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1. I was with a fellow bro who robbed a bank when he was 15 years old. He stole a complete block of pure gold priced at around £7 million. He got caught after he tried sawing it in half in his garage at 3am after his neighbours called the police for a noise complaint. They burst right into him cutting the gold block and arrested him there and then because they recognised his face from the worlds top 5 most wanted list. He was in custody with me, his lawyer, and he said he just wanted to buy the sheriffs wife for half the gold. He then f**ked up completely by pulling out a knife he hid under the skin in his thigh and slit the throats of all three officers in the room. He’s been sentenced for 200 years.
2. Obligatory, not mine but my Moms story. She was fighting for custody on behalf of the father, trying to prove that the kids were living in subpar conditions with their drug addict mother in spite of the ample child support provided. It was a tough case because courts are so hesitant to pull kids away from their moms. Then the mom burst out that she had been feeding the kids cat food as proof that she wouldn’t let them starve. Needless to say, the judge didn’t take that as a good reason for the kids to stay with their Mom.
3. When they said, 'I know the doctors tampered with my drug test! It should have been positive for a lot more than just meth!' I wish this was made up.
4. I was an attorney for an insurance company defending a lawsuit where the plaintiffs were two girls who claimed they were irreparably harmed and their lives would never be the same because severe back injuries kept them from being active. They forgot to set their Instagram accounts to private and the accounts were full of pictures of them riding jet skis, dancing, and pictures of them at the gym. The underage drinking pictures were just icing on the cake.
5. A law professor once told me about a case from decades ago when he was defending a young woman on drugs charges.
In court, his line of defence was basically to tell the truth: this woman had turned to drugs due to trauma and instability in her life, but she was now in a steady loving relationship with another woman. For the first time, she had some peace and security in her life, was genuinely working on overcoming her demons, and was unlikely to re-offend again.
It was a 50-50 proposition on how this would land with the judge....until the prosecutor stood up and started lambasting the two women (the accused and her lover) for lying because "lesbian relationships aren't real" and similar stuff.
According to the prof, "everyone in the courtroom except the prosecutor could see that the judge was a flaming fruit", so this did NOT go down well. The judge tore strips off the prosecutor, gave a furious lecture on gay rights, and ended up giving the woman a slap on the wrist and wishing her well with her partner.
6. Some guy was accused of something — I cannot remember what — but the judge spoke him free because there wasn’t enough evidence he had done it. Guy said, 'Thank you, judge; I’ll never do it again.'
7. I was sitting in court waiting for my case and there is a basic traffic stop case going on. The prosecutor has the arresting officer walk through the incident. The Cop recalls all these details about how he pulled the driver over for running a red light, then noticed a busted tail light. How he stayed cool, calm, and collected, even as the driver became irate, cursing at the cop and telling the cop he can "shove the ticket where the sun don't shine." The cop then claimed that the driver ripped up the ticket, rolled up the bits, and threw it at the officer. The cop sells the story and you notice most of the court room has become invested.
The driver is not a lawyer, but chooses to represent himself and takes all of a minute to embarrass the officer and court with a simple. "Your honor, the officer testified, under oath, to the court that I acted illegally and belligerently, then aggressively tore up and threw away the ticket, which I find hard to believe seeing as this here is the ticket, in one piece, without even a crease on it." He pulls out the ticket from a folder he had in front of him. You could hear many in the court gasp, laugh, mumble.
The judge stops the driver, looks over to the prosecutor, addresses him "Mr. Smith, thoughts?" Without hesitation, the prosecutor replies "Yes your honor, in deference to the courts time, we would like to go ahead and drop the case." All the other defendants pending their case applaud. The judge bangs his gavel, calls order in the court room, admonishes the room, and then admonishes the officer and prosecutor before closing it out.
8. Custody case. Attorney stands up in this case and goes to the judge: 'My client has only been found guilty of child endangerment in (county next to us) and (county next to that). I see no reason that this court should hold that against him when it comes to custody of his children.'
9. Personal injury case — woman said she slipped and fell outside of a nail salon because they hadn't swept up the wet leaves outside the door. In the mail one day, we got a disc — we put it in the computer, and right there is security cam footage of our client picking up the wet leaves, putting them on the sidewalk, and sitting down on them before calling for help.
10. Client was charged with aggravated assault (five years possible) for kicking the s**t out of a guy while wearing cowboy boots with those fancy steel ornamental tips on the boots. He wore the boots to his jury trial.
11. When the defendant stuck to his 'two beers' story, and the expert blood alcohol witness said his BAC for his height/weight would’ve been 7.8 drinks.
12. Custody battle. Mother is questioned about the fact the kids told their own children’s lawyers that mom smoked marijuana with them at 12–13 years old. She argues that the children are lying.
Same cross-examination, mom admits to 'smoking medicinally' (prior to any legalization, medicinal legal). When probed, she did not have a card, and when asked where she got her medicinal pot, she said, 'The local drugstore down the street.' At the time, medicinal marijuana was only available via online/mail order via a small handful of government control companies. Liar, liar pants on fire.
13. I had parked my motorcycle in my driveway. The officer ordered me to remove it, and tried to levy fines for the violation. He went after my landlord and tried to get me evicted. Eventually, I got a lawyer and filed a complaint. When asked to point to the bylaw I was breaking, he did and even read it out, which basically read:
No parking or storing anything in a driveway other than an automobile.
He seriously thought a motorcycle wasn't an automobile because an automobile is a car.
14. Not a ‘case winning’ moment, but a ‘motion winning’ one for sure (think of cases like a big conflict, with motion hearings as little conflicts).
Opposing attorney was insisting that ‘Rule A’ meant they could do X. I tried, multiple times, to point out ‘Rule A’ literally did not say that.
During the hearing, the judge reached behind them, grabbed their ‘Rules of Civil Procedure’ (basically a dictionary of rules), placed it in front of the other attorney, and said “Show me where Rule A says X”.
Other attorney did not take the hint, read rules out loud for a brutal 5 minutes, and gave the book back. I said “Judge I have nothing to add.” It was pretty fun.
15. IANAL but I was in traffic court one time and saw a lawyer straight-up murder a cop with words. The cop had previously testified that the weather on the night of the traffic stop was heavy rain and winds so strong that the defendant could only open his window 3", and that the car had stopped on an area with very little shoulder, forcing the cop to approach from the passenger side not the driver side. The cop had then testified that he smelled a strong smell of alcohol on the defendant's breath.
When the defense lawyer got up, he repeated what the cop had said almost verbatim and asked how he could have possibly smelled alcohol on the breath of someone on the other side of the car, through a 3" crack in the window, on a night with pouring rain and strong winds. The cop sort of opened and shut his mouth a few times, squirmed around in his seat, and said "that's just what I always write in my log, to remind me that it was a DUI stop."
The judge threw the case out. No motion to dismiss needed. Then he took a break and called the traffic prosecutor and the cop into his office. I'm guessing it wasn't for a nice spot of tea and some scones.
16. We spent MONTHS trying to get a landlord to cough up $$$ to make necessary repairs at one of his properties. Then when he didn’t make the repairs and said he didn’t have any money, we filed a motion for contempt and got the judge to force him to turn over financial records. We got the records and saw he got a loan of several thousands of dollars (significantly more than what we asked for) just a few days before he was ordered to pay. Then the bank records showed (1) he transferred some $$$ to another account, which we never received the records for, and (2) he spent several thousands of dollars at a local casino.
During cross exam, we questioned him about the money at the casino and he admitted he went, but said he took his family there for dinner. But there were multiple cash ATM withdrawals in a day for several days. He was screwed.
17. I've told this story before but I might as well put it here. This guy wanted custody over his children after a divorce and his wife was accusing of abuse(physical) . He was asked if he had ever abused his wife and he straight up said 'Yes, but only when she annoyed me' or something along the lines of that. I was ready to straight up leave the court room and laugh my ass off.
[This was like 6 yrs ago and I've forgotten about it until now, thanks for the reminder.]-i forgot to remove this part when i copy pasted this from my other reply to a question, i apologise. I don't seem like a good lawyer right now, do I?
18. There was one juror who just had been clearly thoroughly annoyed with the other lawyer throughout the trial. When the verdict came back, that juror was holding the verdict, indicating he had been the foreman. At that moment I knew I had won.
19. Dad alleged mom was doing all sorts of things and that he should have the kid. Dad's attorney grilled mom for about 20 minutes on texts she had sent claiming to sell her prescriptions. She wouldn't admit it. Dad's attorney moved on and eventually ended with, 'One more question. Where did you get the pills you were selling?' Mom responds without thinking, 'Oh, my doctor prescribed them.'
20. Defendant on trial for arson of an occupied dwelling. I cross-examined him about statements he made to witnesses saying he was going to burn down the house. He claimed he was just, 'Singing the song, you know — burning down the house, burning down the house.'
I said, 'You mean the song by the Talking Heads?' He said, 'Yeah, that song; I remember because it had just come out!' He set the fire in 2015. I actually had to look up the proper citation for a recorded song for the appellate brief, which went as well for the defendant as the trial did. The Talking Heads, "Burning Down the House" (Sire Records, 1983!).
He was lying about why he was saying he was going to 'burn down the house' is evidence of intent to conceal."
21. Not a lawyer, recent law school grad studying for the bar. This happened summer after my first year of law school, I was making a court appearance as a student attorney (basically, a rule in my state that lets students practice under attorney supervision).
I was working with the public defender’s office, representing a client at a first appearance on a probation violation/bail hearing. On a probation violation, the judge is allowed to hold a defendant without bail (keep them in jail until the case is over).
Client says he has some money, but not much. Could get together about $500 for bail. Ok, I’ll ask the judge to keep it low or just release him. Prosecutor asks for $300 bail. Great, my work here is done. Whatever I say, judge will order $300 or less and my guy is out.
I say my piece, and then my client interrupts the judge, saying some incoherent stuff about how he needs to get out and he’s got this that and the other thing going on. Won’t let the judge speak.
Judge holds him without bail even though the prosecutor didn’t ask for it. All he had to do was shut up and he’d have gone home that afternoon.
22. Late to the party, but I'll chime in anyway. My firm had been chasing down this woman for years, trying to get her to pay out on a six figure judgment. She kept nothing in her personal bank accounts and used the money for her business accounts for a rather lavish lifestyle. She kept claiming she was broke and that she didn't use her company funds for her living expenses, including in affidavits filed with the court. During the citation deposition, at the beginning, she stated she was current on her mortgage for her huge house. We go through all her finances and companies and after a few hours I brought up the mortgage again and then asked "if you're broke, but current on your mortgage, how are you making mortgage payments?" Dead silence, then in a soft voice "I use company funds." Her attorney stopped the deposition and pulled her out of the conference room. My boss was observing and started laughing and told me it was a good question.
23. He tried citing his own lawyer as an authority that the judge should defer to. The judge was not amused. I won.
24. The defendant tried to b**** slap one of the jury.
25. I represented a company that was sued for breach of contract by a former independent contractor. Dude basically alleged that my client wasn’t paying him correctly in accordance with the contract.
During his deposition, dude admits that he never reviewed any documents to make sure his allegations were true, never reviewed his complaint before filing it to make sure the allegations in it were true, and had no idea whether or not my client actually failed to pay him in accordance with the contract. Basically, he tells me that he was suing my client because he didn’t think their agreement was fair (even though he agreed to the terms when he signed the contract). The kicker is that he admitted that he OWED my client money.
At arbitration, he tries to flip his story and starts giving testimony that is the exact opposite of his dep, so I whip out his transcript and undermine his testimony bit by bit. Needless to say, I won that case.
26. When my client filed a restraining order against his ex and then asked me to leverage the restraining order just so he could get back with her. In our state, if you do this, you’ll have to pay the other persons attorneys fees.
27. Defendant in a bench trial for a speeding ticket said he couldn't possibly go as fast as the officer clocked him. He knew this because he video taped himself accelerating from a full stop to the location of where the officer sat. His experiment showed his vehicle could only get to 55mph and not the 67 mph he was clocked at. The ADA then moved to have another speeding ticket issued because the actual posted speed limit was 50mph.
28. I once had an idiot client who put out a public statement announcing that a subordinate had resigned.
Then the subordinate announced that he had not resigned, and furthermore, had no intention of resigning.
Then my idiot client put out an email announcing that he had fired the subordinate.
Then I had to advise my idiot client that he didn't have the right to fire the subordinate.
Then I had to explain to my idiot client that he couldn't fire the man because he is not my idiot client's subordinate at all; in fact, he was hired by, and worked for, a completely different subsidiary - over which my client had no authority.
So I got my idiot client to put out a public statement saying that his boss, the Chief Executive, had fired the subordinate.
Then my idiot client's boss blabbed to everybody that he had not fired the subordinate, and that he had thrown the whole matter back into my idiot client's hands.
And now, dammit, I have to spend the next four months boning up on all the statues and case law pertaining to obstruction of justice.
Sincerely, William Barr's lawyer.
29. I do mostly solicitor work so if I'm doing my job right I don't get a whole lot of these type of moments. That being said, I had a long-time client who was being sued and I got to shut down the guy suing him in a very satisfying way.
So my client had hired a guy, we will call Kevin, as basically a right-hand man for his company. The employment contract wasn't done yet but they had an agreement that Kevin would work six weeks at a lower wage and then sign the contract and get the agreed upon wage. So the guy works decently for 5 weeks and then is given the contract to sign. He comes back to the owner (my client) and says that he has some small changes he would like to make.
When the owner gets the contract back he finds that the "small changes" involve removing the "Duties and Responsibilities" section (basically the job description) and the non-compete/confidentiality clause. Not only that but he has written in a higher salary than agreed and added a bunch of new benefits for himself.
Obviously, my client tells him that he can either sign the contract as it was originally laid out or he can find himself another job. He takes the latter option. But he starts a lawsuit against the owner wanting to be paid for the six weeks he was supposed to work (which had already been paid), two weeks in lieu of notice and FIVE weeks vacation pay.
I got the enjoyable job of telling Kevin, in front of a judge that he was not entitled to anything under the employment legislation and the only way he could get any of that would be if he had signed the contract. Judge dismissed the case and awarded costs to the defendant but not before giving Kevin a lecture on wasting the court's time.
30. Not a lawyer, but I will say I was in Mock Trial in high school. I won our case when I got the coach of the team to say that she’s just the coach and not responsible for someone else’s child. I know that’s nothing like a real case but I was so proud when the “jury” cited that line as the reason they voted in favor of “my client”.
- REPLAY GALLERY
- 30 Lawyers Reveal The Moment They Knew They Won Their Case