerk told me not to worry about the cost because the defendant would be paying for all the court and collections costs.
After the sheriff stopped the first time, the guy knew he had to pay. The next day he stopped at the office, left an envelope for me. I opened it and was again totally furious. It was only for the balance of what he had not paid for the car yet. This money did not include all the court costs and sheriff’s fee.
No, he didn’t pay me the entire amount for the car and court, but I still did okay, so I let it go. I saw the man several years later in a shopping mall. He made eye contact with me for just a second, looked down at the floor, turned around, and kept walking.
I had many people tell me that I was too trusting and that I was probably going to get screwed, just like I did, because some people are idiots, thieves, and dishonest rip-off artists. Well, lesson learned.
13. It’s Your Funeral
I got a traffic ticket for driving through a funeral train. I deserved it, but to be fair I didn’t know it was a funeral train. The officer told me I could go to court. I asked why since I was guilty, and he said, “You never know, the judge may reduce the fine”. So, I did.
At court, the judge opened proceedings by saying basically, “You did it or you didn’t, I don’t care about excuses”. And yet, as you’d probably expect, defendant after defendant told great stories about why they were speeding or double-parking or whatever.
The judge would listen, say, “That’s very interesting,” whatever, and then find them guilty and assign fines and court costs. I was amazed by all this. The judge had been very clear and had time and again shown that he meant it, yet people were still offering excuses.
I’m just sitting there, knowing I don’t have a chance in heck. So, when my turn came and he asked me how I pled, I just said, “Oh, I’m guilty!,” in a tone that said, “You got me! I did it! I have no good explanation”. The judge looked up, a little puzzled, I think. He said, “Okaaaay. Do you have anything to say?”
“The only thing I can say in my defense was that it wasn’t willful, I didn’t mean to do it”. Again, a bit amused, he asked the officer if I had been cooperative and the cop said yes, very. The judge had looked up my record by then and seen it was clean, so he said, “Guilty. No fine. No court costs”.
And then, the obligatory disclaimer that by accepting this deal, I would not be able to appeal it, “…Although what you’d want to appeal, I don’t know”. I said, “No, I’m good”.
Now, see, I would not have thought “I’m sorry, your Honor, but I was oblivious while driving” wouldn’t have been a good defense. But I guess owning your mistakes, being honest, and making the judge laugh works out well in the end.
14. It Was Over Before It Started
This wasn’t a trial, but a preliminary hearing…that ended before it started. Where I live, if you are charged with something, there is a preliminary hearing at the lower court level to determine if there is enough evidence to send the matter to the Grand Jury.
I was in court because I was the arresting officer on another case. The accused had broken into a warehouse, loaded a half dozen TV sets in his truck, and was moving another when he was caught in the act by a Patrolman.
At the start, the clerk will read the charge: “Jon Doe, it is charged on the 22nd of May, you did take seven TV sets, property of ABC Electronics. How say you, guilty or not guilty?”
The defendant was walking up to the bar as the clerk read the charge. When he got to “seven TV sets” the defendant’s head snapped up and he yelled, “It was SIX, you lying witch!”
Total silence in the courtroom. The judge slid his glasses down, looked over his glasses at the defendant, and said “Certified to the Grand Jury”. Gavel comes down. “Next case”.
15. Too Fast, Too Furious
In college, I was stopped for speeding in a speed-trap town on the way to class. However, I was doing computer work for the chief in that town, so I asked the officer to call the chief. He said the chief was deer hunting as he handed me the ticket. Fine.
Fast forward to the court date. The chief said he couldn’t tell the officer to tear up the ticket once submitted and on the computer, so I had to show up for court or pay it. I had a class that morning and was driving my buddy with me.
I saw my name was at the very bottom of the docket and the chief was nowhere to be found. Bad juju. My buddy was worried he’d miss his class, so I gave him my keys and told him to go as I’d be sitting through a day of cases.
About a minute after my car was out of sight, the chief shows up and nods to me across the room. Then the clerk calls my name. I’d been moved to the front of the list. Dang.
I step forward and they call the officer. He’s not there. The judge looks at the chief, who shrugs. Case dismissed. Well, shoot. I’m stuck five miles from campus with no car. This was before cell phones. There was a “Kari-Van” service to campus, but you had to catch it from the convenience store about a mile away.
So I started walking. But there was a twist coming. A patrol car pulls up and the officer says, “Chief said you need a ride to the Kari-Van. Get in”. I pull up to the store in a patrol car and go in. I’m in line for the cashier and tell her I need a one-way Kari-Van ticket to campus.
It’s fifty cents, right? (I’m a broke college kid. No credit cards and they didn’t take them anyway.) “You can only buy round trip. It’s $1 dollar,” she said.
I check my pockets. I have a total of fifty cents. No money, no ticket, no ride. I am thinking I have to hoof it five miles or thumb to class. Then a hand reaches out and drops two quarters on the counter.
“Oh, no sir I can’t accept that”.
“You must,” the man said.
“Why? I mean you don’t know me, and that’s very kind”.
“Oh, I’m not being kind. And take the money”.
“I don’t understand,” I said.
“You got out of the patrol car that brought you here to buy a one-way ticket out of town,” he said. “Either you’re really important and forgot your wallet or you’re really dangerous. Either way, you’re getting out of town”.
I took the money and the ticket.
I swear this happened exactly as I said.
16. Fast Track To The Slammer
Back in the 1970s, I was a cop in Guam. When you make an arrest, it is not uncommon to have to go to court when the suspect is tried. “Hookie” was a local con artist and petty thief that I detained for stealing an 8-track tape player out of a pickup truck.
Hookie had sold the 8-track to someone else, who was caught with it by the original owner. They were all in court because Hookie had plead not guilty. When asked, Hookie said he never owned an 8-track and said he didn’t even know what one looked like.
He denied everything. I testified that Hookie was identified as the seller of the 8-track and that he even had a favorite music tape and I had it. I then pulled out a cassette tape and waved it in the air. Hookie immediately stood up and shouted at me, “You idiot, that isn’t even an 8-track”.
I smiled. A guy in the gallery of seats was heard saying, “What a fool”. Hookie’s lawyer palm-smacked his forehead and then told Hookie to sit down. I was dismissed as a witness. Hookie’s whole story fell apart when they asked how he knew that was not an 8-track tape.
17. What A Load Of Garbage
By-law enforcement wrote me a ticket because somebody tore open my garbage before the trucks picked it up. For various reasons, including medical ones, there was a lot of it. The mess was cleaned up the following day.
In court, prior to the judge showing up, the prosecutor, complainant, and defendant huddle to see if something can be worked out. The By-law Enforcement officer and I refused to give ground.
I had brought along a sample of some of the medical refuse as evidence. When I offered to show it to the prosecutor she said, “No…that’s fine”. She and the By-law Enforcement Officer went off somewhere.
Time for trial. Ready…set…
Court Clerk: State your name
Prosecutor: The Crown withdraws.
Judge: You are free to go.
Me: Thank you, your Honor.
18. A Familiar Face In The Crowd
Not me but my receptionist. She was called for jury duty. She told us that she needed the afternoon off and would call and let us know what happened. She’s back in the office a couple of hours later.
It was for a simple B&E case, so jury selection was going smoothly until…one potential juror was asked if there was any reason she couldn’t serve. She asked if she could answer that in the judge’s chambers. The judge said no.
When she hesitated, he ordered her to answer or be held in contempt. Her response floored the room. Apparently, the defendant in this case was being tried next week for breaking into her house and was due to appear on a number of other charges.
Needless to say, the judge and the prosecuting attorney were ticked off because everyone in the room had to be released from duty and they had to start from scratch with an entire new group of potential jurors.
19. It’s Who You Know
It was my own case. I was driving up an interstate highway in my state. I saw an officer had pulled a car over, so I slowed down and went to the far-left lane—however, this was not good enough for that trooper.
He decided to chase me down and give me a ticket for driving too close to him and too fast. I decided to fight that ticket. I come to court and after looking at the case documents, the judge asks me “Do you Know Lloyd Frauenglass?”—my name is Julius Frauenglass.
I took a moment to think about that because my uncle is a divorce lawyer and I had no idea which side of a case that judge might have been on. I finally answer truthfully, “He is my uncle”. The judge says, “Case dismissed”. I believe I said “thank you” and left.
20. Every Dog Gets His Day
My courtroom was in tears over this, they were so amused. I found myself sitting as a judge in Los Angeles County’s night court, which is held once a month at various courthouses in LA County.
I had a Spanish language interpreter for this one case, and the lady before me was crying and doing her best to control her tears. I could tell she was very, very upset. I gently asked her what was wrong.
Through the interpreter, she said she was so scared and so nervous about what was going to happen in court. I told her not to worry, no one is going to the slammer tonight, so let me see what was going on.
I read through the county’s paperwork, but my copy was terrible and I could only see that it looked like she was cited for an expired dog license, it had turned into an arrest warrant, and the bail was enormous. Then there were penalties on top of the bail.
I said, “Ms Doe, are you really here for an expired dog license?” The audience laughed aloud, and she said, “Yes,” with tears streaming down her face. I was confused because I had never seen anything like this before.
I must have really looked confused, because the people in the courtroom laughed harder when I tried to read my terrible copy of the paperwork, then looked up at her which led to more laughter.
I told the woman that I am confused by why the fine was so high. Then she said she didn’t know what the fine was, and I told her it appears to be $7,000, give or take. She began to cry again, and the audience laughed again. I reminded the audience that they were in a courtroom.
I told the woman that it looks like the citation was given in 2012, and she said she got the ticket in 2002. The problem began to get clearer to me. I asked, “You got this citation 15 years ago, and only now you decide to come to court?” The woman nodded tearfully, and said, “Yes”. Again, laughter.
I asked her what happened to cause this citation, and she said she was out jogging and had Goofy with her. I said, “Who’s Goofy?” She said, “My little dog”. I asked what kind of dog is Goofy, and she said, “a chihuahua”.
I asked her to go on, and she stated, “I crossed the street, and there was a patrol that I didn’t see, and the officer motioned for me to come back across the street back to him. So I ran back across the street to him, and the officer said I jay-walked and he was going to give me a ticket.
I told him that that was crazy because he is the one who called me to come back across the street. Then he said he wasn’t going to give me a ticket, and he was playing with Goofy. Then he said that Goofy’s tag was expired, so he wrote on a paper to get Goofy’s tag renewed. I didn’t think it was a real ticket because I didn’t have to sign anything, and it didn’t look like any ticket I’ve seen before…”
The audience again started chuckling. “I see,” I said with a sigh. “And where is Goofy today?” Her eyes welled up with tears, and she said he just passed. And I asked if I was correct in believing that she got a note to update Goofy’s license it didn’t look like a real ticket to her, so now, 15 years later she decided to come to court.
She said, “Yes, because I got a letter saying there was a warrant out for my arrest and I had to come to court. I thought I was going to go to jail today for Goofy’s license”. This amused the audience to no end.
I kept thinking that this is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in court. I said softly to myself, “What to do? What to do?” which brought laughter to the room again. I asked if she has other dogs at home, and asked if they have licenses. She said yes, and yes, of course.
I looked at this lady with tear-stained cheeks and said, “OK, here’s what I’m going to do”. Her eyes were welled up with tears, she sucked in her breath and looked like she was going to faint. The courtroom for once became very silent.
“This ticket is over 15 years old, you were never properly noticed, as you never signed a promise to appear, and the file has nothing indicating you signed any such promise. But you did appear when you received notice by mail, 15 years later. In the interest of justice, I am recalling your arrest warrant, and dismissing this citation in its entirety, and waiving all fines, fees, and assessments.
I need you to go to the cashier and get a document saying this is all cleared up. Do not leave without this. I don’t want to see you back here on this matter. The cashier may ask for a $25 administration fee, and I am ordering that fee waived. If the cashier disagrees, have them call me, and I’ll walk over there and straighten this out myself”.
The audience applauded, and this lady for once actually smiled and said, “Oh my God, thank you, thank you”. Then of course I said, “This concludes this matter. Next, I have matter number…”
21. The Price Of Everything And The Value Of Nothing
This happened when I was on a jury. This guy was charged with shoplifting a dollar-something bottle of shampoo. It was a six-person jury. The guy who was charged was there with his buddy, who was with him at the store.
They were both pretty scruffy-looking and possibly homeless. The guy himself was a homeless advocate. Not exactly famous, but he’d been written up in the newspaper. To be honest, despite our pledge to be impartial, it was hard not to figure he had shoplifted it.
So, the testimony starts and the guy says he and his buddy were on their way to buy a six-pack and he picked up the shampoo on the way to the cooler and put it in his back pocket. They got to the cooler and engaged in discussion about what to buy.
They get to the checkout stand and buy the drinks, but one of the checkers notices the shampoo in his back pocket and they confront him outside the store. He says he forgot it was there and insists on paying for it, but they had a policy that once caught shoplifting, they wouldn’t accept payment and he had to return it.
It escalated, so they went back into the office and called the authorities. The defendant demanded a jury trial. So, as the testimony happened, for me, anyway, it seemed plausible that he did forget it. A reasonable doubt, you might say.
At some point, the judge called the prosecutor and the attorney up to the stand and sent us back to the jury room. Shortly after, the judge stopped by the jury room in his jeans and told us to go to lunch. I assume he read the prosecutor the riot act for wasting everyone’s time for a $1 bottle of shampoo.
I don’t remember how long it was, but it probably wasn’t much more than an hour. Sometime later, I was shopping at the same store and a tube of toothpaste slipped and wedged in the cart and they didn’t charge me for it. I noticed this later, maybe in the parking lot, and got paranoid about the whole thing.
So, I reverse shop-lifted it and put it back on the shelf surreptitiously.
22. When Homework Doesn’t Pay Off
I was once ticketed for something I didn’t do and decided to take my chances in court rather than simply pay the fine. I worked out my strategy, the questions I would ask the officers, etc, and took the appointed day off work (for no pay) and headed into the court.
After hours of sitting through case after case of traffic offenses, ranging from failing to stop at a stop sign to an incorrect right turn (not one of which did a defendant win that I saw), my name was finally called.
I made my way to the front of the court. I couldn’t believe my ears. The prosecutor stood up and said, “Your Honor, we have decided not to present any evidence in this matter,” and sat down again.
The magistrate looked in my direction and simply said “Case dismissed”. I stood there incredulous and uttered, “Is that it??” I had done all this preparation. Moreover, I not only expected to win, but also to get compensation for my time off work and traveling costs.
Nope. The magistrate replied with a very sarcastic, “You’re welcome, Mr Evans” and called for the next case to be read. It was over in seconds, and I did win, but I still wasn’t completely happy at the end of the day.
23. A Trip Down Memory Lane
Having spent much more than my fair share of time in traffic court, I have seen countless cases where the judge reads a list of names and then announces, “Your officer will not be able to be here today so, in the interest of justice, your case is dismissed”. But this one was a bit different.
I was the defendant. The judge called my case and asked the officer, “Can you tell us what happened?” The officer responded, “I have no independent recollection of this case and therefore ask that it be dismissed”. The judge responded, “At the officer’s request the case is dismissed”.
24. No Laughing Matter
I was doing jury duty and my group was called to go up to the 3rd floor of the courthouse. Mind you now, we had just sat around in the potential jurists’ room for three hours. Anyhow, we get up to the 3rd floor and are told to wait because the courtroom was not ready yet.
We waited 45 minutes in the hall. We are finally called into the courtroom and sit in the jury box. The defense attorney and the DA are about to go through their jury questioning and the defense attorney steps over to the jury box and cracks a joke.
No one in the jury box smiled. We just glared at him since we were tired and foot-sore from being in the hall waiting. He immediately turns to the DA and the judge and plea bargained. I think we scared him…We were all released from duty following this. It never made it to a court case.
25. The Verdict Is In
I’d hired this lady, we’ll call her Debbie, as a narcotics investigator. I started regretting it immediately. She didn’t have any law enforcement or investigative background, but she did have a law degree, which the state accepted in lieu of experience.
To get her sort of in tune with how we did things, I thought she should sit through a jury trial and we had one on the docket getting ready to start up. It was an undercover deal, sale of controlled substances, and the undercover agent was a very experienced and very effective investigator.
I didn’t foresee any problems and went down with the new agent for the agent’s testimony. These things are really cut and dried. There are only three defenses for a sale case, 1) alibi/mistaken identity (“I wasn’t there,” “It was some other dude”).
2) The substances aren’t substances (“the forensic chemist got it wrong,”) or 3) entrapment (“I wouldn’t have done it but the undercover made me”). We had audio of the transaction and photos of the defendant doing the deal, so Option 1 was foreclosed.
The defense stipulated to the substance analysis, which left Option 3, entrapment. But the undercover agent has done this hundreds of times before and testifies very effectively, as usual. The defendant has to take the stand. Entrapment is an affirmative defense; you’ve got to admit that you did the act before you claim that the government overreached.
I didn’t think the guy did a very convincing job. Defense rests. We head out to lunch. Now, lunch was an eye-opener. The three of us are talking about the case and Debbie has a real negative take. She is a real Debbie Downer, ripping on the undercover agent, saying how credible the defendant had been, how there’s no way the jury is going to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
She’s extremely outspoken about how rotten the case and the undercover agent were. I’m having immediate second, third, and more thoughts about this new hire, but the undercover agent, my former partner, is seething. We’re both thinking about the best way to fire this person before her probationary period is up.
Back to court, we have closing arguments, and then the jury is filing out. Debbie starts mouthing off some more about how the jury’s going to acquit, how she would have handled it, etc. She’s now in front of the Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, who’s looking at us like, “Who the heck is this person and why did you give her a badge?”
We head for the door to go wait in the hallway for the verdict, and I swear, we just get it open and the court clerk comes running in, saying wait, wait, the jury’s coming back with the verdict. The prosecutor is like, “You mean they have a question?” No, they’ve got a verdict already.
It’s been MAYBE 45 seconds. Under a minute. Whatever time it takes us to get from the bar to the back door. We never made it out of the room.
The judge comes back into the courtroom. He’s even surprised. Jury files in. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, have you reached a verdict? Yes, Guilty on all counts. Boom. The undercover agent looks over at Debbie Downer and says, “No way they’ll find him guilty, huh? What do you think about my testimony now?”
Debbie’s got nothin’. That’s it, the fastest jury verdict I’ve ever seen, under a minute. And they had to take a few of those sixty seconds to elect a foreperson. Debbie decided she wasn’t cut out for it and quit, which saved me a lot of trouble.
26. Copy Cat
I was driving with a bunch of buddies in an old VW Golf. I was still living at home at the time so I was probably about 17 or so, and this was in the early 90s. We were going from one party to the next, slamming Bacardi and cokes—I was in the back.
We pulled up to a light and there was a dumpster in the corner. The Bacardi bottle was done, so I rolled down the window and attempted to toss the empty bottle into the dumpster. This is where my trouble began. I missed by a mile and the bottle smashed on the concrete.
My friends ribbed me for it, and I replied, “Do you see any officers? No? So shut up!” Well…unfortunately we were on a road that connected to a freeway, and there was indeed a motorbike officer with radar who was about 10 feet from where I tossed the Bacardi bottle. It literally smashed at his feet.
So we sped away and he followed. We had a case of beers in the car still, and in our state, we started tossing them out while he was chasing us. Luckily our driver Eddie was not a drinker and sober (a rare occasion back then). The officer was an older guy, and he asked who the moron was that threw the Bacardi bottle out.
I fessed up with a drink still in my hand. He smelled it and said, “Holy, what are you drinking, rocket fuel?” He then pointed to his helmet and asked, “Does this say idiot on it?” I said no. He replied, “Because you punks were tossing out silver bullets left and right after almost hitting me with a Bacardi bottle”.
I apologized and told him we were sorry. He was impressed we had a sober driver and gave me and only me a ticket. So a couple of weeks later, I’m at home and my dad says you got mail from the court. The officer got me good. My dad made me open it in front of him. It was a $750 bill for littering on a freeway, plus $500 for an open container.
My friend tipped me off about if you go to court and the officer doesn’t show you might get a reduced fine, so I thought I’ll give it a shot. I was making like $4 an hour back then at a surf shop. I lined up at the Newport Beach courthouse to get a time to see the judge.
This was back when stuff was not electronic but on copied papers. The gal behind the counter, for some reason, accidentally gave me the whole ticket—like, all the paperwork, including copies. Eventually, they called my name, and the judge starts fumbling through papers/folders etc. He couldn’t find the ticket or comments from the report on it.
He was asking the bailiff and everyone and no one could come up with it…because it was in my pocket with all the copies. He asked me what happened—the officer wasn’t there—and I of course denied everything. He told me to pay $35 and get out of there. I agreed, laughing all the way to the cashier. I have never littered since.
27. Pick On Someone Your Own Size
This happened ten minutes from the end of the judge's instructions until the verdict, which included a read-back of the crucial testimony. It was an assault case where the issue was self-defense.
What the jury wanted to hear again was the part of my cross-examination where I got the "victim" to admit that he and two of his friends were surrounding my client while he was backed against a fence, while this "victim" was chest-bumping my client.
After the read-back, the judge told me, "Don’t go too far". I never even got to the courtroom door before word came down of a “not guilty” verdict for my client.
28. You Get A Freebie And You Get A Freebie!
This happened to my own case along with about 30 other traffic cases. It was on a really stormy day. The judge came in and pronounced: “Thank you all for making it in here today. I know the weather is bad and the streets are icy, so I commend you all for making it here. In recognition of that, if you plead guilty, your case will be dismissed”.
Twenty-nine people said “Guilty” including me. There was one guy who stood up and was going to present something or other and the judge interrupted him to remind him that if he pled “guilty” it would be dismissed. He said, “Sorry your honor, I’m just nervous. Guilty,” and was also dismissed.
29. An Inside Tip
In 1980, I witnessed a fight at an auto repair shop in New Haven Connecticut when a customer went after an auto mechanic. The authorities came and I was asked to testify as a witness when the court case came up.
The judge listened to the charges and asked if there were any witnesses. The defense attorney introduced me as a student at a local college. The judge was not impressed but asked me my name.
I presented myself, giving my full name. I had no idea what was coming. He asked, “Are you related to Alan and Ben?” I responded that they were my father and grandfather respectively. He then pronounced, “I know his family and he is the most credible witness on the planet. If you disagree with anything he says I’ll find you guilty of perjury as well as the charges against you today. Do you want to change your plea?”
That was that.
30. A Helping Hand
Long story short, I passed a car on a double yellow doing 61 in a 40 MPH zone. Just as I was about to complete the pass, I saw a cruiser parked in the bushes on the side of the road. I slowed, let the other car pass, and pulled myself over.
He didn’t even have time to light me up. He had me to rights, and I wasn’t going to gamble that he hadn’t seen me. He walked over, ticket book in hand with a bemused smile on his face. “In my over 25 years on the force, I’ve never had ANYONE voluntarily pull over. Do you know how fast you were going?”
“That’s just what I clocked you at. Now, what do you think I should do?”
Being a rhetorical question, he held up his hand so I wouldn’t speak.
“You were over 20 MPH above the posted limit. I’ve got to give you something”.
I sat quietly waiting for a “Step out of the car” and the jangle of handcuffs being deployed.
“However, as this is a first for me here’s what I’m going to do. I mean I have to do something”.
What he did was write me a ticket for going 6 MPH over resulting in a $50 fine that I could mail in. It wouldn’t show up on my insurance, and there would be no points on my driver’s license.
He told me had he written a ticket for what I had actually done, it would have been a $700 fine, a charge of passing in a no-passing zone, and a driving to endanger charge; an arrestable offense.
“From now on, just take it easy. Oh, and thanks for making my month!”
31. Doing His Duty
My name came up for jury duty. They’d send us the information of the days we were supposed to show up, and we’d call the number the night before and enter our juror number to check the status.
The first two times I got the notification that I did not need to go after all. The third time was the final time before my name would be dropped from the list and I would not be eligible for several years again.
Expecting to be canceled again, I did call the night before, but this time was informed that I did indeed need to appear for jury duty on a court case. I got up early that morning and the weather was horrible winter storm weather.
I cleared the car of snow and made my way through the icy streets to the courthouse. Several of us were there and we mingled and drank bad coffee while we waited. A man came out and thanked us all for showing up.
Every juror that had been called in showed up. He informed us that the case we were called for was a DUI. The guy had had nine previous of the same charges. Apparently, he had counted on not enough jurors showing up to try the charges against him and refused to plead guilty despite a very solid case against him.
When he was informed that all the potential jurors showed up, he immediately agreed to plead guilty and avoid the court trial. We were thanked for our time, dismissed, and mailed $20.
32. Don’t Like The Cut Of Your Jib
I was once called for jury duty, and the trial actually ended before it began. We, the jury pool, were sitting in the audience area in the courtroom waiting for the selection process to begin. The defendant and his lawyer came past us on their way to the judge’s chambers to see him about something before the trial began.
They were in the judge’s office for about 15 minutes or so, then came out and left with a bailiff. When I saw them, I had to blink to understand. See, the defendant was now in cuffs. The judge came out and thanked us for showing up, but said that our services would not be needed.
Apparently, when the defendant walked past us, he decided we were a group that would convict him and copped a plea.
33. Brothers In Arms
I worked as a court bailiff for a few months. During that time, I attended a case opposing two brothers who owned paving businesses. The plaintiff witnessed that he had conspired with his brother to pass the sale of equipment as subcontracting for tax purposes, and that the defendant—his brother—had afterward refused to deliver the equipment.
The judge looked at the bill and adjudicated right there from the bench. This was the first time I’d seen that happening, as the judges would usually write their decision after the hearings. He said that the bill was proof of what the transaction was and added that if the plaintiff had wanted to defraud the state, he shouldn’t expect the state to help him.
34. A Cut And Dry Case
I was about 16 or 17 years old. My mom and I had ventured to Washington state to visit my sister-in-law, who lived close to a Navy base. While there, my sister-in-law suggested we visit the base and I was given the task of driving there.
We came to a stop at a stop sign. To the left was a slight rise, which made it hard to see oncoming traffic. I looked several times and headed out to make my left turn. It was only after I had nearly cleared the intersection that a car topped the rise, came down, and just clipped the left side of our rear bumper and bent it slightly down.
An officer shows up and takes statements from the other driver, myself, and my mom. He then writes me a ticket for failure to yield. Mom and my sister-in-law are incredulous! So we call the court and set a court date for within a couple days.
We show up to said court date. The officer is unavailable, but that wasn’t all. He also had not turned in the ticket. Now the judge is a bit miffed. He reschedules the date and apparently got word to the officer that he’d better turn in said ticket and show up.
The second time to the courthouse, the officer is there. The judge calls my case, asks me a couple of questions about what happened, and I explain my side. He then dismisses my ticket, excuses us, and calls the officer forward. As mom and I exit the courtroom, we hear the judge reading the riot act to the officer.
I’m not sure how long he had to ride a desk after that, but I’m sure his sitting pad was a bit sore.
35. An Offer They Could Refuse
I had been working on this case with the opposing solicitor. I had made a reasonable settlement offer, which had been refused. So it was listed for hearing and the opposing solicitor briefed a barrister. I briefed myself.
The barrister entered the hearing room just before zero hour. As he sat down, I said to him: “Are you sure your client won't accept my offer?” He looked at me puzzled as we heard: “All rise".
As we seated again, the barrister asked for the quickest adjournment I have ever known—this trial had so far lasted about two seconds. He got it. Once we were alone again, he asked me, “WHAT offer?”
I showed him my letter. He showed his client, who accepted. They drafted a handwritten memorandum of agreement which we both signed, and the agreement was enacted later that day.
There was some discussion between the barrister and solicitor a few days later. The solicitor had “forgotten" to pass on my offer. The matter had been listed for a full day, so a whole day of court time was gone. Not happy.
36. Driving Me Crazy
I was in traffic court for an accident after someone struck me, and I got to hear a litany of cases before mine. One guy got a ticket for doing 105 in a 35. The judge looked at the offender and simply said with raised eyes “Really?”
He took zero statements or questions and leveled a very heavy penalty. Ten seconds.
37. Lock Him Up
Before my husband and I got divorced, we had to go to a hearing before the Family Court judge. My husband’s behavior had gotten pretty out of hand, and his lawyer had advised him to move out.
Thankfully, he had taken that advice, and his issues went with him. So at the hearing, the judge told him that he should stay away from the house where I lived, and he agreed. Weirdly, though, there were two times where the security alarm system was activated with no reason found.
Neither time was I home. Suddenly it all made sense. Fast forward six months from the preliminary hearing to the actual divorce proceeding. He is on the stand very angrily accusing me of having changed the locks. The look on that judge’s face was priceless.
38. Now You See Me, Now You Don’t
In the United States, if someone makes a statement on the witness stand that contradicts previous testimony they gave under oath, there is a formal procedure you need to follow to impeach them.
You can’t jump out of your chair and start calling them a liar. You have to do a song and dance with them; you have to refresh their recollection and give them an opportunity to explain.
Here’s a story of how it went one time.
Me: You did not see Mr Smith’s vehicle prior to striking it, correct?
Defendant: No, that’s not true. I did see it a while beforehand.
Me: Have you ever given a different answer under oath before?
Defendant: No, because I always tell the truth.
Me: Do you remember giving a deposition in this case on September 18, 2017?
Me: You swore an oath?
Me: To tell the truth?
Me: And you did tell the truth?
Me: Would you like to see a copy of your deposition to see if it refreshes your recollection about your previous testimony?
Me: Here you go. Page 34, lines 9–22. Do you see where you testified that you didn’t see Mr Smith’s vehicle until after you hit it?
Me: Which answer would you like the jury to believe?
Skip ahead to me having done this twice already with the witness. The witness just gave their third inconsistent answer under oath.
Me: Do you recall giving a different answer under oath in your deposition?
Me: Would you like to see a copy of your deposition to see if it refreshes your recollection?
Defendant: No I would not like to see it.
My client won that case.
39. Bang Goes The Gavel
I had to sue this jerk for some backhoe, plumbing, and electrical work I had done for him so he could put a trailer on his property to house some illegal aliens that were working for him. I found out later that he would hire people that were vulnerable, on disability, owed child support, etc, and work them until they quit because he wouldn’t pay them.
They couldn’t complain without getting in trouble. Because I didn’t have a regular job, he thought I was on disability and tried that with me. When we got to court and the judge had heard my story, reviewed my time sheets, materials list, and receipts, he asked this idiot, “Did you expect this to be done for free?”
The nitwit says “Yes”. “Verdict for the plaintiff” (me), bang goes the gavel.
40. I Do What I Want
Not my case, but the case before mine. The wife had made baseless accusations, and now the husband could only meet with the children with a therapist until the therapist reported that he was OK with the kids.
However, what I also heard was that the wife had petitioned at least three times to move away and was told no. The children had their own court-appointed representative, who was having a difficult time getting information on their school registration.
Then the mother revealed why. She had moved with the children to a town two hours away. Within 60 seconds, the judge awarded sole custody to the father and ordered the mother to have no contact with the children from that second onward.
She ordered the mother to remain in the court building until the children were safely in the father’s custody. Of course, the judge was also livid about the disobeying of court orders.
41. Up A Creek
I’m a commercial architect, and in 1999 I had a great client. You know his company, it was centered around a giant purple dinosaur. Great guy. He had a house in the suburbs on one of those “You wouldn't know it was here if you didn't look behind the gate”. This was before Google Earth.
The local school district built a middle school and a high school on the opposite side of the street from this guy’s lot. The lot was narrow and really long, and had a little creek that connected the schools to a large creek at the opposite end of this guy’s lot.
The schools opened, spring came, and this little creek floods, overfills its banks and nearly floods his beautiful home. I knew just what happened. It is clear to me that the school district didn't make accommodations for their stormwater.
He files a suit and there is a telephone deposition with the civil engineers for the school district. I have his attorney ask the question; “Why didn't you design a detention pond as part of your design for the school sites?”
Before the engineers could stop themselves, we hear, “Because it would have been too big to do any good". I told the attorney to stop, we were done. They settled for $600,000 in a few days.
42. Go It Alone
Almost nine years ago, I was involved with someone for a brief period of time. He got mixed up in the wrong crowd and started doing substances and stealing. Then the lying started. When I found out that he was involved in all of this, I decided to leave him.
A month passed and I wasn’t feeling too great, so I decided to take a pregnancy test and guess what!? PREGNANT! I called him and told him the news. I didn’t want to breathe a word to him but it was the moral thing to do.
He decided that he didn’t want to quit the circle and lifestyle that he was currently living in, so we both went our own ways. Two years later, one morning while leaving for work, the sheriff met me at my gate with a court order.
This man wanted visitation rights to see my son. I went cold. In those two years, I was told about his stealing, various charges, and complete debauchery. I cried like a baby. How was I going to keep him away from my son?
This wasn’t out of being spiteful; I was deathly afraid for my son’s safety. I went to court alone, every time returning home in tears because he never appeared so all I was met with was postponements. What made matters worse was that I had all of his charge sheets and the court references of all his grievances, but it felt like they meant nothing because the court said to me that “Even fathers in prison have a right to see their children”.
I was terrified. He started stalking my house and climbing on the roof while we slept. He sent me threatening messages, etc. Please let it be known that he had never seen “our” child and had never offered a dime toward my baby’s upbringing.
The court then decided that we had to see a family advocate TOGETHER. I didn’t sleep for days leading up to this meeting. Finally, the day came. He arrived!!! I sat in the waiting room with a pounding heart and sweaty palms.
I was so afraid of being in the same room as him because I knew exactly what he was capable of. They called our names and led us into a “meeting room”. The advocate asked me in front of him what my reasons for fighting against the visitation was, and I started to reveal all.
As I mentioned that I was about to immigrate and that my partner at the time was acting as a good role model and father figure to my son, it happened. He finally snapped. He pushed his chair out and came at me over the desk, shouting that if I let another man near his son or me, he WILL KILL ME.
I sat there terrified but relieved. I knew he’d just messed up big time. The advocate jumped up and called for security. He was detained on the spot. We’ve never seen him again. My son turns nine years old in September and I have raised him on my own.
I could not be prouder of myself for getting this far. My son has no threat, and we live a great life with minimal hiccups. That one moment literally saved our lives.
43. I Give Up
My first ex-wife was charged with illegal parking in Brookline Massachusetts. She had so many tickets (over $2,000 worth, and this was in the early 1990s) she had to go to court. The judge asked her how she pleaded.
“Guilty, where do I pay?”
And that was that. It probably helped that my grandfather was the town moderator and my aunt the City Commissioner. On the other hand, I had to pay the tickets.
44. I’ve Got My Eye On You
I was detained for driving a water ski boat without a spotter. I was 16 and the skier, whose father owned the boat, was 17. We were stopped by Inland Fish and Game and ordered to appear in court.
We did so. Then came the loophole. The judge asked the warden where the owner of the boat was, since only the owner could be held legally responsible. The warden replied that he had not looked for the owner, as he thought that he could simply arrest us.
The judge dismissed the case. As we were leaving the courtroom, the warden came up to us and assured us that he would be watching us in the future.
45. Easy As That
I went to court to contest a traffic ticket where I had been stopped for 57 in a 45 right where the speed limit dropped from 55 to 45. I didn't mind paying a fine, I just didn't want points on my license.
When I was called into the courtroom, the judge didn't even give me a chance to say anything. He just asked me if I would plead to five over with a $90 fine and no points on my license. I said, “Yes Sir,” and he replied, “Pay the clerk on your way out and have a nice day”.
46. It’s The Little Things
I have filed one civil suit in my life, against a man who collided with my car and was found at fault in the collision, but refused to tell me his insurance information, submit my claim to his insurance, or pay me directly. I sued him in Small Claims Court for the repair costs, and he decided not to show up for court, so I won by default and had his paycheck garnished.
47. It Doesn’t Hold Up
This was in mediation of a claim for damages. My customer was an equipment rental company, and rented scaffolding. The claimant had fallen when a part of the assembled scaffold broke, dropping him several feet.
During the arbitration, the attorney for the claimant dramatically dropped a large, full-color photo of a section of scaffolding on the table and pronounced, “THERE is your defective product that caused the injuries to my client!” He didn’t know it, but we’d just won the entire case.
My customer looked at the picture and quietly said, “That’s not ours”.
“We rent Brand A scaffolding. Part of their trademark is that it is green with yellow markings. This is Brand B, which is grey with red markings. You can see their name in the picture. We don’t rent that. Never have”.
Boy, it got REAL quiet in there.
48. Turning The Tables
My partner was in a car accident. He was driving his mother to appointments when an older woman ran a red light and T-boned their hybrid with her SUV. They filed a report but didn't press charges against her, even for his injuries, because after all she was on a fixed income and their insurance could pay for it.
Cue one year and eleven months later, just weeks before the statute of limitations is set to expire, they get a notice in the mail. This woman is suing them for the accident. She claims at this point, nearly two years later, that it was my partner who ran the red light causing her to hit them, and that she suffers from neck pain and extreme anxiety around driving.
Now obviously, this is all lies and our lawyer knows it. Their side goes on for hours and hours with questions and litigation. I don't know enough “legalese” to make heads nor tails of it, but from nine until nearly noon they talk. Our lawyer finally gets to depose her and asks a few simple questions about her driving.
She insists that she is an incredibly safe driver, never listens to music or anything, could never possibly be distracted enough to run a red light. This is the moment that she had completely messed up—we just didn’t know it yet.
By now, everyone is tired and we break for lunch. Our lawyer offers to take everyone to a sandwich shop he knows. On the way, we pass the woman's car and lo and behold…she has glittery beads and fuzzy dice hanging from her mirror, dashboard paraphernalia, and a list of radio stations hand-written and taped to her dash.
Our lawyer snaps a few quick photos and we carry on to lunch. Needless to say, it was easy for him to have her lawsuit thrown out after that. Guess she got what she deserved for lying blatantly. It turned out also that she had done this multiple times for small parking lot accidents.
She caused them and then waited until the last minute to sue and get significant compensation to supplement her fixed income.
49. A Little Something To Remember Me By
I was on jury duty a few years back for an attempted murder trial. A husband was accused of trying to slay his wife. The opening statements from both attorneys were pretty short, about ten minutes each. That should have been a clue. The prosecution goes first. The first witness is the wife.
The District Attorney plays a voicemail message that had been recorded from her cell phone. On the voicemail, you hear an angry male voice say, “I’m gonna kill you!”
District Attorney: “Do you recognize the voice on your voicemail?”
Wife: “Yes, that’s my husband”.
DA: “What do you think he meant by that voicemail?”
Wife: “I thought he was gonna kill me”.
Defense Attorney: “Sidebar, your honor”.
After a few seconds of whispering,
Judge: “Attorneys in my chambers, please”.
About thirty minutes later, they come back.
Judge: “Thank you for your service members of the jury, you are excused”.
Apparently, the dude figured that there was no way the wife would testify. He was wrong and they cut a deal. No idea what happened after that, but I assume he went to the slammer.
50. Wrong Place, Wrong Time
My dad was called as a witness to an accident that a member of the public had allegedly had on a building site he was foreman on. The victim had apparently fallen into a deep hole that had not been labeled clearly and then been laughed at and not helped by my father.
Apparently, when the victim had spoken to my dad, he had refused to offer any help. The victim was suing the company for actual injury and for pain and suffering. Prior to appearing in court, the victim’s lawyer had contacted my dad and told him what was going to be said.
My dad replied, “Are you really sure you want to do that?” The lawyer said of course and see you in court. My dad repeated, “Are you really sure you want to do that?” The lawyer hung up.
On the day of the court case, the victim told their story, then they called my dad to the stand. The lawyer asked what job my dad had been doing on-site on the day of the accident. My dad replied, “None, I wasn’t on site on that date”.
The lawyer called my dad a liar, so my dad got his passport out, which showed an exit date of two days before the alleged date of the accident and a re-entry date six weeks after. Guess who ended up paying costs for that little debacle? The victim’s lawyer was less than impressed.