Lawyers’ Dumbest Clients 

It is no surprise that people who do unlawful things aren’t necessarily the smartest of the bunch. The attorneys who have to deal with these people on a daily basis have truly seen it all. But even lawyers are sometimes shocked at how stupid some of their clients can be—and it’s not just them. Get ready to laugh as Redditors share their stories about some of the dumbest lawbreakers that they have ever encountered.


1. He Took It To Eleven

I was on the prosecutor’s side when a defendant failed to appear in court. His attorney couldn’t reach him, and nobody knew where he was. So, we all sat there for about half an hour until the judge got sick of it and moved on with the docket. We found out later that day that the defendant decided to stick up a 7-Eleven the night before and was sitting in the pokey two counties over when he should have been in court.

AngryPurpleTeddyBear

2. The Ride Of Chucky

Chuck, an idiot friend of mine, came home from college for the weekend and was at a party at my house. He was accused of punching a girl in the stomach. The girl and her friend went to the authorities to file a report the next day. I got called in to write a statement, even though I didn’t see it happen. Chuck and I had a mutual friend whose father was a lawyer.

The lawyer said not to go in. Chuck returned back to college the following day and nothing came of it. Three years later, disaster struck. Chuck was back home from college and the authorities randomly ran his tag one night when he was headed home from my place. Four officers headed to his house the next day to serve him with a warrant and take him in on these old assault charges.

Chuck was too busy listening to Tool and playing video games to even hear the officers firing at the next-door neighbor’s pit bull that got out of the yard. He found out what happened and got in touch with the lawyer.  They began the process of turning Chuck in so the court case could start. At that time, I was dating the “victim’s” friend. That’s when the whole truth came out.

She confessed to the lawyer that the girl was full of it. So Chuck and his lawyer headed to court. The judge agreed that there was no evidence to support that he had harmed the girl out of anger or malicious intent. The case was closed…until the girl’s dad got Chuck riled up outside of the courthouse.  Chuck proceeded to body-check the prosecutor as he tried to get in between the father and Chuck.

Unfortunately for him, there were a number of cameras outside the courthouse, so Chuck was cuffed and charged with aggression towards an officer of the court.

Flavorfool

3. Her Defense Was A Bust

My husband and I worked at a restaurant. There was another girl who worked there who was an overall terrible person, and she was also terrible at her job. She told all of us that she was going to a store on her break to get some drinks. So, she went to the store, fell, and broke her ankle. I wish that was the end of it. This was only the beginning.

She then proceeded to drive back to work, lie on the ground outside the door, and yell for help. She then tried to sue our employer. However, we were all called to testify that she had already left for the store when the accident happened. Then, they proceeded to pull out the surveillance tape from in front of the store where she really fell.

Ok, so she’s already screwed. But when we saw the footage, our jaws dropped. It turned out that she couldn’t wait for a drink and right before falling, she took one. Then, for the nail in the coffin, they showed footage from the back door of the restaurant where she hobbled up and layed on the ground. She then got charged with fraud. Gotta love karma.

MoonSpellsPink

4. Don’t Mess With Taxes

I represented clients before the IRS. I had a couple who owed around $250,000 in back taxes. We had no defense, so the only thing to do was to have the clients meet with the IRS and plead for leniency. Well, the wife got arrogant with the IRS agent, and at one point, stood up and screamed at them, “You’ll take away my Mercedes over my dead body”!

Then, she stormed out of the conference room. Needless to say, she lost the Mercedes.

riverrat36605

5. Never Make A Threat You Can’t Carry Out

My dad was suing a customer for non-payment. The judge ruled in my dad’s favor for the whole $15K. Then it went from happy to scary in an instant. The guy he was suing got up to leave, walked over to my dad, and said, “If you think you are going to see a dime of that money, you are a moron. I will get ‘rid’ of you first”.

He then walked away. For a second, my dad was worried the guy would get away with the threat. However, he didn’t worry for long because the guy had said it loud enough for the bailiff and judge to hear. The guy didn’t make it out of the courtroom.

10per

6. What A Steal!

I had an idiot ex-friend who took a wallet from a gym locker room and headed straight to Walmart. She was hoping to get there and go on a shopping spree before the victim finished working out and reported the cards missing. Of course, she didn’t know if she was too late already, so she used the card first to buy a pack of gum and was successful.

So, then she went back and loaded up her cart with the most expensive stuff she could find and tried to check out again. But she didn’t realize her huge mistake. Turns out, buying a stick of gum and then buying almost $5,000 in electronics from the same store a second later is a red flag for credit card companies. So, the card came up as possibly lifted.

The clerk told her that, so she tried another one of the pilfered credit cards. They were also flagged since they were part of the same account. As a result, she was starting to draw some real attention from the staff at Walmart, and she panicked. She decided to use her own credit card to purchase the electronics, with the intent of returning them later since her scheme didn’t work.

It was all the authorities needed to get her name and address and ultimately find her.

Permalink

7. A Morning Drink Got Her In The Clink

I had a client who was an old lady in her 70s that had a serious drinking problem. Due to the senility of her husband, combined with her drinking, some mutual domestic incidents took place. She was under court orders not to have contact with him for a while. She was also ordered to stay off the hooch as part of her probation.

Well, she would continually get sloshed, call up her husband, and harass him, regardless of this no-contact order. After about seven or eight separate breach of probation charges later, she was facing some time in the pokey. No one wanted to send an old lady to the slammer, so up to that point, she kept getting probation instead of prison.

I got a no-prison deal with the prosecutor that was heavily based on reports that she had been successfully attending counseling for her drinking. So my old-lady client was set to show up to court and plead this one out. She indeed showed up to court—by crashing her car right in front of the courthouse steps, because she had booze for breakfast that morning.

karlomac

8. The Hand That Guided Her

A lawyer friend of mine was defending a guy in court. The main witness for the prosecution was on the stand and was asked if she could identify the defendant. The witness was scanning the courtroom and seemed confused. My friend was already silently celebrating because if she couldn’t identify her client, he would probably get all the charges dropped.

As he was mentally adding this case to the “win” file, he happened to glance over at his client. What he saw made him facepalm immediately. The guy had just helpfully raised his hand to make it easier for her to identify him. Even the judge laughed at that one.

Jeffbx

9. This Didn’t Fare Well For Him

I worked as a legal aid lawyer and had many dumb clients who did many dumb things. One incident that stood out was a trial I was doing for a client, which was at a circuit court that was about an hour outside of the city I operated in. The client decided to take a cab out to the courthouse and told the driver they would pay them when they arrived.

The client arrived in this community and got the driver to stop at a local convenience store that was located right across the street from the courthouse. The client proceeded to attempt to take five 26-ounce bottles of booze and was promptly cuffed and taken into custody. The trial had to be postponed as we spent the day—unsuccessfully—applying for bail.

leglaidthrowaway

10. He Was Bawling After That

During a divorce, the ex-husband claimed that he didn’t make much or any money and thus wasn’t able to pay the child support we were asking him to pay. A few hours after receiving this information, he posted a picture on his public Facebook page of a wad of cash talking about how “Ballin” he was. Needless to say, his claim didn’t hold up after that.

dawsonscreekrox

11. It Was All Just A Little Too Much

I was a law student working at a volunteer desk that helped people complete their forms for court. The awful part was that, since I was not a lawyer, I couldn’t give any official advice, which meant I couldn’t tell these people when they didn’t have a case. However, the stories were great. There was one instance I truly will never forget.

There was one lady who was suing her former employer for giving her too much money on her last paycheck. She told me they did it because they liked her and wanted her to come back. There was maybe $60 extra on the check, yet she was suing them for $10,000.

UntimelyOccurrence

12. Five-Finger Or Employee Discount?

I worked at a Best Buy, and we had an employee take an old lady’s credit card. He didn’t return it after she purchased something from him. He then proceeded to drive to the closest Best Buy that wasn’t ours, about 65 miles away, and use the lifted credit card after he got off work that day. He bought a TV, a surround sound system, and a PS3, all using her credit card and HIS employee discount.

He was taken into custody a few days later and ended up getting into quite some trouble over it.

kmad86

13. Lying For The Fun Of It

There was a situation where a man, Jim, passed and left some property to Ralph. Ralph couldn’t inherit the property because of some issues, so he wanted his son, Mark, who was Jim’s grandson, to have it instead. Since Mark was a minor, my client, Jenny, was going to take possession of the property as guardian for Mark.

The executor of the estate, Sarah, who was Jim’s daughter, told the judge that she didn’t have the personal property anymore because she had given it away. The judge yelled at her and said she couldn’t give it away. Then she said she had it. The judge asked her whether she had it or not, and she said she did. When the judge asked why she lied, she said, “Because I’m not under oath”.

14. Facebook Fool

One of my father’s clients was suing because they “hurt their leg very badly” when they tripped at a restaurant. It was a nonsense case, but my father managed to do a pretty good job and was going to get this girl a decent sum of money. Until she made a Facebook post that revealed the truth. She decided to upload a large number of pictures on Facebook of her dancing in a bar just a few weeks after the accident had happened.

The whole case got thrown out.

EmergencyTaco

Lawyers' dumbest clientsShutterstock

15. He Couldn’t Stay Out Of The Picture

I was doing a traffic hearing for another lawyer’s client at my firm. When we got there, the officer didn’t show up. The client was charged with careless driving—they had rear-ended another car—and was adamant that he didn’t do it. It was a three-car accident, and he claimed that the car that hit him pushed him into the car in front of him.

I thought it would be an easy win. I looked at the client and said, “You don’t say anything, got it”? He agreed. So we did the hearing and the witnesses testified. But because there was no officer, no one could put my client at the scene or behind the wheel. So the judge said, “Well, in light of all the evidence, I’m going to have to find Mr…”, and then my client interrupted.

He said, “Your Honor, I have some pictures I took at the scene”. I just stared at him. The judge said, “Sir, do you pay your attorney for a reason”? He said, “Yes”. The judge continued, “Did your attorney tell you to talk”?  He replied, “No”. Then, the judge told him, “Well, until you opened your mouth, nobody could put you at the scene, and I was going to dismiss the ticket, but now you did that yourself”.

The dude literally talked himself into a ticket.

citizenkane86

16. Repeat After Me

I was in court for a ticket. The officer had lost the ticket book, so there was no “official” evidence. The judge said the next 15 people on the docket—which included me—just needed to say “not guilty”, since there was no evidence. One moron got up there and started to argue that he was only going five mph over the limit, not 10.

The judge looked at him and said, “Son, just say not guilty”. The guy again said, “But I wasn’t going that fast”. The judge laughed and repeated again, “Son, just say two words for me, not and guilty”. The guy, confused, mumbled “not guilty” in the form of a question, and the judge said, “Dismissed”. Everyone in the courtroom laughed and clapped for him.

JohnnyBrillcream

Lawyers' dumbest clientsShutterstock

17. The Outcome Was Indeed Positive

I did personal injury law on the plaintiff’s side. My best story involved someone else’s client who I was deposing. In that case, I was deposing this guy who caused a car crash. The guy worked for a car dealership and was driving a company car. He swerved over two lanes of traffic on a highway, into another car in an intersection, and sent that car flying into my client’s vehicle that was stopped at a red light.

My client was trapped in his car until the jaws of life pulled him out. I was quizzing this guy and asked him if he had taken any illicit substances that day. He said no. I said, “How about the day before”? Again, he said no. Then I asked, “How about in the last week?” He said, “Nope, no way”. But I knew something crucial, and I was about to reveal it.

I then slid over to him a copy of the substance test his employer had him take. It showed him testing positive for several substances. I asked him why he tested positive for those things if he had never taken them. His eyes got really wide and he said, “Well, I never would have taken the test if I had known I was going to test positive”!

The case was settled pretty quickly after that.

coughcough

18. Smackdown!

During my internship as a law student, we had a client who, upon being pulled over and being asked if he had any illicit substances or drinks in the car, voluntarily told the officers that he didn’t. He told them that he did, however, have the smack he sold in his hotel room. He then kindly escorted the officer there and gave it to him.

Wolfman87

19. Good Intentions Sometimes Have Bad Outcomes

I was a law student assisting lawyers with cases. One day, we got involved in a caretaking debate for an old woman. Her daughter and an attorney were declared the legitimate guardians for her due to her dementia and advanced age. Her niece got us involved, questioning the motives of the daughter as the assigned official guardian.

The daughter’s motives were definitely questionable. She had taken tens of thousands of dollars and even her mom’s vacuum cleaner and silver cutlery, which resulted in the poor woman eating with her fingers. The case seemed to be a piece of cake for us. Then, the niece—our client—took the old lady away to a senior citizen home to guarantee that she would be well taken care of.

However, she hadn’t consulted us. Although her intentions were good, the daughter and her attorney were still the woman’s authorized guardians. They were the ones who had the right to determine the woman’s place of residence. It ended in the worst possible way. Eventually, our client was charged with kidnapping, and we lost the case.

StillNotSnowflake

Lawyers' dumbest clientsShutterstock

20. Twice Tanked

My all-time favorite was a client I had who was charged with driving under the influence. He wanted to challenge the charges on the grounds that he didn’t think he was too far gone and that the test was administered improperly. Unfortunately, he appeared at his court hearings rip-roaring smashed—twice. He proceeded to sweeten the deal.

Both times, he got into his car and tried to drive away. On both occasions, the authorities promptly stopped him, administered a breathalyzer, and charged him. We didn’t win that case.

CoJoetheLawyer

21. Their Worlds Were Turned Inside Out

A lawyer friend of mine had a client who went on a double date with his friend. He and his friend decided it would be a good idea to get busy with their respective dates in his van. That’s when they did the stupidest thing ever. See, the problem was that they had only one rubber…and to “fix” this issue, they decided to share it.

After one finished, the other proceeded to invert the dirty prophylactic and have relations with his girl. Here’s where it got REALLY weird. The girl got pregnant from the friend‘s junk that was on the outside of the protection that her guy was wearing. The result was a very messy paternity suit, as I’m sure you can imagine.

MisterReporter

22. No-Show Bozo

I was a paralegal, and the list of dumb clients I have seen would stretch to the moon.  We had a defendant/client with a very simple traffic issue but he WOULD NOT come to court. He had a good attorney who had negotiated a sweet, sweet deal, but since he wouldn’t come to court, the judge put a warrant out for his arrest.

We eventually found the client, arranged for him to come to court on the next available day, and filed the appropriate motions to have the warrant lifted. And, again, he didn’t show. As a result, his sweet deal was blown, he incurred $600–$700 in additional attorney fees for the extra work, and there was still a warrant out for him. Dumb.

Maxwyfe

23. He Couldn’t Bail Himself Out Of That One

There was an accused bank burglar at a bail hearing who was told by the judge his bond was set at $100,000. The judge explained to him that meant he could post $10,000 in cash to be released pending trial. He then asked the accused if he had $10,000 for bail to be able to go home. His answer did him in with one simple sentence.

The accused replied, “Judge, if I had $10,000, I wouldn’t have been holding up the bank”. The US Attorney asked for a copy of the transcript—it was the easiest conviction ever.

JME_123

Lawyers' dumbest clientsShutterstock

24. He Was On A Losing Streak

There was a guy who offed his girlfriend after a fight at her house. Afterward, he took off all his clothes, left them on the bed next to her body, and set it all on fire to destroy any evidence. He didn’t realize until after running to his car—undressed of course—that he had left his keys in his pocket. He then ran back inside and tried to somehow retrieve his keys from his burning clothes.

He became overcome by smoke and jumped out of the window, then quickly fell unconscious. Eventually, the authorities responding to the fire found him lying outside with burns. He claimed he was coming to visit his girlfriend, saw the house was on fire, and ran in to try and save her. When asked why he didn’t have any clothes on, he couldn’t answer.

bezufach

25. Called Out

I was a defense attorney in New York City. All inmate phone calls at the city prison were recorded. I reminded my clients on a regular basis that somebody was listening to all of their calls and that they should never discuss the case or call anyone related to the case from inside. I had a client who was charged with stalking and harassing an ex-girlfriend.

This case was the first and last time I had seen a legitimate case of double jeopardy. The defendant had already pleaded guilty and done a small amount of time for the same incidents. So I walked into court on our first appearance supremely confident that my client would be walking out of court a free man. I was in for a very nasty surprise.

Once I got in, I was informed there was a second indictment charging my client with new offenses. That’s because my genius client had called his ex-girlfriend while inside, and the DA had recordings of him threatening to beat her if she came to court to testify against him. We took a plea right there and he served three years for witness tampering and contempt.

If my client had only listened to my advice and let me do my job, he would have gone home three years earlier than he did.

Impudent

26. He Was Pushing His Luck

There was a defendant at a preliminary hearing for a domestic battery charge. The alleged victim—his girlfriend—failed to show up, so the prosecution dropped the case. The judge told the defendant it was his lucky day and asked if he had anything to say about that. The defendant started to explain his point of view on what happened and just about talked himself right back into that charge.

rdavidson24

27. Get Back To Basics

After my first year of law school, I spent the summer representing children in the public defender’s neglect docket. These were basically situations where children were taken away from their parents because of harm and neglect. Their parents and the government were also represented parties in those proceedings. The bar is set very low for parents.

Basically, they have to have adequate food, shelter, and supervision without any harm present to the kids. When children are taken away, the moms are told they can get their kids back by holding down a basic job, getting an apartment, testing clean, and breaking up with whatever harmful person they are seeing. The number of mothers who couldn’t satisfy those requirements was astounding.

Ancient_Lights

28. Paper Trail

Someone I went to high school with was taken into custody. He served his time and ended up out on probation. He couldn’t find a job to pay for his probation and court costs, which is when he made a very bad decision. He decided to stick up a bank. He walked into the bank and handed a note to the teller saying he was holding up the place and to give him money.

She did, and he left. After he left, she flipped his note over to find that the piece of paper he used was the backside of his probation papers with his address and information all over them. He was back in custody shortly after that.

Dahboy

29. Ah, The Company One Keeps

A girlfriend of mine was married to this piece-of-sleaze who had a dumb piece-of-sleaze friend. The dumb friend got himself behind bars because he held up his own local bank branch where he did his banking. Despite wearing a ski mask, a teller recognized him from his frequent visits to the bank and told the authorities.

So, he got locked up. Then, my girlfriend got raided by the authorities at 6 AM. They were looking for the moderate crop of plants she had planted in the backyard. She asked how the officers had detected it and they told her the dumb friend had written her and her husband a letter from the pokey. It said, “How are you? I am fine. How is your crop doing?”

“I can’t wait to get out so we can smoke some. The supply in here is very unreliable, so I hope you are looking after that crop real well. Ha-ha. Say hi to everyone for me”. Then he signed it. All mail was read by the censors inside, so they informed the authorities, and my friend and her piece-of-sleaze husband got busted.

firegal

30. Delete, Delete, Delete

I handled white-collar cases, so most clients are big companies. I had an international tax case about a company’s transfer pricing arrangement. During discovery, we found a non-privileged email with the subject matter “Transfer Pricing”. It began with the words, “Make sure to delete this email as it would be a terrible trail for the IRS to follow”.

We had produced 10 copies of the email, INCLUDING a scan of a paper version, because someone had printed it out and put it in their files.

voice_of_craisin

Lawyers' dumbest clientsShutterstock

31.  Watch Your Language

My dad was an attorney. He was in a meeting with some guys who were unaware that my dad fluently spoke their native language. They were telling him one story in English, then would switch to their native language to confer about covering up the truth. My dad let them go on like that for a while before he finally cut in—in their language—and asked them about the real story.

They were extremely dumbfounded and busted.

Spretty21

Lawyers' dumbest clientsShutterstock

32. Need A Ride?

There was a guy who held up a bank and fled the scene. His “clever” getaway plan was so stupid. He decided to jump into the nearest taxi. He got in and yelled at the driver, “I just held up that bank, now drive”! But he had made an enormous mistake. The driver of the car turned around—it was a law enforcement officer.

In his haste, the guy mistook the cruiser for a taxicab. Since both vehicles were white, it would be a feasible mistake, but an incredibly dumb one at that.

bezufach

33. He Got Some Crazy Advice

A defendant moved to remove his public defender, after apparently listening to advice from his cellmate. They told the judge that they wanted to represent themselves. The judge asked the defendant if they were going to change their plea, to which the defendant replied, “Yes, I would like to plead not guilty by reason of insanity”.

So, the judge asked, “Do you have a mental disorder”? The defendant replied, “No”. After a brief chat with his former attorney, the defendant reinstated the public defender as his counsel. My guess was that the defendant listened to counsel when they told him that pleading “not guilty by reason of insanity” meant admitting he did indeed perform the acts of which he was accused.

shocolatemilk

34. His Reasoning Was Out Of Control

My mother was a public defender. She once got a client who was charged with reckless endangerment for the nth time. She told him to be quiet and said that she would talk to the ADA to see what could be worked out between them. They ended up getting in front of the judge and the client started trying to tell the judge his story. The most ridiculous words came out of his mouth.

He complained to the judge that he had just stopped at McDonald’s, had a Big Mac in one hand, and had a large Coke in the other. His cupholder wasn’t easily accessible, so since both hands were full, he clearly couldn’t control the fact that he was going 90+mph on a winding country road with a 30mph speed limit.

Rentiak

35.  It’s Not Mine!

I had a client who was charged with several possession with the intent to distribute (PWID) counts. He was a subsequent offender to these charges and was looking at at least a 10-year minimum mandatory sentence if convicted. However, the state offered a plea agreement that would remove the mandatory sentence. It should have been an easy choice.

He would have received a 12-year sentence but would be eligible for parole in just 3–4 years. The client, who was out on bond, vehemently stated that he was innocent of all charges. On the day of the trial, I couldn’t find my client anywhere. I told the judge and prosecutor that he might fail to appear. I left chambers, and a deputy alerted me that my client was in lock-up.

I went back and talked to him. He had been taken in for driving under the influence the night before the trial, and the officer found fifteen baggies of smack hidden in his shoe. He again said the stuff wasn’t his. At trial, he was found guilty of two counts of PWID. That day he received a 21-year sentence with 10 being mandatory, which couldn’t be paroled or suspended.

He was subsequently convicted of another PWID for the shoe incident and received another 25-year mandatory sentence to run consecutively to the other conviction. But hey, the stuff wasn’t his, and he wasn’t a dealer. Unbelievable.

lawdawg204

36. Bedazzled Bonehead

An individual was told by her attorney to come to trial “in her Sunday best”. When she walked in the room, the courtroom gasped. See instead, she showed up in a matching sweatsuit with the word “sexy” bedazzled on the back and the behind. People filed in for jury selection, and she asked how long this trial was going to take because she left her baby in the truck out front with the flashers on.

reywolfal

Lawyers' dumbest clientsShutterstock

37. Security Breach

I was passing through courthouse security with my client when the deputy pulled my client aside. The deputy lifted his jacket by the lapel, and I could see that my client was wearing a shoulder holster. That is what apparently alerted the deputy. I thought, “Did this idiot bring a piece to court”? The deputy reached into the holster and pulled out a pack of smokes.

For some reason, he liked to carry them in a shoulder holster.

MarshRabbit

38. Door Jam

My father was a lawyer. When he was a federal prosecutor, they had a case where the defendants were holding up a bank. They successfully held it up and were headed on their way out. Then it all went wrong for one simple reason. The door would not open. They repeatedly tried pushing the door and slamming into it but eventually gave up.

In their panic, they thought they had been locked inside the bank by the manager. The authorities showed up, calmly entered the bank, and took the puzzled bank thieves into custody. The door was a pull door.

Down_Vote_City

39. His Alibi Was To Die For

Several years ago, my mom was a court-appointed lawyer for a defendant with several counts against him. He insisted on testifying himself, against her advice. He got up on the stand and said, “There is no way I dealt dope on that day. I was in Baltimore, offing someone else”, and then stated the victim’s name. Needless to say, he was subsequently brought up on other charges.

lstiller

40. His Stupidity Insured He Would Get Busted

I had a workers’ compensation client who was classified as permanently partially disabled. This meant that he made a concession that he could no longer work due to his work-related injuries and would receive weekly benefits from the insurance company for life, in addition to medical care. Then my client went off and started a construction business.

Not good or honest, but not actually the stupid part. His next actions turned him into a first-class fool. See, the idiot used the very same insurance company that was paying for his weekly benefits and medical care for his new company’s workers’ comp coverage. He went on to testify for his employees in their own comp cases.

The insurance company finally caught on and accused him of cheating them.

42_24

41. Stupid Incorporated

I was clerking with a judge when a man was brought back in for a parole infraction and insisted on representing himself—never a good sign. He only referred to himself as an incorporated entity. He argued that because all the court documents referred to him by his actual name, none of the charges applied to him, as he was now known as his incorporated entity.

He argued that he signed the parole papers under duress—he even actually put “unduress” next to his signature when he signed it. Therefore—he believed—the parole conditions had no binding effect on him. The judge was like, sure, if you didn’t sign the parole papers there is no parole. That means you can go back behind bars. Case closed.

flyingyume

42. There Was No Going Back

A colleague of mine was defending a guy who stalked his ex-wife and then offed her.  He was going to get life without parole if he was convicted. Which made his next move completely non-sensical. In the middle of the trial, the guy demanded to be allowed to plead guilty. His attorney begged him not to do it, but he insisted, so his attorney told the judge.

The judge went through it with him very carefully on the record, saying, “Do you understand that if you do this I have to sentence you to life without parole”? He replied, “Yes”. The judge told him, “You will go from here straight to the state and you will stay there until you are no longer alive, understood”?  Again, he replied, “Yes”.

Then the judge asked, “Tell me why you would do this”?  He said, “Well, I want to save my family the stress”.  The judge told him to think about it overnight and they would speak again the next day. In the morning, they went through it all over again and the guy told the judge he was taking the guilty plea, absolutely sure this is what he wanted.

There was no way the guy’s situation could have gotten any worse by finishing the trial. A year later, he was back, asking to withdraw his plea and go to trial. The Court of Appeals laughed at him. His fate was sealed.

bhp35

43. Just Follow Instructions

A woman got busted for driving after drinking. She was hauled to the station and processed. They called her a cab and told her to GO HOME AND STAY THERE. Some 20 minutes later, the same officers just happened to be out by the parking lot where they left the woman’s car when they took her in. At that point or soon after, a cab pulled up.

She got out, got into her car, and started to drive off. She didn’t get far before the lights came on. She got two infractions in one night. This time they didn’t release her after the breathalyzer test.

bhp35

44. The Truth Was In The Whine

I used to spend a lot of time in courtrooms. Once, I was watching a proceeding for a guy who was taken in for driving under the influence. When he was giving his testimony to the court, he spontaneously said that he brought a bottle of vino to visit a friend in the hospital. He said that the friend couldn’t drink it, so he consumed the bottle himself.

At that point, his lawyer started trying to interrupt him in order to get him to shut up. The guy just yelled, “DON’T INTERRUPT ME”. To his own lawyer. The judge said, “You should probably listen to your lawyer. I’ll give you a moment”.  It only got way worse. The guy then went on to interrupt the judge and said, “I’ll finish my story and then I’m DONE here”!

Usually, if you interrupt a judge or take a bad attitude toward him, the judge will shut you down. However, in this case, the judge kind of smiled, sat back, and said, “OK then, go right ahead”. At that instant, everyone in the courtroom knew the guy was toast.

McFeely_Smackup

Lawyers' dumbest clientsShutterstock

45. Stopped In Their Tracks

While in court, two brothers who were waiting to be arraigned took off out the front door of the courthouse. They boogied down the street handcuffed together. And then it all went wrong. When they got to a stop sign, one went left, the other went right, with the cuffs in the middle. They slapped together on the other side of the pole and fell to the ground in a heap.

The officer chasing them had to stop running because he was laughing so hard.

rodereau

46. Baby Mama Blowout

I was arguing for my client to be released on his own recognizance. The judge asked my client where he is going to live, to which he said, “With my fiancée”. He spun a lovely tale about how wonderful and how supportive his fiancée was, that they were having a baby, and he wanted to get out and take care of his soon-to-be wife and kid to support them properly.

The judge then asked the courtroom, “Could the defendant’s fiancé please approach the bench”? I still cannot believe what happened next. From opposite sides of the room, two women stood up and started walking to the front. One was about four months pregnant and the other was nearly nine. They were looking at each other with identical expressions of “who on earth are you”?

You could see the exact moment when each of them realized what was going on. The fight started before they even got to the counsel’s table. Pregnancy or not, those chicks were seriously going at one another. The bailiffs had to stop laughing long enough to break up the skirmish. My client said, “Gee, Your Honor, I didn’t think they’d both come”.

The judge said he was denying bail for my client’s own protection.

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47. He Got Stymied

I worked for the public defender’s office. I met a client for a line-up that he had adamantly demanded regarding an offense with multiple witnesses. I met him for the first time in a separate room to let him know how it would all go down and what to expect. It was the kind of line-up that you traditionally see on television where there are a number of similar-looking people standing shoulder-to-shoulder in front of mirrored glass.

They pulled the people for the line-up from the inmate population, and, despite their best efforts, it was not a huge population. I walked in to meet the client and he had a stye on his left lower eyelid the size of a golf ball. It was the most identifiable mark on a human’s face that I had ever seen. He still demanded the line-up and was identified instantly by every single witness.

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48. Bottoms Up Old Biddie

I was hit by a 65-year-old lady who was under the influence. The authorities knew her husband— who was a firefighter—so they didn’t administer a breathalyzer, do any tests, or charge her. The EMTs had said, “That lady is so sloshed, she’s going to buy you a ticket to Disneyworld”, which was how I knew that she was plastered at the time of the accident.

However, I had no proof to bring to the table in the lawsuit because if the authorities didn’t charge her or make notes at the time, then you couldn’t add it later. So, when we got to MY deposition, she showed up. She argued with me the entire time over my points and her lawyer kept having to tell her that she needed to be quiet.

I was becoming less than patient with her calling me a liar when she got off scot-free. That’s when she ruined everything for herself. She exclaimed to my attorney that the report was wrong. When my lawyer asked what she meant by that, she replied that the report had her coming from the wrong place. So my attorney asked, “Where were you coming from”?

She replied, “My friend’s bar”! So, my lawyer continued the questioning and said, “Really, did you have any drinks at this bar”? To which she replied, “Well yeah”. When asked how many, she said,  “I don’t know. They don’t charge me. They just keep refilling my glass”.  It was all caught on tape, and her lawyers were beside themselves at her stupidity.

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49. He Was Knee-Deep In Sleep

My dad was a lawyer in the Navy. One of his first significant cases was defending a guy who was accused of falling asleep at his post while he was in Vietnam. My dad was all psyched and was delivering what he thought was a well-prepared defense to the judge. The judge interrupted him and told him to turn around and wake up his client.

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50. It Was A High Sign

I was a new mediator presiding over a small claims landlord/tenant issue in a courthouse hallway. Limited civil jurisdiction mediations usually received their own room, but it was common for minor claims to be done anywhere you could grab space outside the courtroom. The two individuals, in this case, were about 20 feet apart.

Both sides were really upset. I was doing a lot of going back and forth, listening, and trying to drill down to common interests and what they could live with as a settlement. Eventually, the tenant started getting more friendly and said he might be willing to compromise, which was really surprising to me after some of the things he had said.

I chalked it up to my excellent mediation skills and went to speak to the landlord. The landlord appreciated the tenant’s gesture and said she would think through some of the options we had discussed. I returned to the tenant. They said something I found very weird. By this point, they were all, “Man, you know what, it’s no big deal. Let’s just do what she wants, it’s fine”.

Still, after a few more minutes of my making sure it was what he really wanted, we had a mediation agreement signed, lining up pretty much with what the landlord wanted. As I was saying goodbye to the tenant, I looked down and saw him holding a joint by his side. He had managed to stand pretty close to a vent, plus I thought I had only been smelling weird BO.

Upon quickly looking around, it was clear the hallway was relatively crowded, with streams of attorneys, clients, and bailiffs going by. We were about 10 feet from a courtroom door. It wasn’t until after he walked away that I realized he might not have had the capacity to sign the agreement. I also think he probably regretted the deal in the morning.

DontDoThis3

Lawyers' dumbest clientsShutterstock

Sources: 1, 2

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