These Stupid Defendants Made Their Lawyers Face-Palm Hard

November 12, 2020 | J. Hunter

These Stupid Defendants Made Their Lawyers Face-Palm Hard

They say that the wheels of justice turn slowly, and one reason is that there are some clients who are not quite prepared for their day in court. Lawyers just want to get their clients the best possible deal, but sometimes, it seems like the clients are determined to mess up their own cases. Get ready to face-palm: Here are the most mind-bogglingly stupid people in the courtroom.

1. Repeat Outfitter

A friend of mine is a lawyer, and he said that of all his clients, the stupidest one he ever had was this guy. This poor lawyer had a client turn up to court in the exact same outfit that he was wearing in the burglary footage. When the CCTV tape came up in evidence, the client looked down on himself and was like, “oooooh no.”

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2. Three Strikes And You’re Out

The client claimed to have been dismissed from his place of employment without reason and without the company following procedure. After we had started the case, it came out that not only was he given three written warnings, but he was also called in for a disciplinary hearing before his dismissal. Don't lie to your lawyer.

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3. Got A Point

There was a kidnapping case that involved two Asian male defendants who looked the same age and looked relatively similar. The witness was on the stand to identify where the defendant who’d attacked him was seated in the courtroom. It was clear that the witness was having trouble differentiating between the two defendants.

In a moment of absolute idiocy, one defendant raised his hand and basically pointed to himself like, "I'm right here, bud." Hands down, the dumbest thing I'd ever seen. I thought his defense attorney was going to have a brain aneurysm.

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4. Think Like The Enemy

I acted for a member of a vigilante group. My client was charged with various offenses relating to his vigilantism, but most seriously, causing grievous bodily harm with intent. He wanted to fight the case on a public interest defense point that wasn’t available to him in statute or at common law contrary to my advice.

I followed his instructions. "If the state won't punish these people properly, then it's left to men like my client to take the law into their own hands!" A garbage argument for a whole host of reasons. His laptop was submitted for forensic examination where they found his staggeringly huge database of illicit content.

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5. High Horsepower

A woman I know received several hefty speeding fines. In my country, you can have a magistrate reduce your fines if you plead poverty. She heard about this and decided to give it a try, and she went to court and told the magistrate a sob story about not having enough money. The magistrate took the time to hear her out. He then asked her, "Madam, what type of car do you drive?"

She replied in a tiny voice," a Porsche."

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6. Hands Off

My friend was representing a guy with a lengthy record. This guy took an A/C unit and threw it at his girlfriend. My buddy got him a plea deal for one year of probation without any time served. The judge was all ready to accept the deal. When he asked if he had anything to say, this defendant said he did want to say something.

“Yea. I don’t know why they charging me. I never touched her. I just threw an A/C at her. This is garbage.” The judge rescinded the plea deal because of the defendant’s attitude and lack of remorse. He went to trial and was locked up for a year. Such an idiot.

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7. Slippery When Got

I was actually on the jury. A guy was suing a business, said he got injured, and couldn't work for three years. He was shopping at this big grocery store chain and slipped in some water in front of the freezer. His wife recorded a video of him in the water, and she said the water wasn't showing up and to try splashing.

He had a record and was representing himself. The defense council asked him if his inability to work could be from the two previous knee injuries he'd had, which they knew about because his previous lawyer had requested his medical records. They went, “Sir, isn't it true that you spent 18 of those months behind bars for an armed incident?” Case dismissed.

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8. Truth Will Set You Free

I had a typical appointment with the Immigration Committee in order to grant my client his residence permit. He was marrying a woman in my country with my country's nationality, which is a legitimate reason to be granted a residence permit. It was a typical procedure. At least that's what I thought it was going to be. I was so wrong. 

The Committee, bored, wanted it to be over, and us too. They asked him the typical and boring questions like how they met, where they live, etc. At one point, they asked him if he was married before, and he said, "Yes, back in my home country, and I am still married actually, never got a divorce." I was like, wait what did he just say?

I was stunned. Double marriage is forbidden in my country. And he never bothered to mention this detail to me neither to the other lawyer when we asked him. He later told me he said the truth because he was afraid to lie in front of a Committee. The honest but stupid man. I got paid in full but had to find another way.

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9. It Comes And Goes

My father is a judge and had a case where a woman was suing for a severe back injury that she said was preventing her from working and taking care of her kids and so on. In the middle of the trial, a pen rolled off the table, and she bent over trying to reach it from her chair, but the pen was too far, so she stood up.

Then she bent over, picked it up, and walked back to her seat as if nothing was out of the ordinary. My dad was just looking at her, and she snapped at him and asked what he was staring at. My dad asked her if she was okay, and her response was that she was fine. Her attorney leaned over and whispered something to her.

Then she loudly started complaining about her back and how much her back hurt, but no one believed her.

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10. Technical Device

One of my clients received a ticket for talking on his cell phone while driving and defended himself by saying, “Your honor, I was not using a smartphone while driving. I was actually using a flip phone.”

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11. Miss Spoke

I saw a trial of a lady who was there for a hit and run and for being under the influence. The judge assigned a lawyer for her since she was so shaken up that she’d quit her job and couldn't afford to pay a lawyer out of pocket. The judge asked the prosecuting attorney for details on the case, and the defendant actually said out loud to the whole room: "You mean the car I hit while I was intoxicated?" The judge stopped her.

He took his glasses off and told her, "Everything is recorded in this courtroom. I told you not to talk to anyone about your case except the attorney that I assigned for you." You could tell he was ready to walk out of the room with the level of stupidity this lady showed.

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12. Wrong Direction

Woman A had hit Woman B in the head with a heavy pint at a bar, and Woman B got pretty serious injuries. The defense claimed that Woman A had not hit anybody with the pint but instead had just thrown the pint into a random direction, and it happened to hit Woman B in the head. In this version of events, the injuries were an accident and not battery.

The prosecution used CCTV tape from the bar to show at the trial. The high definition tape clearly showed as Woman A walked behind Woman B and smashed the pint on her head so hard that the glass shattered on impact. I looked at the defense lawyer, and his jaw literally hit the table. The prosecutor noticed this too and went, "thrown, eh?"

The defense lawyer told the judge that due to technical difficulties; he couldn't get the CCTV tape open on his computer when he was reviewing the evidence. Woman A was found guilty. So yeah, I was completely dumbfounded.

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13. Impossible To Prove

I was an intern at court and was watching a battery trial with another intern. The defendant was asked if he could remember how many people were present when he beat up the other guy. He then pointed at my fellow intern and said rather loudly, "she was there, but she didn't see anything! Don't trust her!" Found guilty.

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14. Burden Of Past Mistakes

I was present for a civil trial before a jury for injuries, property damage, and punitive damages because the defendant was intoxicated at the time of the accident. Before any defendant ever steps foot in the court, they should’ve been prepped repeatedly with the “standard” questions that could be used for impeachment.

He denied everything and was as clean as a whistle. And at trial, the defense counsel put him on the stand to give him an opportunity to tell the jury of his contrition for his one-time error in judgment, describe the difficult time he was going through, and otherwise show the jury he’s an upstanding member of society.

This was to reduce punitive damages, which went well. The plaintiff cross-examined him, “Earlier, you testified that this was a one-time mistake and you’ve learned your that correct?” The defendant confirmed. The plaintiff asked, “And yet, isn’t it true that you have already been convicted of this in another state?”

The defendant sat silently as his attorney immediately objected, but it’s properly overruled, and he must answer. He said, “yes.” “Isn’t it true that, in your prior incident, a child was a fatal victim?” You’d thought it was over since it was as if he’d stuck a fork in him and he was well done...But no, he wasn’t done.

He went for the jugular, “Do you remember the name of that little child that you hurt while you were driving while intoxicated?” ...And that is why you never, ever lie to your attorney.

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15. In Confidence

Over my summer internship, I helped with trying to get some evidence admitted. The evidence was recorded audio of mental manipulation on a call between a daughter and her father. The lawyer spent a long while trying to show there was no expectation of privacy for the conversation. The mother then went on stand and immediately said the stupidest thing possible. 

The first thing she said regarding the audio tape was that she always stayed as far away from her daughter and let her daughter lock her bedroom door so that their conversation has the utmost privacy. It wasn't admitted.

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16. Type O

My parents spent most of my childhood embroiled in a messy divorce. One of their biggest arguments was about my parentage. My mom claimed that my dad said that I wasn’t his child and refused to engage with him until he admitted he was wrong. My dad refused to admit he was wrong and refused to engage without an apology.

Much later, I learned that those years spent arguing were all down to a typo on a court document which had my birthdate off by 10 years meaning after my dad had a vasectomy. Neither had mentioned it to their attorneys as they thought pointless fighting in court for 5+ years was preferable to simply changing one number.

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17. A Little Dusty

I had a woman with an expensive fur coat who claimed that the laundromat ruined it. It was a bit ruined, but the laundromat said that the stains were already there. The judge ordered an expert opinion, and it revealed that the coat had traces of drugs all over it. They raided her place where they found her husband’s big stash of drugs. She should have just taken the stains.

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18. Back Of My Mind

The defendant was taken into custody on a warrant and transported to prison. After booking him, the officer returned to his vehicle and found a baggie of drugs sitting right in the middle of the backseat. The defendant was charged with possession. At trial, the officer explained that he routinely searched his vehicle.

He would do this before his shift started and after transporting somebody in the back. The defense attorney tried to poke holes in the story, but his testimony was remarkably consistent. The officer was fastidious about checking his vehicle. The appearance of the drugs coincided with the defendant being in the vehicle.

Then, as the defense attorney was running out of questions, he threw out the question, “Was there anyone else in the backseat of the vehicle?” It was a Hail Mary. Even when there are multiple arrests, officers tend not to transport more than one person at a time if they can help it. There was no reason to believe this.

The defense attorney and prosecutor were stunned when the answer was, "yes." The defendant was with his girlfriend when he was taken in, and the officer graciously agreed to drive her to her apartment before taking her boyfriend to prison. This wasn’t included in the report. The officer hadn’t even told the prosecutor.

We felt a pause as this fact sunk in. Since someone was also in the back, there was more than enough reasonable doubt. Proofs were concluded, and the prosecutor threw out a half-hearted closing. The not-guilty verdict was a given. Because of this case, I learned to never assume a fact no matter how obvious it may seem.

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19. Poorly Translated

During the hearing in this road traffic accident case, it seemed like your average, clear-cut case. The defendant cut off my client when he decided to exit the motorway at the last minute, or at least that's what all the evidence we'd heard was strongly suggesting. But then, the defendant got on the stand and said that after the accident, when my client and the defendant were on the side of the road exchanging phone numbers, my client's passenger had gone up to the defendant and told him that my client was the one at fault because she "wasn't looking."

Oh but it got worse. When opposing counsel asked the passenger about what they'd said, they claimed that because they were Polish, they couldn't have said such a thing because they couldn't speak English. The idiot said all perfect English. Our barrister just looked at me horrified.

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20. Important Paperwork

While I was in law school, one dude was appealing a huge tax bill for unpaid tax on his dairy farm’s milk production. His whole defense and claim basis for appeal was that he had zero notice of the requirements to report production, sale, and proceeds. In initial disclosures was this postcard from the state tax office.

He got it when he had first registered to obtain his state tax number. The very smart Assistant Attorney General waited and sprung it on the guy after he cemented his position fifty ways to Sunday. It ruined his entire theory, which resulted in a big judgment for him. One piece of paper can hurt your client’s position.

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21. Ridiculous Split

My parents had a long and messy divorce. My dad claimed that my mother was trying to take 100% of everything based on a settlement offer she’d sent. He failed to mention that her initial offer, also sent to his previous lawyers, was a 60/40 split, and she only sent the 100% offer in response to an equally unreasonable offer.

As soon as she could prove the initial offer was reasonable, the judge basically ruled on everything according to that first offer. His lawyers were so angry because they built their entire case around the idea that she was the unreasonable one when actually, my dad acted like an idiot and lied to everyone just to stick it to my mom.

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22. Land, No!

A client signed a sworn affidavit stating he’d been running a truck park business for over 10 years on a piece of land. After 10 years, the use was immune from law intervention. The Council checked Google maps and saw immediately that he lied. He’d only run the business for seven years. He had submitted a false sworn affidavit.

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23. Do No Touch

During trial with the judge on a divorce matter, the wife brought up that her husband had hurt her during their marriage. The client (the husband) whispered to my mentor that this was absolutely false. And, on the stand, during his portion of testimony, my mentor asked him, "At any point in the marriage, did you lay your hands on your wife?"

"One time we were having an argument, and I held her down on the couch until she stopped arguing with me." What. My mentor said it was like she could see it happening in slow motion and all the alarm bells were going off in her head because he had never mentioned that and, apparently, to him, that action didn't count as abuse??

The judge gave the wife a lot more money as a result, and the husband was baffled. My mentor was fuming.

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24. The Dotted Line

My dad represented a guy in a civil case. There was a forged signature in question, and his client said he had not forged it. My dad was very clear in explaining that admitting he'd actually forged it to him would not land him behind bars because of lawyer-client privilege. It would just allow my dad to give him a better defense. But the guy insisted that he was innocent so my dad built the case on that foundation.

Of course, it later came out that, yes, in fact, his client did forge the signature.

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25. Twiddle Dumb

My dad was working as an investigator for an insurance company. There was a guy who claimed the theft of a few items but mainly a ring. Things weren't adding up, and my dad and the insurance company’s lawyer decided to do a deposition. He showed up, and my dad noticed he’s wearing the exact ring he'd claimed was taken.

My dad slid a note to the lawyer telling him that the guy was wearing the ring. Once he passed the note, the guy realized what was happening and put his hands under the table to take off the ring. They asked him to stand up and, lo and behold. the ring fell to the ground.

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26. Little To No Headway

I was about to complete a land transaction that required my client to have built a road. The entire point of the transfer was the road. My client, as I called him prior to completion, told me, "turns out we, uh, didn't build the road..."

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27. Quick Chatter

I'm a public defender in an area where there’s a lot of drug use. This means that I have many clients who forget to mention that they got to the prison still high and used their phone call to chat with their accomplice/friend/mom/whatever and not only confess to what happened, but also brainstorm whatever version of events I need to defend them.

There's just one problem with this: Those calls are recorded.

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28. Leaving In A Slurry

A client was caught driving intoxicated and wanted to challenge the charges on the grounds that he didn't believe he was that inebriated and the tests were done improperly. He appeared at his court hearings rip-roarin' wasted not once but twice! And then, both times, he got into his car and tried to drive away and stopped promptly.

They administered a breathalyzer and charged him. We didn't win that case.

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29. Sudden Change In Plans

The defendant failed to appear. His attorney couldn't reach him. Nobody knew where he was. We waited there for about half an hour until the judge got tired of it and moved ahead with the docket. We found out later that the defendant had decided to rob a 7/11 the night before and was sitting in a cell two counties over.

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30. Sticking It Out

I met a client in prison for a line-up that he’d adamantly demanded regarding an incident with multiple witnesses. I met the client the first time in a separate room to let him know how it would go down and what to expect. They pulled people from the population, but despite their best efforts, the population was small.

I went to meet the client who 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’ve seen. He still wanted the line-up and every single witness identified him instantly without a shred of doubt. He still demanded a trial. Unsurprisingly, we did not win the case.

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31. Seeking The Truth

We were seeking, among other things, a freezing order for over $30 million assets that were at risk of being dissipated. We needed to get a foreign judgment for the debt to be recognized and enforced. Our client was a well-reputed foreign lawyer who insisted that the appeal period for that foreign judgment had long passed.

It was therefore imperative that we made all these applications as soon as possible. But instead of properly doing our own independent research, we relied on our client's word regarding the appeal period. Looking back, this was a huge mistake. In reality, there were two appeal periods, and while the first had indeed passed, the second was still outstanding.

That meant we could not seek to have the foreign judgment recognized and enforced yet per our own court rules. We did actually realize the error before we went to a hearing due to an associate on our team having a hunch and another associate actually being able to read procedural rules in the relevant foreign language.

But we did have to adjourn the hearing and entirely redo many of our pleadings and affidavits during which time the defendant did indeed dump a bunch of his assets leaving us with a mostly dry judgment.

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32. Proof In The Productivity

My client claimed to have been unfairly dismissed from her accounting job due to poor performance. It turned out that she’d been running her own private accounting business, with her own clients, at her employer’s premises during working hours, using their facilities. She had an argument when confronted with this awkward fact.

It was that her clients would have never given her employer their business anyway. Unreal. I actually did get her a small settlement because they didn’t follow proper procedure when firing her, which was why I didn’t know about the real reason for firing her, but it was peanuts compared to what she’d get if her story was real.

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33. Obvious Observation

I heard of some dude who was trying to appeal his disability benefit being revoked. He claimed that he was a paraplegic, but the opposition showed over ten minutes of video footage of him walking, running, and even jumping over a fence. After the one minute mark, the judge said, "Okay, I have seen enough. Please leave."

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34. Looking Dapper

Somebody broke into my house and took some suits and all my neckties. I had a big collection of about a hundred. The thief left fingerprints on a plastic box where I kept spare change. Three months later, the thief was caught in the act while at another house in the same neighborhood by the same detectives on my case.

They took the guy’s fingerprints, which matched the ones from my house. At the thief’s arraignment, I saw him stroll in wearing my suit and my tie. I told the district attorney who said there was really no way to prove it. Except the tie was a one of kind street map of San Francisco, and I had documentation to show it.

The district attorney’s eyes widened, and he informed the judge. The judge has the thief placed under arrest again for possession of stolen property. The thief’s lawyer was dumbfounded. It was a nice end to a rough situation!

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35. By The Sweat Of My Brow

He claimed he had been unfairly dismissed due to poor performance. The real reason was because he used Craigslist on his work computer and specifically, he used it to do some gross, highly NSFW stuff. This guy had someone collect a box of his, let's say, private bodily fluids from a playground. There were explicit messages from him asking what they did with it. The employer provided records of this activity, showing it was on company time.

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36. Im-Proprietor Action

There was a quiet title case where the purchaser of a piece of real property was seeking an implied easement by necessity. But the client failed to mention that, when he purchased the real property in the late 1950s, a defunct corporation did the conveyance, which did not have any capacity to do so deeming it all void.

I checked the Secretary of State website, but the records did not go back that far. I took him at his word that the corporation was active at the time of the conveyance. It was unclear to me why he chose to have the property conveyed to his defunct corporation rather than as an individual, but it was a crucial mistake.

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37. Under Pressure

I represent clients before the IRS. A couple owed around $250,000 in back taxes. We had no defense, so the only thing to do was 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 shouted at the very decent IRS agent doing their job.

She yelled, "You'll never take away my Mercedes!" Then she stormed out of the conference room. And yes, the IRS got her Mercedes.

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38. Blind Spot

My client accidentally drove into a pole and decided to try to make the city pay for the car repairs. He said that the street had terrible lights at night and argued that a lack of street lights caused him to hit the wire pole. But the first respondent's report revealed the real story. It turns out that the authorities found this driver in the driver's seat, pants down, with explicit content playing on the phone. It wasn't difficult to figure out who was negligent at that point.

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39. Indebted To Your Actions

My dad was suing a customer for non-payment. The judge ruled in his favor for the whole $15 thousand. The guy he was suing went to leave but walked to my dad and said, "if you think you are going to see a dime of that money you really are a moron. I will get you first.” He then walked away. My dad worried for a second.

He thought that the guy would get away with the threat. Not really, because the guy had said it loud enough for the bailiff and the judge to hear. He did not make it out of the courtroom.

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40. Look What I Can Do

The case had gone on for years. The client was badly injured in a car accident and was about to win millions. Then one day, she posted a Facebook status about her doing something very active and thus negated the entire case. We had to settle for only $100,000. Years of work down the drain with just one Facebook status.

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41. Got It

I had a brilliant gentleman on probation for narcotics trafficking and was not permitted to have a cellphone. He went in for a drug test with his probation officer, and his cell rang in his pocket. The probation man went to take the phone from his pocket and also pulled out a huge baggie of drugs, which he had brought. He lost his case in an instant.

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42. Location, Location, Location

Years ago, I had a client charged with public intoxication. It's a minor infraction, but he was on probation so he needed to fight it. He told me he was very intoxicated that night but had made it to the lobby of his brother's apartment and was waiting for him to come down to get him upstairs. I took the story and ran.

I brought photos of the apartment complex and the bylaws to court. My goal was to prove that the lobby was secured to guests and residents only, which would arguably take the intoxication out from being "in public." There’s no formal discovery for minor infractions in my state. There was no real option for a plea deal.

Wanting to ambush the officer with my argument, I did not discuss the case with him and went to trial. The wheels came off when the officer testified that he encountered my client at an apartment building on the other side of the city. He was not even in the lobby of this other building and outside in some phone booth.

I was whispering to my client about this, and he slumped over and said something to the effect of, "Sorry, I meant to go to my brother's apartment. Maybe that's why he couldn't find me? And he sounded angry on the phone?" Cross examination wasn’t fruitful. It was basically, "Officer, are you really sure that happened?”

“Did it happen where you think it did and not at another apartment lobby?" My closing argument was he wasn't very wasted, which also didn’t get us anywhere. In the end, there was a fast guilty finding, a minor fine, wasted ink and paper from making useless exhibits, and light sanctions later on the probation violation.

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43. Lost Work

I had an employment law gender discrimination case where the whole thing revolved around whether they had told her that her position was being terminated as a result of genuine redundancy or when she had gotten pregnant. This distinction was emphasized to the client many, many times. She strongly maintained her stance.

She said that they fired her right after she applied for maternity leave without giving a reason. We’re having a meeting with the client the evening before the hearing and going through what the defendant would say. We told her they would be claiming they told her it was redundancy and asked how she’s going to respond.

She replied with absolutely no hesitation, “Oh yeah, of course, that’s exactly what they said.”

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44. Get It Together

My law teacher told us about a juvenile court where he used to work. They had a big problem with defendants coming in with sagging pants and court officials showing up in beach clothes. The judge had finally gotten so fed up with it that he kept a box of rope for an impromptu belt and a box of neckties behind his desk.

He would begin court proceedings by lobbing ample amounts of both over his stand at anyone he felt was in need of them.

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45. Drive Me Crazy

I worked on a simple speeding case: 70 MPH in a 55. No big deal – if she did a driving improvement course, the court would usually dismiss or reduce punishment since her driving record was okay. When I showed up for her, I found out the truth. My idiot client had actually been driving 70 up an unplowed snow lane to get around all of the other cars.

The other cars were traveling in the lane that’d been plowed and driving too slowly. The officer said he'd already cut her a break by not writing the ticket for reckless driving, and the judge politely agreed he didn't feel comfortable reducing it under those circumstances. When I called her after to confirm, she did.

She claimed she'd forgotten to mention it. I would have told her in advance that hiring us was a waste of money, not to mention the hassle of taking an 8-hour class, and she should’ve probably gone ahead and pay this one. I do that all the time during consults; give my honest assessment if the case is even worth doing.

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46. To Do List

My sister, a public defender, had a shoplifting case where the defendant was caught in possession of stolen goods which happened to match a list that was also in his possession entitled, "Stuff to take from Walmart.”

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47. Right At The Finish Line

The judge asked to interview the minor child in a closed courtroom with no parents. When done, my client walked in the courtroom to see the child crying and promptly insulted the judge. My client was winning and was about to have the other party's parenting time suspended right up to that point. The kid had already chosen him.

The kid said that the other party mistreated him and that he did not want to see that parent anymore. But because the good parent opened his mouth, the judge was not pleased. Other party's parenting time was suspended. My client had anger management classes ordered, fines, psych testing, and substance testing.

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48. Some Old Story

A 65-year-old intoxicated lady was on Methadone when she drove into me. The officers knew her husband who was a firefighter, and so they didn’t breathalyze, or do tests, or charge her for not being sober. My EMTs said, "that lady is so wasted, she’s going to buy you a ticket to Disney World," which was how I found out.

I had no proof to bring to the table in the lawsuit because the officers didn’t make any charges or make notes and couldn’t be changed after the incident. We were at my deposition, and she came. She argued over my points making her lawyer have to tell her to be quiet. I was getting impatient with her calling me a liar, but soon enough, my lawyer got her where it hurt.

She exclaimed to my lawyer, "the report was wrong!" When my lawyer asked her how, she said, "it had me coming from the wrong place! I was at my friend’s bar!" My lawyer responded, "...Really...Did you have any drinks at this bar?” She nodded, and he asked her how many she had. “I don’t know. They just kept refilling my glass!”

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49. Quite The Overstatement

The client was an accountant for a good size company. During the recession, she was laid off and filed for unemployment where claimed she made $200k+ salary. Her real salary was $60k. The company received the unemployment claim, investigated, and found out she had actually embezzled millions.

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50. Say Something

The officer lost the ticket book, so there was no "official" evidence when I was in court for mine. The judge told us that the next fifteen on the docket just needed to plead not guilty since there was no evidence. One moron got up there and was arguing that he was only going 5 MPH over not 10. The judge looked at him.

He said, "son, just say not guilty." The guy again said, “but I wasn't going that fast.” The judge laughed and repeated, “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.

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51. Made It Myself

We had clients who said the bank wrongly foreclosed on their house. The wife provided bank statements showing their payments every single month for the past several years. I checked through every one to make sure they all looked good. There was also proof that they had actually never received the notice of foreclosure.

The bank was baffled. We talked with expert witnesses who confirmed that the recession had affected a lot of banks' record-keeping and a wrongful foreclosure could result from that. We got to mediation, and the first thing the bank said was that upon close examination, they’d noticed one tiny error on their statements.

So, they were calling off mediation and subpoenaing statements from the bank itself to check against the client’s statements. Our clients were mad, and we were too. The opposing side got the subpoenaed statements a couple weeks later and sent them to us, and I had the joy of comparing them. I quickly noticed something was wrong.

There was a difference between the ones from our client and the subpoenaed ones in the "electronic withdrawals" section. Our client had used a PDF editor to delete the entry in that section for every statement, add the mortgage payment, and then adjust the totals carrying them over each month. We approached our client.

We said, "these look forged. We can drop the case or you can explain what the issue is." The wife said, "We should probably drop the case." She never confessed to us about forging them, but without a doubt, she had forged them. Her husband had no idea. He actually wasn't on the call where we accused her of the forgery.

He called a couple of weeks later asking for a case update. It wasn’t fun telling him his wife had lied to him for the last year and a half. The opposing side said that they'd be ok with us dropping the case as long as our clients paid their attorney fees. Our clients were happy to do that, which was quite lucky for them.

Lawyers Face-Palm factsShutterstock

52. Freedom Of Speech

I was representing this kid accused of conspiracy to supply illicit substances. He was accused of being a lookout and warning the others whenever officers were approaching. He had a fantastic case, and it looked like he was going to win. On the day of his trial, he came to court wearing a huge t-shirt with the Warner Brothers Logo.

Above and below the logo was printed, “If you see da pigs...Warn A Brother.” He refused to change. And said, “Nah, no white boy tells me how to dress.” He was convicted.

Lawyers Face-Palm factsShutterstock

53. Knocked It Outta There

My lawyer brother once got a "contempt of court" charge dismissed by begging for mercy using a Forrest Gump-ish defense, "Mah client is not a smart man..." Right after, the client turned and, in front of the court, punched my brother in the mouth yelling, "Who are you callin' dumb?!" The client was quickly re-apprehended.

Lawyers Face-Palm factsShutterstock

54. Two Too Many

I was arguing for my client to be released. The judge asked him where he was going to live. “With my fiancé," he said. He spun a lovely story about how wonderful and supportive his fiancé was and they were having a baby and wanted to get out so he could take care of his soon-to-be wife and kid to support them properly.

The judge asked the courtroom, "Could the defendant's fiancé please approach the bench?" From opposite sides of the room, two women got 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 that read, "who are you?"

You could tell the exact moment when they realized the truth. The look on their faces just screamed, "that girl is screwing my man." The fight started before they even got to the counsel's table. Pregnant or not, these chicks were seriously trying to hurt one another. The bailiffs had to stop laughing long enough to break up the fight. My client was just as shocked.

He said, "Shoot, your Honor, I didn't think they'd both come." The judge said he was denying bail for my client's own protection.

Legal Disasters FactsShutterstock

55. Finding Myself

We arrived at my client’s deposition and were ready to discuss her employment issue. The first question was, "Please state your name." The client looked at me and said, "Can we take a break?" We did, and she pulled me out in the hall to tell me she's lied to me about her identity. She was apparently a serial fraudster.

She had changed identities seven times since the 90s. She apparently thought the other attorneys had somehow figured it out which was why they asked the question.

Lawyers Face-Palm factsShutterstock

56. My Hands Are Clean

The company where I worked was doing due diligence before acquiring a small tech start-up. The COO of the start-up was a well-liked guy in the company, friendly, and outgoing. Except that we had heard rumblings that the COO was rather hands-on with the work and with female employees. There was even a walk-away package.

It would let him keep a sizable portion of his post-acquisition bonus because there was a young woman who worked in their sales department who had filed HR complaints against him and obtained counsel. I was at the meeting with the COO and the company's retained lawyers when they grilled him about his contacts with her.

The COO denied ever having any contact with her within the company without multiple other people present who’d said his behavior toward her in the meetings didn't raise any flags to them. The COO emphatically denied having any contact with her outside of work. The lawyers asked the question a half-dozen different ways.

Each time the COO denied out of work contact. Later, we met with the woman and her lawyer without him. Her lawyer gave us a rather graphic card that came with a bouquet of flowers addressed to her from the COO. The guy had an account with a florist linked to his credit card. The company-retained lawyers confronted him.

He explained with, "But I never had contact with her. It's not like I delivered the flowers myself." COO was terminated with cause, so he didn’t receive his walk-away package. At her request, the woman was given paid time off until after the acquisition and then moved to another one of the companies under our umbrella.

Lawyers Face-Palm factsShutterstock

57. Give And Take

I had a client say his ex owed him a lot of money and that she was trying to get out of paying him back by getting a protective order against him. It seemed reasonable, so I took his case. At the hearing, it came out that they were never a couple and he was sending inappropriate toys to her residence on a weekly basis.

I also learned that she never asked for the thousands of dollars he gave her over the years because he was paying for her services. We lost. He got laughed out of court and learned a valuable lesson: tell your lawyer the good AND the bad stuff before trial!

Lawyers Face-Palm factsShutterstock

58. Thanks For Joining!

A defendant stood there calmly and quietly while the judge was reading his charges and bond information. When the judge asked if the defendant had any questions, the defendant gave the judge the finger, swore, threw down the microphone, and walked away. The old judge had an amazing reply up his sleeve. He said, “I'll let you know when my fan club meets.”

Criminals Screwed factsShutterstock

59. Watch Your Dial Tone

I was a manager in an unfair dismissal case with one shift supervisor who was caught at a call center worker making private phone calls on his shifts. All employees signed an agreement not to use office phones for personal calls. She told me what she had heard. We checked the phone records and found over a dozen calls.

All the calls were to the same number the previous week. It was very clear that they were private calls because they were calls to a gay “love” line. The number he was calling was totally irrelevant, but given the sensitive nature of the calls, I decided that it would be best to call him into the office with witnesses.

Then we could discuss what we had found and issue him an official warning. I typed up the warning, printed it out, and was good to go. When he came into the office with his chosen witness, I asked if he was aware of the company's policy on private calls, and he said yes. I showed him the phone number he'd been dialing.

I asked if he recognized it and if he had called it using the office phones. He immediately lost it, started yelling and kicked his chair against the wall shouting that he quit, and stormed out through the call center hurling insults left and right at the top of his lungs. I made my manager and the HR department aware.

I also collected statements from everyone involved including his witness. He came days later with his solicitor demanding an immediate meeting with the General Manager. His solicitor wanted a huge compensation payout, demanded that I be fired right away, and suggested that he was going to pursue discrimination charges.

His client had said that, "I had fired him for being gay." The General Manager called me in to give my side of the story. I showed the solicitor the signed agreement regarding the private calls policy, the call records which showed all of the calls he had made during his shifts, and the warning I had typed and printed.

I explained that at no point had the fact that the calls were to a gay line been the issue and that his sexuality had nothing at all to do with what had happened. I also said that I had signed statements from three witnesses which said his client had quit and wasn’t actually fired. I reminded him it was just a warning.

The company hadn’t had the intention of firing him at all. The solicitor took two or three deep breaths, apologized to the General Manager and me for wasting our time and specifically for the threats us to court that, "weren’t justified in light of the actual evidence," and walked out literally pulling the client with him.

The cherry on top? Two weeks later, I got a call from another call center where I had worked previously looking for a reference for him.

Lawyers Face-Palm factsShutterstock

60. It’s All Financing

Our client was involved in a lawsuit, and we managed to get the opposing party to come to the negotiating table to work out a $20 million settlement. This was great news because they were suing for $50 million. We spent months negotiating the details and drafting the settlement agreement. Finally, everything was ready.

The parties were set to fly to our offices on Wednesday to sign the documents because they had to be signed in person and during a particular part of the day so that funds could be wired while the banks in two widely separated time zones were both open. Our client called us on Tuesday and told us that the deal was off.

Why? Because the loan they were using to pay the settlement hadn’t come through. Loan? That would’ve been nice to know. They had deliberately hidden the existence of the loan even from their own lawyers.

Lawyers Face-Palm factsShutterstock

61. Process And Procedure

A guy behind bars hired me to request a modification of his sentence because he was doing very well and completing a lot of optional programs, plus he had no rule violations, etc. He had his family come in to pay and everything to get started. I asked the family and the client if he had done this before. He could only make two requests.

This was for any one sentence. He swore up and down he'd never filed before. After spending a few hours going over records and preparing documents, I finally had a copy of the case record. He'd personally filed for modification six times since he was sentenced with handwritten pleadings that were all ultimately denied.

So, the one he hired me for was a waste of time and would never be considered at all.

Lawyers Screwed factsShutterstock

62. Pixel Proof

I worked for a defense attorney who did a lot of federal work. One case was with this guy charged with trafficking minors. We interviewed him when he was behind bars, and he swore up and down he had nothing to do with this and that he didn’t even know the girls. A month later, heaps of evidence from the US attorney’s office came in.

It’s pages of Snapchat messages and texts between him and these girls, video confessions of every co-defendant and victim saying our guy was the ring-leader, proof of him checking in/out of different motel rooms, etc. We showed him the evidence. He claimed that his co-defendants were conspiring against him and kept denying, denying, denying.

He wanted to go to trial, but we repeatedly told him that would not be wise due to the amount of evidence against him. He ended up requesting to appoint a new attorney claiming that we were “ineffective.” To this day, my old boss and I enjoy reminiscing about how difficult this client was when we catch up on the phone.

Lawyers Face-Palm factsShutterstock

63. Who’ll Let The Cups Out?

While I was a law student, I interned for a judge. One case we were observing was a lockout case where this owner of a franchise location for an international cafe company claimed that the landlord of all the franchises in the US locked him out of the store. He claimed that the franchise owner had done this because of what he’d been selling.

The landlord was claiming that the franchise owner was selling unapproved merchandise with the company’s logo on it. For two days, all that we’re hearing was about these cups the plaintiff allegedly made making the argument that unapproved merchandise violated terms of franchise and lease, which meant terminating both.

Finally, the landlord was on the stand. The defense attorney pulled out a shopping bag as he’s about to introduce evidence. The other interns and I were so excited. For two days, we’d been hearing about these cups, and the landlord suddenly couldn’t remember where he got them from. He said that he got them at the café.

In another response, he said the corporate office gave it to him. Since he’d raised doubt about the source of the cups, the judge wouldn’t let them in, and we never got to see them. The defense attorney had to sadly put the bag away back into his briefcase.

Lawyers Face-Palm factsShutterstock

64. Need To Know Basis

This was a typical divorce case. This jury trial was about splitting assets and who would get what. It was a long drawn out case that took around five excruciating days. Right before the closing arguments, the attorneys wanted to talk to the judge. It seemed as though a couple of days prior, the couple decided to get back together.

Instead of telling the judge and their lawyers, they just kept it a secret. We heard four days of evidence, arguments and brought in experts such as land assessors, financial planning people, and the like, and they were back together! One of the attorneys asked to be dismissed from the case immediately and walked away.

The judge had to dismiss the jury, and the couple was adamant that they didn't think that them getting back together was a detail any of their attorneys needed to know.

Lawyers Face-Palm factsShutterstock

65. Is This Yours?

One girl within a much larger group of people was charged with possession, but because she had thrown away the drugs, they couldn’t prove that she, in specific, bought or owned them. Their whole argument was based on the idea that it could have been one of the other people. It was an airtight case until the judge made his ruling and he asked if the girl wanted to say anything. Her statement was the dumbest thing I will ever hear. 

This girl asked if she could get her drugs back.

 Lawyers Face-Palm facts Shutterstock

66. Balancing Work And Home Life

My husband lost his job in the title/mortgage business. He applied for unemployment and got denied. I decided to help him with his appeal hearing. I asked him repeatedly before the hearing, “Is there anything you did that made them fire you?” He reassured me that no absolutely not. They really fired him out of nowhere.

Hearing day came. He testified under oath that he had done nothing wrong and was a good employee. Upon cross-examination, the other attorney pulled out his real estate closings document, which he had forged and backdated. He had to admit to perjury. He also did not get unemployment benefits or sleep at home that night.

Lawyers Accidentally Proved factsShutterstock

67. Facts Of The Case

I worked on a termination of parental rights case. The main arguments were that the parent was stable, working lawfully, had a proper apartment, didn't need psychotropic medication anymore, and was basically ready to be a parent again. After a couple of months of negotiating with all parties, we had a pre-trial to convince the guardians.

I met with my client before the hearing to see if anything changed. "Nope, all good, let's get my kids." Great, that's not happening today, but let's try. We got to court. My client, who’s super-hot headed and quick to anger, got riled up and went off on the guardians by screaming in open court. And unfortunately, it didn’t end there.

My client then decided to reveal that she’s no longer working, no longer in an apartment, didn't want to have a relationship with the guardians (even though her kids loved them), planned on moving out of state, and thought the family could live off state aide when she got them back. The last and most shocking part? She was four months pregnant!

The court learned all of this in the matter of 15 seconds. I was too shocked to even react. Speechless. She was not the image of stability and parental fitness that I had been trying to paint for months.

Instantly Ended a Case factsShutterstock

68. Be More Specific

I was involved in a hit and run car accident. My leg was pretty mangled. However, the driver of the car was caught. He was some rich kid who was driving his mom’s convertible Porsche. He denied all knowledge of hitting me. At the trial, the prosecutor asked him how long he had been driving, and he thought for a minute.

Then he asked the absolute stupidest question: “Do you mean how long have I been driving with or without my license?” The judge then went off asking why and when he had been driving without a license. His defense team sat down and shook their heads. He lost the case. Interestingly, he passed on a year later by drowning on a speed boat while intoxicated.

Rest My Case factsShutterstock

Sources: Reddit,

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