In U.S. criminal cases, more than 90% of defendants plead guilty rather than go to trial uscourts.gov/about-federa…
The Bedouin tribes have a ritual for resolving grave civil or criminal disputes, in cases where there are no witnesses. A metal ladle is stuck down into flames while both parties recount their sides. The defendant then licks the ladle 3 times, and if his tongue is scarred, he is judged guilty en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bis…
Today I learned of the Chicago Seven, and Judge Julius Hoffman, who had a man bound and gagged in court for a week he also ordered County Jail officials to cut one the defendants lawyers and one defendants hair as he did not like its length. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chi…
There's a legal strategy called the "Shaggy Defence", where in the face of direct evidence of guilt, the defendant simply claims that it wasn't them. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sha…
The earliest known written use of the term β€œmotherfucker” was from a Texas court case in 1889. Witnesses described a defendant being called a β€œGod damned mother-fβ€”cking, bastardly son-of-a-bitch.” Mother-fucking was the only expletive to get censored in the court transcript. slate.com/culture/2013/02…
The Scopes "Monkey" Trial was staged to raise publicity for the town of Dayton, Tennessee. Scopes himself wasn't even sure if he had ever taught evolution before, but agreed to be a defendant and asked his students to testify against him. wikipedia.org/wiki/Scopes…
A case decided in California in 1974 cited the Magna Carta (1215) in it's opinion. The Supreme Court of California used the document to interpreted a requirement in common law that a defendant faced with incarceration be entitled to a trial overseen by a legally trained judge. online.ceb.com/calcases/C…
The Talmud rules that an unanimous verdict by the Sanhedrin (Jewish court) must be thrown out and the defendant must be exonerated! The alleged guilt of the defendant is immaterial and the defendant walks away a free man. digitalcommons.pace.edu/c…
In most states, even defendants who are found not guilty are billed for the time and services of their public defenders. It is illegal to send someone to prison on a felony charge so in many cases it’s not available to refuse council. theguardian.com/commentis…
A lawyer was hired for a traffic case. Instead of sitting his client at the witness table, he dressed another lawyer to look like the client. When the only witness (a policeman) was asked to point to the defendant in the room he pointed to the fake client. The real defendant was found not guilty nytimes.com/1994/07/29/us…
A jury was able to convict an accused bank robber after they discovered the impression of a holdup note in a notebook the defendant owned. The prosecution had missed it when presenting the notebook as evidence. savannahnow.com/article/2…
AN Illinois judge issues 6 months jail time for "loud and boisterous" yawn... To the defendants cousin. He also jailed people who swore or if their phones went off in court... nbcchicago.com/news/local…
A Shaggy Defense is the name given to a legal strategy in which the defendant flatly denies guilt in the face of overwhelming evidence against them. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sha…
Maimonides stated that "It is better and more satisfactory to acquit a thousand guilty persons than to put a single innocent one to death." Maimonides argued that executing a defendant on anything less than absolute certainty would lead to a slippery slope of decreasing burdens of proof. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cap…
Chinese courts convict more than 99.9% of defendants. telegraph.co.uk/news/worl…
A lawyer was hired for a traffic case. Instead of sitting his client at the witness table, he dressed another lawyer to look like the client. When the only witness (a policeman) was asked to point to the defendant in the room, he pointed to the fake client. The real client was found not guilty nytimes.com/1994/07/29/us…
There is a version of the insanity defense known as the Matrix defense. The defendant claims that they committed the crime because they believed they were in the Matrix and not in the real world. The defense has successfully been used to put people in mental care facilities instead of prisons. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The…
The Matrix can be used as a court case defense. The defendant claims that they committed a crime because they believed they were in the Matrix. Using this defense, a defendant can allege they never intended death for their victim because they believed the victim to be alive in the other reality. wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ma…
The FBI seized a server that was being used to host child pornography and ran it for two more weeks. Defendants caught in the sting argued the FBI did a better job hosting a child porn site than whoever originally ran it: The site’s average weekly visitors jumped from 11,000 to 50,000 startribune.com/minnesota…
In 1977 Tony Kiritsis held Richard Hall hostage for 63 hours before surrendering, Kiritsis was found not guilty by reason of insanity. At the time of the trial, Indiana law required the prosecution to prove the defendant sane, the law has subsequently changed so defense has to prove insanity. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ton…
A lawyer had his client sit in the stands and had a similar looking friend to sit where the defendant usually sits, so that when pointed out the witness would pick the wrong person getting his client off free nytimes.com/1994/07/29/us…
After WWII members of the international prosecution team and Japanese officials worked together to prevent the Imperial family from being indicted for war crimes and to ensure none of the defendants implicated Emperor Hirohito. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hir…
Clement Vallandigham, a defense lawyer in a murder trial accidentally shot himself and died while reenacting the possibility of a victim accidentally shooting and killing themselves instead of his client. The defendant was then set free. bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-maga…
"John Doe" comes from old English law that protected the plaintiff's name in sensitive legal matters. The defendant was referred to as Richard Roe. almanac.com/fact/why-do-w…
Today I learned about the CSI effect: a belief held primarily among law enforcement personnel and prosecutors that forensic science television dramas, such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, influence American jurors to expect more forensic evidence to convict defendants of crimes. thebalancecareers.com/csi…
If a defendant in a court of law is granted bail, the money/property taken is only used as collateral and will be returned if the defendant shows up for all required subsequent court dates, rather than being permanently forfeited to the court. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bai…
Jurors can legally return a 'not guilty' verdict if they believe the law is unjust regardless of whether or not the defendant actually committed the crime through a process called 'jury nullification' but judges rarely inform juries of this power. nytimes.com/2011/12/21/op…
In 2016 a gang of five men were jailed for stealing Β£25,000 worth of Jammie Dodgers from a factory in Torfaen, Wales. As they were being led away from the docks, one of the defendants called out "Does anyone want a biscuit?". telegraph.co.uk/news/2016…
In United States v. Watts, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that a jury’s verdict of acquittal does not preclude a sentencing court from considering the acquitted conduct in sentencing the defendant oyez.org/cases/1996/95-19…
A Seattle man won a $500K lawsuit against his neighbor, whose dog he accused of "raucously, wildly bellowing, howling and explosively barking." The defendant thought it was a joke and didn't show up. abc13.com/pets/family-los…
When on trial for their roles in anti-Vietnam War protests, two defendants showed up for court dressed in judicial robes. When instructed to remove them by the presiding judge, the pair complied to reveal police uniforms they were wearing underneath. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chi…
Pope Stephen VI once dug up the body of a previous pope, put it on trial for bribery and rule-breaking and mocked him for being silent in front of the entire vatican. The defendant lost the case. britannica.com/topic/Cada…
Today I learned about James Grigson, nicknamed Dr. Death, a forensic psychiatrist who testified in 167 trials, most of which resulted in death sentences. He diagnosed some patients without ever having met them, and would testify that the defendants were incurable sociopaths who were 100% certain to kill again. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jam…
An Alford plea,in United States law, is a guilty plea in criminal court, whereby a defendant does not admit to the act and asserts innocence. In entering the plea, the defendant admits that the evidence would be likely to persuade a judge or jury to find them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alf…
Today I learned of the "nerd defense"β€”the idea that a defendant wearing glasses during a trial will improve the chances of being found not guilty. nydailynews.com/news/crim…
There is a public defender who tattoos the names of the defendants he let down on his back. npr.org/sections/codeswit…
Today I learned about 62 Cases of Jam v. United States, a US Supreme Court case about potentially misbranded products. Because the jurisdiction was over the product, rather than the manufacturer, the 62 cases of jam are listed as the defendant. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/62_…
In the state of New Hampshire, defense attorneys are legally entitled to inform juries of their right to return a not guilty verdict even when they believe a defendant is guilty, otherwise known as Jury Nullification artvoice.com/2016/06/09/d…
In 2016 a defendant sings Adele inspired song, "sorry" in court to the victims. He was sentenced to 17 years. cnn.com/2016/03/18/us/fel…
A defense lawyer (who was also a congressman) in a murder trial accidentally shot himself and died while reenacting the possibility of a victim accidentally shooting and killing themselves instead of his client; the defendant was then set free. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cle…
A 'Shaggy Defense' is a legal strategy in which a defendant flatly denies guilt despite overwhelming evidence against them. The term is from the Shaggy song "It Wasn't Me" and was first used in 2008 by writer Josh Levin to describe R. Kelly's defense strategy against child pornography charges. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sha…
An Alford Plea is a guilty plea from a defendant who claims innocence, but admits the evidence against them enough to prove guilt. lawyers.com/legal-info/cr…
The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before the year 2000. slate.com/articles/news_a…
Abraham Lincoln successfully defended a criminal defendant by using an almanac to challenge a man's assertion that he saw the murderer "By the light of the moon." almanac.com/lincoln-alman…
The 1981 trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, aka the "Devil Made Me Do It" case, is the first known court case in the US in which the defense sought to prove innocence based upon the defendant's claim of demonic possession and denial of personal responsibility for the crime. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tri…
Today I learned of Michael Cicconetti, a judge in Ohio who uses what he calls "creative justice". He sentences guilty defendants with unusual punishments, such as forcing a woman who abandoned her kittens to spent a winter night outdoors. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mic…
A lawyer was trying to prove, in a murder trial, that someone shot themselves, accidentally. While the lawyer was reenacting it he accidentally shot himself and died. He proved his point and the defendant was acquitted, only to be shot himself a few years later. bbc.com/news/blogs-magazi…
American juries can nullify a law by ignoring it, and letting the defendant go free. lawyers.com/~/link.aspx?_…
A lawyer was trying to prove, in a murder trial, that someone shot themselves, accidentally. While the lawyer was reenacting it he accidentally shot himself and died. He proved his point and the defendant was acquitted. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cle…
In 1985, John Fogerty of CCR was sued for sounding like himself in his solo music. The cost: $1.1 million in legal fees. He pushed it to the Supreme Court to fight the double standard of defendants not being awarded the fees & won, setting a precedent that defends artists from corporate sabotage ledgernote.com/blog/inter…

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