It’s never the best idea to hide something from your lawyer. Either they’ll find out for themselves, or the embarrassing or incriminating detail will crop up in court – as these unwitting defendants found out the hard way. What’s more, you can probably imagine how infuriating it must be for the lawyers themselves when cases take a last-minute plot twist. You wouldn’t believe some of the details people thought they could keep hidden from the courtroom. From hidden criminal records to secret audio recordings, here are 50 examples of when lying to lawyers lost a case, as narrated by Reddit users.
1. Serving time
I was defending a deposition one time in a civil asbestos case where one of the preliminary questions was “if you have any previous criminal convictions”. I talked to my client prior to the deposition and went over all of the standard preliminary questions and he assured me that he had not ever been convicted of a crime.
So the deposition starts and the lead attorney starts asking her questions and she gets to the question about criminal convictions and the guy answers no. She then pulls out some information and proceeds to impeach him on a prior federal conviction for distributing Heroin where he did 5 years in the Federal Pen.
While this prior conviction doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with him being exposed to asbestos in chemical plants it has everything to do with his credibility. I was able to resolve his case but I definitely wasn’t able to get him him full value for his asbestos exposure. His lying cost him tens of thousands of dollars in his case.
2. Arson attack
My father used to be a public defender and was defending a man for arson. As a witness was testifying that he saw the defendant at the scene, the defendant stands up and shouts “you think you can snitch on Louis the Torch?!” He had not mentioned this nickname previously…
3. One hundred times
Client was a decades-long employee with a bank. Came in to dispute a termination for cause. She advised that in an act of desperation and at a time we had good evidence she was under great mental stress and depression, she had ‘kited’ a check (depositing a check you know won’t clear, then using those funds to withdraw money or write your own check). This was the basis for the termination.
It was an arguable case. The client had immediately thereafter quickly ensured there was enough money in the account that the bank suffered no actual loss, and her job had no access to or connection to money (the bank’s or its clients’). It was not for the purposes of pure theft, but more for the purposes of getting access to funds early at a moment she needed them.
Partway through discovery the bank pulled out records and ATM footage that showed our client doing the same thing over a hundred times. Case didn’t go so well after that.
4. Blind strides
My favourite one involved a Plaintiff (the person suing) suing the City (my client) because she fell over an uneven sidewalk. Flimsy claim from the start, but she could potentially show that the city was negligent in maintaining the sidewalk. For some reason the opposing lawyers took her case.
But then in depositions when she was asked to tell what happened, her response included that she had a video camera up to her face (one of the big ones from back in the day) videoing the surroundings and that’s why she didn’t see the sidewalk was uneven and that’s why she fell. Her lawyer literally didn’t even finish the deposition, just dismissed the case right there.
5. Secret identity
Employment case. We got to the deposition of my client and all set up. The first question is “please state your name.” The client looks at me and says “Can we take a break?”
We do and she pulls me out in the hall to tell me she’s lied to me about her identity. She’s apparently a serial fraudster and has changed identities 7 times since the 90s. She apparently thought the other attorneys had some how figured it out and that’s why they asked the question.
6. Plenty of warnings
Unfair dismissal case. The client claimed to have been dismissed without reason or following procedure. After we had started the case, it comes out that not only was he given 3 written warnings but he was also called in for a disciplinary hearing before his dismissal. Don’t lie to your lawyer.
Guy in prison hired me to request a modification of his sentence because he was doing very well, completing a lot of optional programs, no rule violations, etc. He had his family come in and pay and everything to get started. I asked the family and the client if he had requested modification before, because the law said that for his conviction, he could only request modification twice for any one sentence, regardless of if they were granted or denied. Swore up and down he’d never filed before. You can see where this is going.
After spending a few hours going over records and preparing documents, a copy of the CCS (the case record basically) finally arrived. He’d personally filed for modification SIX TIMES since he was sentenced with handwritten pleadings that were all denied. So the one he hired me for was a waste of time and would never be considered at all.
8. Personal property
I’m still a law student and this happened during my first internship at a court: A girl among other people was charged with drug possession but because she had thrown away the drugs and the police couldn’t prove that she bought or owned the drugs (because it could have been one of the other people as well who still had drugs on them).
The judge ruled in dubio pro reo [that too much doubt remains in the case], he then asked if she wants to add something and this girl asked if she can get HER drugs back. The defence attorney looked like he was about to get a heart attack. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
9. Shopping at work
FDA dismissed a guy for insider trading. He would access a data base of drugs about to be approved, which nearly always caused stock to go up. He’d made millions buying stock in his family’s name to cover his tracks. But he made a fatal mistake. He looked at the data base and then bought stock with his work computer.
The problem is, the FDA owns these computers and can search them without consent. You click a statement to that effect each time you sign on. If he’d waited and done it on his own computer they’d have had to get a search warrant, a much tougher proposition.
10. Pretending to be blind
Not my client, but the son of the opposing party (and presumably the party himself) lied about being blind to make himself seem more sympathetic as a witness. We didn’t know either until he took the witness box, their counsel asked him to take the oath, and he picked the card up and read it.
That was the cherry on top of a series of ridiculous events. The judge dismissed the whole thing in our client’s favor shortly after. I was a trainee at the time, but my boss, who was in her late sixties then, said it was the most ridiculous case she’d ever handled. A bad day at the office!
11. Drug-laden coat
Had a woman with an expensive fur coat and she claimed that the laundry ruined it. It was kinda ruined but the laundry claimed those stains were already there. Judge ordered an expert opinion (lab) and the fur coat had traces of cocaine and other illegal drugs all over it. There was a raid at her place then and her husband got convicted because they found several kg of drugs.
12. Speeding in style
Not a lawyer but a woman I know received several hefty speeding fines. In my country you can go see a magistrate to have the fines reduced if you plead poverty. She heard about this and decided to give it a shot, so she went to court and told the magistrate a sob-story about not having enough money.
The magistrate heard her out, then he asked her: “Madam, what type of car do you drive?” She replied in a tiny voice, “A Porsche.”
13. Courthouse fashion
Credit card theft/fraud case. When I was a young lawyer back in the late 80s, I was trying this guy on a cc case and the witness was the department store clerk. Before video surveillance, the state relied heavily on witness identification. As she described the “customer” that was purchasing the very unique clothing her store sold I asked her how she could be so sure it was my client.
She looked at my client who was wearing the most obnoxiously yellow shirt imaginable and said “because not only does he completely match the description I just gave you but he’s wearing the exact same shirt I sold him.” The jury convicted him and I learned that day to better prepare my clients for trial.
14. True love
I wasn’t a lawyer in this role, but was a law clerk. This was a typical divorce case. This particular jury trial was about splitting assets and who would get what. It was a long drawn out case that took about five days. Right before the closing arguments the attorneys wanted to talk to the judge, it seems as though a couple of days prior the couple decided to get back together, and instead of telling the judge and their lawyers, they just kept it a secret.
We heard four days of evidence, arguments, 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 out the courtroom, the judge had to dismiss the jury and the the couple was adamant that they didn’t think that them getting back together was a detail any of their attorneys needed to know.
Years ago, I had a client charged with drunk in public. It’s a minor infraction, but he was on probation so he needed to fight it. He told me he was very drunk 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 take this information and run with it, bringing photos of the apartment complex and the bylaws to court. My goal was to prove that the lobby of the apartment was secured to guests and residents only, which would arguably take the drunkenness out of being “in public.”
There is no formal discovery for minor infractions in my state. Since there isn’t a real option for a plea deal on the minor charge and wanting to ambush the officer with my argument, I do not discuss the case with him and we go to trial. The wheels came off the wagon when the officer testified that he encountered my client at an apartment building on the other side of the city.
He was outside at the call box, not even in the lobby of this different building, rambling and barely able to stand. I’m whispering to my client about this reversal and he slumps over and says 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 that phone?”
Cross examination was not fruitful. It was basically “officer, are you really sure it happened where you said it did and not at this other apartment building miles away?” Closing argument, that he wasn’t that drunk, also didn’t get us anywhere. In the end, there was a fast guilty finding, a minor fine, wasted ink and paper from printing useless exhibits, and light sanctions later on the probation violation.
16. Never a couple
Client said 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. Seemed reasonable so I took his case. At the hearing it came out that they were never a couple, that he was sending sex toys to her residence on a weekly basis and that she never asked for the thousands of dollars he gave her over the years (stripper). We lost, he got laughed out of court and he learned a valuable lesson: tell your lawyer the good AND the bad stuff before trial!
17. Bragging on tape
I represented a married-with-children male psychiatrist who was being sued by a homosexual male patient for taking advantage and engaging in a sexual relationship with him. We defended the case vigorously, until, one day in the course of discovery, we received a CD with voice recordings of the psychiatrist expounding to the patient about the size of his member. We settled the case within a week.
18. Crying wolf
Had a work comp case where a client claimed he fell off the side of his truck while putting a tarp over the load and hurt his back. It seemed legit as he was taken to a hospital and they had given him meds. As we were pursuing the case it turns out the company had a surveillance camera.
The injury seemed fishy to the employer so they looked at the recording. It turns out the idiot had climbed off the side of the truck, then laid down on the ground and started yelling for help. He had made the whole thing up. No wonder employers question work comp injuries. This guy ruined it for the legitimate claims.
19. Multi-million-dollar lawsuit
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 our client 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 (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).
On Tuesday, our client called us and told us 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.
20. Can I confess now?
I was an intern for a public defender between my 3L and 2L year. I was able to practice under a limited license, so long as my supervising attorney was present. This meant I was able to do certain simple things like arraignments to gain experience. One morning we met with this fellow before his arraignment. He told us that he was guilty and didn’t want to fight the charge, he just wanted to get some help with his drug problem.
My supervisor explained that he would be an excellent candidate for the drug court program, and he explained that the first step in the process would be to plead “Not Guilty” that day, so an agreement could be worked up with the prosecutor. I sat and watched as my supervisor explained the whole process to this guy, who seemed to understand completely.
He seemed entirely sober at the time, and responded adequately to what the attorney was saying. Finally, he asked the guy “would it be OK if my Intern represented you for this? It’s rather simple, all he’ll say is “Not Guilty.” The guy agreed and I was excited. Cut to an hour or so later.
I am seated next to this guy, I enter the plea, everything is fine. Then the Judge asks “Sir, do you have any questions for the court?” The guy, after having been explained the process thoroughly by advising attorney, says “Can I just confess now?” All I could hear was the residual ringing of my ears left by a soul leaving one’s body. The Judge gave me the most pitying look I’ve ever seen, and said “Sir, I think you need to consult with your counsel.”
My advising attorney then came up, tapped me on the shoulder, and said he’d handle it. Like a shamed puppy, I scurried back behind the bar. The attorney quickly conferred with the client and the plea went ahead as planned. Later he told me to get used to that, as functional addicts tend to become experts in making people think they understand what they’ve been told.
21. Expert drivers
Road traffic accident. It was a low value civil claim so I only met my client shortly before the trial. He came across well in our meeting and answered my questions reasonably and plausibly. Minutes before we are called in he says “I’ve never had much luck with these court cases…” I ask, “you’ve been in the county court before?” [UK civil court]. He replies, “oh no, I mean with the criminal charges”.
In giving evidence he proceeds to blurt out his history unprompted and also comes up with the following delicious exchange. Counsel: You accept that as you were on the minor road, you did not have the right of way? Defendant: Well, I don’t know, I’m not a ROAD EXPERT. You’d need a road expert to answer a question like that.
Counsel: All I’m asking is whether you agree that a car on a minor road does not have the right of way. Defendant: Right of way, wrong of way, who can say? That’s what we’re here to find out! For the Judge to decide. So (a) he failed to disclose to me his remarkable history of driving offences and (b) he failed to disclose his status as a weapons grade moron.
22. The landlord
Not a lawyer, but I was volunteering in an advice centre. A guy came in with a sad story about being unfairly evicted and homeless. He had been living in a council flat, which for non-UKers is a heavily rent-subsidised apartment owned by the local council. It is very hard to get these in my part of the country, as the waiting lists are years or decades, although you can get priority if you are homeless, disabled or in otherwise unsuitable accommodation.
Anyway, his story was that he had had to go back to his home country for a while due to a family illness, but he still paid the rent, and he asked another family to check on the property to make sure it was OK. The council had come by while the other family was in the property, freaked out and said they weren’t allowed in there, and they phoned the client and told him he was being evicted for breaking the terms of the lease.
And people were throwing around all these terms like leasehold and freehold that he didn’t understand because his English was bad. So I got all righteously enraged and phoned the council up to beg them to change their mind, because the guy had a family emergency, was just trying to look after the place, was entitled to have visitors, etc.
The housing officer then told me what he had actually done was walked into a commercial letting agency, signed a form saying he owned the flat, and rented it for six months to an unsuspecting family at four times the price of his council rent (the family were then massively inconvenienced as they had to find someone else immediately). And he was lucky they hadn’t gone to the police who would have charged him with fraud.
23. Déjà vu
Once I was defending a civil anti-harassment motion related to a business relationship gone wrong. I had asked my client if he had any criminal record, and he confirmed that he hadn’t. This is important because the judge has a database right on her/his computer.” So I was in court, waiting to be heard, developing an oral argument such as “This is a simple misunderstanding. My client is a businessman with no criminal record.”
Then my client taps me on the shoulder. “You know when I said I had no criminal record?,” he whispers. “Uh, yes,” I responded warily. “Well, I do have one thing I plead guilty to.” “Probably not a big deal. What did you plead to?” “Violating an anti-harrassment order.” I nearly fell off my chair.
24. Miracle recovery
Facebook screws people every time. We had a recent case in which a person claimed a shoulder injury. Reported extreme pain all the time and was insistent that his elbow couldn’t be lifted above his head. Even came in a sling to his first deposition. We perform a social media review, pictures of him rowing in a canoe and numerous pictures of him jumping, raising his arm in the air, one was at a football game and it was just after his team has scored and he’s holding both hands up with beers.
At settlement it became clear to us his attorney hand to checked his own clients Facebook. We tried to settle but the demands were too great so we didn’t even produce the photos. At trial, once we entered the pictures, you could feel the jury start to hate this guy. They were borderline shaking their heads at him. His attorney kept a straight face but it was over. Full defence verdict.
25. Shopping mall slip
Represented an older lady who was in a minor car accident. When I say minor, I mean very minor, photos showed no damage. She claimed her back hurt at the scene. Doesn’t take ambulance. Goes to urgent care, they give her pain pills and a prescription to get an x-ray. She takes her pre-planned and pre-paid trip to Mexico.
Comes back 1 week later and gets the x-ray, continues complaining of pain. X-ray shows 3 fractured vertebrae. We sue. Insurance offers $100k to settle her case before they even take her deposition. She says no, wants more. During deposition admits that while in Mexico she fell down the stairs at a mall tumbling down 25 steps. Case settled for a lot lower than offered.
26. Invoking the fifth commandment
That he had a warrant out for him in another State for jumping bail (under a known alias), that he was going to wear the same clothes to court that he committed the crime in. And driving a stolen car – with a screwdriver as a key when he didn’t even have a license – to court.
And was drinking whiskey, taking opioids illegally and smoking weed illegally IN that car right before court. He had been trying to claim it was someone that looked like him that committed the crime and that he didn’t do drugs, drive, drink, or have any criminal history at all.
Those things he did before court, along with calling the judge ‘Your Majesty’ and calling the arresting detective ‘ossifer’ instead of officer in court, invoking the fifth COMMANDMENT instead of amendment, and being on camera both at the scene of the crime AND on security cam outside the courthouse in the same damn clothes while getting wasted before his hearing kinda sealed the deal against him.
Client was to take a hair test for drug abuse. Shows what illegal drugs have been done for the past 3 months. Well, he swore up and down he never used drugs, would pass a hair test no problem! Trial date was set. Lab results came back I was pissed!!! Positive cocaine, marijuana, Xanax, methamphetamines.
WTH? I spoke with client right before trial. If he was honest with me, we could have disagreed with a hair test, agreed with a urine, would have taken a few days to schedule. As long as he stayed clean we would have won the trial hands down! Be honest with your defence team!!!
28. Not important
Probably when I was set for trial on a DUI, the day of trial I get a call from the state attorney that it was never disclosed in evidence that the friend my client had been meeting the time of the arrest was a meth dealer and it was believed my client was in the middle of trying to buy meth.
When I confronted him about it, he just looked at me and said “I didn’t think it was important, it wasn’t alcohol” (Florida DUIs are alcohol or any controlled substance). Thankfully, kept that out of trial due to late disclosure, still lost because he’s an idiot.
29. Train rage
I’m just a paralegal in personal injury law, but I love telling people about this client. It blows my mind that a person can have so little shame about lying for money. We got a client who said that they were boarding a train and that the edge of the platform was slippery, so they slipped and their foot got wedged between the train and the platform.
They said it started moving despite their yelling for it to stop, which caused a compound fracture of their fibula and a closed fracture of their ankle. And they were pregnant. They had surgery immediately to repair their leg and spent a few days in the hospital, racking up a $100,000 bill. A month later, we received video footage of the incident from the train station…
Our client missed the closing doors to the train by a solid 30 seconds, got upset, and full on charge-kicked the side of the moving train, the force of which absolutely shattered their lower leg. I wish them the best and a full recovery, but jesus christ, dude, why even try taking this to court?
I was on the other side. They told their lawyer they had life changing injuries, couldn’t work, barely left the house, basic movement was difficult etc. They did not advise them that they had resumed riding their motorcycle (including a dirt bike) had moved up and worked on a small farm, and definitely did not tell them about the charity bungee jump they did.
All of which they documented on Facebook and we recorded in covert surveillance footage. A claim worth a few million reduced to 15k, and they had to pay our fees of about 90k for pursuing the claim beyond what was reasonably necessary after we made a (very strategic) early settlement offer.
31. Audio evidence
I had a client who, despite being a large man, had been domestically abused by his much smaller wife throughout their marriage. After the divorce she turned her anger on their son. He ran away one day to live with his dad and we filed to restrict her parenting time and for a permanent modification.
At the permanent hearing she denied being abusive to the child or my client in front of the child, said she never threatened anyone ever, and that she never made disparaging remarks about my client in front of their son. What she didn’t know, and therefore hadn’t told her attorney, is that he had recorded multiple instances of her abuse.
So I called my client back up for rebuttal and played an audio recording of her screaming at my client, threatening to break his face in, and calling him a loser, all while the child could be heard in the background begging her to stop. I looked over at the other attorney and she had her face in her hands. We won.
32. The giveaway
Worker’s compensation case. Occasionally the ability to pursue a claim against an employer will raise questions of whether an employer-employee relationship exists. One client I had was contesting a claim filed against his business on these grounds, alleging that the claimant was not an employee but an independent contractor who was obligated to carry his own comp insurance.
During a hearing I questioned him hoping to establish this. At one point I asked my client if the claimant had signed a form recognizing his status and responsibilities as an independent contractor? His answer: “Sure. I make all my employees sign that.” We lost.
33. Neighbours’ feud
The client claimed that the neighbour’s fence was intruding onto his property. Neighbour had a video camera on his house. Neighbour showed me the video of my client physically pulling the fence onto his own property, throwing stuff over the fence, and digging underneath the fence to erode the dirt around the footings causing the fence to slide further onto my client’s property. Oh, and the neighbour was the Chief of Police.
34. The deer hunter
My client, who was far too disabled to perform his job duties, and was in too much back pain to sit in a chair during his disability hearing, neglected to mention that he had managed to single-handedly hunt, shoot, and drag a large deer out of the forest. Unfortunately, the DEC officer who testified for his employer had no such memory lapses.
35. Handing out bananas
I once saw a guy in court for DWI spend the time before the judge came in arguing with his 90 year old mother, to the point that a bailiff had to ask him to sit down and be quiet. He also, for a reason I’ll get to shortly, brought a bunch of bananas to court. Then when the judge got to his case he walked up to the judge and offered him a banana.
As a result the judge smelled the booze on his breath and asked if he was drunk at an appearance for a DWI case, and he says, dead seriously, “That’s why I brought these [holds up bananas], to sober up.” He didn’t even have a public defender but if he did I’m sure that lawyer would feel defeated at that moment.
36. The worst purchase ever
I represented petitioners in a case where they were trying to retain custody of a child that the child’s parents had placed in their care, even knowing the criminal history of the man for manufacturing a controlled substance (meth). Get to court, hearing is going well as parents can’t possibly meet McLendon [standard that demands a change in custody is in the child’s best interests] as they already knew all the bad s*** about my client when they had custody placed with him.
Distraught mother demands a drug test. My client takes it. Comes back hot for meth on main petitioner, the husband. Best excuse I’ve ever heard in my life, “the bailiff has to have put that meth in my pee! The guy I bought it from swore he was clean!” Needless to say I fired him as a client over that particular showing of phenomenal fraud against the court. Pretty sure the ongoing DV disqualified his wife from maintaining their joint petition…
37. Excessive force
One time I was representing a high ranking police officer accused of using excessive force on a civilian. I sat him down to ask him about what happened, and he described how he arrived at this mob scene and followed standard procedure by first making his way through the crowd to find the highest ranking officer currently there.
He explained that he found a sergeant and spoke to him to get the details of what was going on. After conferring with him for a few minutes, he proceeded to work in coordination with other officers to try to back the crowd up. However, while attempting to secure the area, a civilian put his hand on the officer’s shoulder and tried to push past him.
He explained this was already cause to arrest the man, but said that he gave the man multiple warnings to stop anyway. When the civilian wouldn’t stop, the officer and a few other officers put him on the ground and arrested him. What the officer didn’t know is that I had a video of the incident which shows him jumping out of his car…
He’s then seen pushing through the crowd, and within maybe 6 seconds (before he knew what was going on at all) him just turning around and attacking some guy who brushed up against him in the crowd. After he jumped the civilian, naturally, maybe 4 other officers pushed their way over and dog piled on top of him. It didn’t lose me the case, but if I didn’t have the video it would have.
38. Online hate
Not exactly a case detail, and I was only an intern at the time, but we were preparing to go to trial on an employment discrimination case, where the plaintiff was suing based on alleged discrimination (I think failure to promote was the claim?) based on his being a Muslim.
We were thinking about which employee would sit with the attorneys at the defence table to “represent” the entity, and had settled on one supervisor. We decided, just to do our due diligence, to check his Facebook page. Hoo boy. The guy had PUBLIC posts that didn’t even pretend to hide his Islamophobia. We realized that plaintiff’s counsel MUST have found this and it would end up as exhibit #1. We immediately redoubled efforts to settle the case out of court.
39. Waste of time
Worked for a personal injury attorney. Client was riding a bus when it was in an accident, supposedly she was seriously injured, had trouble working, and had tens of thousands in medical bills. We went into the settlement conference fairly confident… until the other side provided surveillance footage from the date of the accident.
We watched the video like 7-8 times and could hardly tell when the accident happened because it was so minor. Barely a fender bender. Client lied about both the severity if the accident and where she was sitting on the bus. The lawyer I worked for was a really chill guy, but this was the only time I saw him get mad. He exploded at the client for wasting everyone’s time and money.
Client showed up to my office with her grandmother. Was charged with embezzling from her employer. Denied she did it. Once we got the evidence back from the district attorney’s office, it turned out she signed a very detailed confession. Failed to mention it at any point prior to me receiving it. Guess she didn’t want to say anything in front of grandma.
41. Dentist dispute
I had a dentist client referred to me who complained that his business partners were kicking him out of the business, and that it was unfair because the ONLY reason that they locked him out of the office was that he lost his temper with a hygienist. I wrote a nasty letter threatening an injunction the following day if they didn’t immediately let him back in to start seeing his patients again, and other blowtorch consequences.
A day or two later, a highly respected lawyer in my city called me representing the other dental partners and asked to meet me in person. When we met, he handed me a binder with financial forensics showing how my client had embezzled $1.2 million from his partners over the last several years. He calmly told me that the US Attorney already had the binder, and that my client was likely to be criminally indicted in short order. I ended up turning the client over to a criminal defence lawyer. He ended up serving 4 years in prison.
42. Email confession
After 2 years litigating a file I was in a meeting preparing my client for deposition. After 4 hours, she pulled a crumpled piece of paper out of her purse and said nonchalantly “does this matter at all?” It was an email she sent to a friend outlining her contumacious scheme to commit fraud to collect more money in her case. Hooray for all of the time I spent on that file working on a pure contingency.
43. Tough guy
In my country we have Criminal Intimidation in the statutes. The main elements are proving that the victim was genuinely alarmed as result of the intimidation and feared for his life. In this particular case, the Police are called and they arrest the neighbour for threatening the victim with a knife and using words to the effect of killing him.
Few months later case goes to trial and the prosecutor puts the victim as the first witness for the prosecution on the stand and the first question after the formalities is “what was your state of mind when you saw the accused with the knife in his hand.” Victim replies that he remained calm as knows that the neighbour is all talk and no action.
He goes on to brag that he could take the guy on if he wanted to. You could hear a pin drop. Judge looks at the prosecutor who without missing a beat ask for the charge to be withdrawn. Everyone present in court knew what occurred except the victim who was totally confused. He was seriously “alarmed” and probably for the first time in his life. I was in court for another case and this stuck to me.
44. Suing a second time
Had an older client who was a Vietnam vet who had a number of mental and physical health problems during his life. At one point he was basically incapacitated with health issues and a friend was taking care of him. He alleged that the friend took advantage of the situation and robbed him blind.
Sold his car and kept the money, transferred client’s bank account to himself, etc. We spent weeks looking into this, gathering evidence, interviewing people, the whole 9 yards. From what we could tell at that point it looked like the client was telling the truth. But as we’re getting ready to file we come across records of WHERE HIS CASE WAS ALREADY LITIGATED.
He had already sued the guy and lost because he tried to represent himself and had no idea what he was doing. Weeks of work down the drain because he didn’t think to mention this little detail. Looking back this comes across less compassionate than I meant. It was a hugely unfortunate situation and I felt terrible for the guy. Even though we couldn’t do anything about the friend at that point, we did take some other steps to get him some assistance and try to improve his situation.
45. A stranger’s obituary
I worked in a family treatment court and we had a client that relapsed on meth. When we addressed the relapse with the client she said it was due to her grandfather dying and her grief triggering her. Knowing that she was prone to making up excuses for her actions, our judge asked her to bring in her grandfather’s obituary.
The following week she brings in a copy of the obituary before the docket is called and the judge reads it. He chuckles to himself and passes it to the team to read. Docket is called and judge asks the client to come up to the bench, where he proceeds to ask questions in line with her reported story.
He stops her and says ‘I know you’re lying. Do you want to know how I know?”. Client gives deer in headlights look and asks “How?”…..dramatic pause from judge before he says “Because you gave me an obituary for a widowed gay man with no children”. The client DID NOT SKIP A BEAT and replied with “I didn’t know he was gay”… the fake obituary is still framed in my office.
46. Gruesome fight
My uncle was a prosecutor for a long time. When I was in law school, he told me a cautionary tale about why you never ask a question you don’t know the answer to. A defendant was on trial for a bar fight, accused of biting a piece of the victim’s ear off during the scuffle.
When a bar patron witness took the stand, defence counsel asked him a number of questions aimed at impeaching his credibility, like “how far away were you,” “was there anyone in between you and the defendant,” “was it dark in there,” hoping he’d slip up in his testimony.
At the end, to add a bit of dramatic flair to an otherwise effective impeachment, defence counsel asked “then how could you possibly know the defendant bit the victim’s ear off?” The witness testified, “because I watched him spit it out.” Nothing like a gruesome detail to stick in the minds of a jury.
47. Driver’s vengeance
Client attacked another driver in a road rage incident and told me he went up to the car at a red light, knocked on their window, had a notebook and was taking down the person’s plate info. Turns out, he followed the guy for many kms, followed him into a beer store parking lot.
He then got out, approached the guy with a KNIFE, then flipped out on all the cops who ended up there to arrest him. Needless to say the dashcam footage from the officers’ vehicle was hilarious. They were EXTREMELY patient with him. As for the court proceedings… not so much.
48. In it for the money
Not a lawyer, but an actual client with a huge fail. Back in my late teens, I was arrested for selling pot. My lawyer knew this particular judge was lenient on cases of self addiction and abuse and would probably give me a lighter punishment if I were to make a statement to the tune of “I was just doing this to support my own habit and addiction.”
What actually came out of my stupid f***ing mouth instead was more like, “Sir, I only did this for the money.” BOOM! book thrown. You could have heard his (lawyer) jaw hit the floor. Felt really bad for my lawyer, but looking back I obviously shouldn’t have got away with something if I was so dumb.
49. A restless night
Paralegal here… Boss was defending a client on stinging a driving charge. Client stated they were too drunk to drive, so they decided to sleep in their car. Client said the car was parked in the parking lot next to the bar and the keys were laying on the passenger seat when the police arrested him.
Well… the keys were in the passenger seat but he was parked in the drive-through of a fast food place. Said client also failed to mention he screamed multiple racial slurs at the officers the entire time they were arresting him. While that’s not illegal, it definitely doesn’t lower a sentence. Judge threw the book at the guy. He spent 30 days in jail as well as losing his license for a year.
50. Criminal gust
I’m a lawyer. Before we entered the courtroom my client and I made sure we new what we were going to say when they asked certain questions. My client had never been to court before, never watched a testimony, nothing. I had to explain to her how it worked and what happened when she was called to the stand. This girl was in her mid thirties.
She told me she would tell the court where she was: At Northwest Gym, in a spin class, with a male guide (we’ll call him Fred). What happened: Fred gave everyone in the class a gift for Christmas, and forgot my client’s in the car. My client agreed to go outside and get the gift from Fred’s car.
They went outside and opened the trunk to his car and gave her the gift. He then asked her to close the trunk as his hands were full. My client claims Fred tried to push her into the trunk and walked away. When the prosecution attorney asked her if she fell to the ground she said “No, I was pushed and then [Fred] tried to trap me inside.”
When the prosecution attorney asked how she was pushed, she answered with “It kind of felt like a breeze. It happened so fast I didn’t even feel his hand.” Courts don’t take kindly to the idea of a ghost-like presence pushing people around. Needless to say, we lost.
51. Hit and run
I was involved in a hit and run car accident. My leg was pretty mangled. However the driver of the car was caught. Turns out he was a rich kid who was driving his mum’s convertible Porsche. Denied all knowledge of hitting me etc. At the trial, the prosecutor asked him how long he had been driving to which he answered ‘do you mean how long have i been driving legally or illegally?’
The judge then went nuts asking why and when he had been driving illegally. His defence team sat down in their chairs and shook their heads. Obviously there’s no way you can come back from that sort of admission on the witness stand. Chalk that up as a big L for the lawyers.
I also recently had an employment law gender discrimination case where the whole thing essentially revolved around whether they had told her that her position was being terminated as a result of genuine redundancy (legal) vs whether they terminated it after she got pregnant (obviously illegal).
This distinction was emphasized to the client many, many times and she strongly maintained 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 will say etc.
We tell her they’ll be claiming they told her it was redundancy, and how is she going to respond? She replies with absolutely no hesitation “oh yeah of course, that’s exactly what they said.” Case was clearly a huge was of everyone’s time – including the client’s.
53. Casino winnings
Family friend is the lawyer here, representing someone accessed of embezzling 2 million dollars from the company she worked for. The embezzling was discovered through lavish spending, including the accused buying multiple 100K cars for family members while on a salary of 80K. The case is going OK otherwise, as there are problems with some of the evidence.
Defendant decides to hold a press conference and claim she won the money at the casino. Obviously this kind of thing can be checked, so the lawyer asks the client to immediately hold another press conference to say she misspoke. Otherwise she is f***ed because they’ll be able to tell she is lying about the source of the money (and lying shows knowledge of wrongdoing).
So she holds another press conference and says she misspoke. Except then she adds onto her statement and says it wasn’t her who won the money at the casino but her cousin who won the money at the casino… Lawyer had to drop the client at this point.
To make matters worse, the 25K she paid him sat in his escrow account for a while because it was obtained fraudulently (unsurprisingly). I don’t believe he got the total sum in the end and had to go to court, but the public face of the crime was valuable in terms of advertising. The embezzler got f***ed pretty hard as tax evasion was also involved, not surprisingly.
54. Suspicious re-enactment
I’m a union rep, not a lawyer. One of our guys “fell and hurt his back” and was out on disability for an extended time period. Employer likes to send private eyes to check on people on disability and had video of him pressure washing a church. We go into a meeting with HR and it goes like this.
We walk in, him slowly and wincing. We sit. HR guy asks how he injured his back. He proceeds to stand up, say “I’ll show you” and throws himself on the floor then starts writhing in agony. Myself and HR guy just looked at each other blankly for the 2 minutes this went on. He was fired.
55. The crucial details
Opposing counsel: Isn’t it true you hit Victim in the face with a brick? Client: No. Marcus hit him with the brick. I hit him in the back with a piece of wood.
56. Gold digger
Our client was a home health care worker for the elderly and home bound. One of her clients left his estate to her when he passed away, about a year after she was hired. The surviving family was pissed, and sued her for undue influence, etc. From everything our client said, they just got along really well.
She quit working for her company to care for him full time, they went on small trips together, and were together every day. In contrast, the surviving family was only a great niece who lived several states away and hadn’t spoken with the deceased in a decade prior to his death.
So we thought we had a legit case of a man expressing his appreciation for the woman who cared for him in the last two years of his life. Towards the end of the deceased’s life, he began making plans to change his will and leave his property to our client. In several produced emails, she “joked” that they should just get married and avoid the hassle.
Cue the accusations that she’s a gold digger, etc. So we stress to her that they’re going to come at her from this angle and she needs to be prepared. Before her first deposition, we prep our client for days. She is a little out there, and her demeanor in general is rather off putting, so we went above and beyond in depo prep. There was nothing we didn’t ask her a hundred different ways and times.
First ten minutes of the deposition, our client is asked about her marital history. She states she’s been married three times, which we knew. She then goes on to say that SHE HAS BEEN ENGAGED ELEVEN TIMES BUT ALWAYS BROKE IT OFF BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO SUPPORT HER LIFESTYLE.
To top it off, she states that while she’s never been arrested, she did spend two weeks in jail for contempt for refusing to obey a judge’s orders and hiding evidence in a previous lawsuit. She spends the rest of the next 16 hours (two days) alternating between arguing that she doesn’t remember basic information like her phone number and insulting opposing counsel and calling him names.
Multiple times during breaks and such we ask her what is going on, tell her to calm down, review everything we went over to no avail. Finally I end up in the restroom at the same time with her, and watch her pop a handful of pills for her “anxiety.” JFC. Ever watch a $4 million case go up in flames because your client is crazy? It was a rough day and that b**** still owes me $10k.
57. A trial mix-up
Not a lawyer but I was in court to testify on another case. Accused is pleading guilty and judge tells him to allocute and describe the crime. After the defendant gives a detailed confession the judge glances at the paperwork and says “Mr. So and So, that’s not what you are accused of.” The guy groans and says “Oh, that’s the other county.”
58. Prize winner
My dad worked for many years as a top dog in HR for the USPS. They had a guy who was on disability for years claiming back injury (said he couldn’t even stand up straight). Anyways the Postal Inspectors got involved and sent him a letter saying he was randomly chosen to win a bunch of exercise equipment.
The catch? All he had to do was show up at a location and let them film him using the equipment for an oversees ad. Guy shows up and they got him on row machines, versa climbers, treadmills, you name it. Needless to say the video was brought into evidence and my dad said you could see the defense lawyers jaw drop when the video was played.
59. Courtroom love
I was the prosecutor… there was this very convoluted theft case where the repairman at a construction site was taking vehicles, doing unauthorized repairs, then putting liens on the vehicles when the owners didn’t pay. When the lawyer who executed this scheme for him showed up to court, one of my witnesses said, “What’s his girlfriend doing here?” I said, “Excuse me?” And he said, “Yeah, that’s his girlfriend.”
Sure enough, on direct examination, she mentioned nothing about being his girlfriend. She was just his civil attorney. I absolutely murdered her on cross and she lost all credibility. I even had a “Law & Order” moment where I practically screamed, “And you didn’t think it was important for these 12 citizens to know you were the defendant’s girlfriend in order for them to decide if you were telling the truth?!” I got objected to, it was sustained, I said, “Withdrawn,” and sat the f*** down.
60. Glad to lose
Child custody case when I was a newbie. Mom was giving child up for adoption and my client was suing for custody. My man failed to mention that he had a serious issue with meth. Mom knew how f***ed up they both were and that’s why she was trying to get the baby out of the situation. Only case I ever had that I’m happy I lost.
61. Just for the views
[My client didn’t tell me] that he filmed his offences for his youtube channel. The cops didn’t even know, a witness brought it up on day three of a trial. It was a nice quick change of plea that afternoon after the other lawyers found this startling new evidence online. You have to be careful with what you write on the internet! (Now just watch this confession come back to bite me…)
Not me, but my dad represented a guy in a civil case. He doesn’t normally do criminal law, but in this instance the question of a forged signature came up, and his client lied, saying he didn’t forge it. My dad was very clear in explaining that admitting to him wouldn’t land him in jail, it would just allow him to build a better defense, but he still denied forgery, and so my dad rolled with it.
He said his case was completely cut up once it came out that yes, in fact, his client did forge the signature. Guys and gals, your lawyers aren’t a snitch, they’re trying to get you the best possible result. Always be honest to your lawyer. Especially before you get to court.
63. A ruined marriage
Not my client, but I was defending against a loss of Consortium claim. Basically “Because of my wife’s injuries our relationship suffered and my sex life wasn’t as great so you owe me for causing me to lose my wife’s companionship.” So in my interrogatories I asked the standard “have you been convicted of a felony” question. The wife said no. The husband said no.
I also asked if they had ever been separated or filed a restraining order. Wife said no. Husband said no. Standard stuff. I ran my criminal background check. Not only had they been separated at the time of the accident, but they had been separated for a year because the wife been convicted of a felony.
And not just a felony! She had been convicted of a violent felony for violating a restraining order filed by her husband against her… by stabbing him with a knife! Needless to say, I won that part of the case, and the underlying tort claim once the Jury heard about that.
64. The perfect shot
[My client didn’t tell me] that she moonlights as an Instagram influencer which features boudoir and sexually suggestive photos, shows photos of her riding horses and frolicking in the wild, all the while she is claiming a severe spine injury that is debilitating to her and crying during testimony.
Over immediate objections, all counsels had to go in chambers with a judge and go over each photo on her profile one by one to see whether its admissible or prejudicial. Knocked a few of them out completely because they were way too sexual, and had to edit down the sexualization in others.
To be fair, in some of the very photos defence wanted to use against her, upon “enhance!” it can be seen that she was wearing a back brace, but the jury was already tainted by that point.
65. On the run
Client was an escaped convict (homicide conviction), captured after 20 years on the run. Client failed to tell me about this and then didn’t understand that, in a case with no witnesses where client’s credibility was absolutely critical, life of 20 years and the lies necessary to perpetuate it reduced client’s credibility to somewhere less than zero.
66. Quickest deliberation ever
Not a lawyer, just the trial tech support. It was a case about conversion (taking of someone else’s property) between in-laws. Opponent was a lawyer and represented himself in the case, asking for $20k+ in damages against his in-law (a school bus driver) who housed him and her sister for 2 years when times got tough.
He got belligerent one night and pushed our client’s daughter and her boyfriend, so they kicked him out, and gave him multiple opportunities to come get his stuff, which he never did. CCTV shows his truck driving by the residence, slowing down, and then driving off.
While in court, he’s trying to damage our client’s reputation saying she used to live “up on the mountain growing weed with her husband.” Testimony came out that the lawyer grew his own weed prior to living with our client and that they had smoked together.
Redirect examination, final question from him, “Was my weed any good?” End of trial, 14 minute deliberation, complete defense verdict, $0 reward. Court staff said it was their new record for the fastest deliberation for their courtroom, so at least something was achieved that day.
A client didn’t tell me she had an abortion. I was representing her for an Order of Protection (OP). Her ex-boyfriend went with her to get the abortion. Shortly thereafter, she ghosted him. He was never violent or threatening towards her. The legal basis for the OP was harassment.
However, in light of the abortion his repeated phone calls and text messages seemed reasonable. He was trying to understand what happened and make sure she was okay. Clearly something went very wrong in their relationship if she immediately cut him out of her life like that.
68. Not my dog
Not me, but a former colleague. She was representing a plaintiff in a dog-bite case. The defendant’s defense was that he didn’t know his dog was vicious. When he took the stand, the defendant basically said “It couldn’t have been my dog that bit her. If it were my dog, he’d have ripped her face off.”
69. Multimillion dollar property
It’s not really a detail he failed to bring up but rather lied about. Little legal note, adverse possession is based on being in sole and exclusive possession of a piece or parcel of land without the permission of the owner over a certain time period thereby allowing you to claim rights over it.
The client had all the factors down, all the witness statements checked and prepped and prepared. The issue concerned a very very valuable multimillion dollar property. The guys goes on the witness stand and says he DID have permission, changing his whole story and going against the witness statement and dealing a fatal blow to his case. Palm. On face.
70. Caught right-handed
Witness said client was right-handed. Client was taking notes with his right hand and switched hands while the jury looked over at him. Another client stood and slow clapped during DA’s rebuttal close like he was watching an orchestra. Misbehaving or just being plain weird in court is the quickest way to change a jury’s mind about you, regardless of the facts.
71. Online confessions
From my lawyer who wanted to illustrate why social media was bad in family law cases… There was a client who was divorcing his wife and insisted he’d been honest and told everything that needed to be said. Opposing counsel showed up with giant poster-size print outs of his Facebook posts saying his ex “needed to be shot”, she was “gonna get what was coming to her”, and that he’d “clean her out”.
While he wasn’t actually planning a murder, he got f***king wrecked in the divorce agreement by the judge for that. I was already on team “Facebook doesn’t need to hear my opinions on other people” but that humorously reminded me that everything we say online is permanent.
72. Wife doesn’t know yet
While I was an intern in law school we had a guy sue the government for injury in a car accident. Long story short he wrote a 12 page note that was a huge part of the case and included parts where he threatened the lives of the attorneys and said some other insane stuff. (It was in evidence and fully allowed in the trial. No hearsay issues.)
Day one, opening argument of an estimated week-long trial, attorneys for the state brought up the note and OC immediately asked to approach the judge. They asked the government if they could not talk about the note because “his wife doesn’t know about the stuff said in it.” The judge turned to OC and said “you thought they would agree not to discuss the note? … Consider settling. Take some time to talk to your client.” And that was the end of the trial.
73. Whiskey shots
Woman up for DUI had blown a .27 when pulled, overstated it was the Officer’s fault. He pulled her over for “no reason” right after she had taken several shots of whiskey and by her logic, she would have been home before that alcohol hit her bloodstream. But since she was ‘detained’ it hit her while on the traffic stop instead of her living room.
74. Old number
Idiot I know was the defendant, not a case I worked. Hearing for theft of deposits taken for work that was never competed. Judge presented screenshots of incriminating texts. Asks defendant if it’s his number. Defendant answers “no, I haven’t had that number for at least 6 months now.” Defendant immediately loses case and is ordered to pay extra damages for wasting court time.
75. Missing client
I was representing a guy in a criminal clinic back in law school. The case we got was maintaining a drug house, or something like that, and I was going to get it dropped because those are very hard to prove and he was in a car. I was trying to contact him for days before going to the prosecutor to get this dealt with. I finally got a hold of his mom and she told me she would let him know I called and he would get back to me soon (later that day when he got home).
Shocker… I never heard from him. Get to the prosecutor’s office all ready with my arguments on the case feeling confident and get a bombshell dropped on me that he’s been sitting in jail on some huge dealing charge since before I talked to his mom. Wouldn’t do anything with my case until after the dealing was done in case something happened, so that case sat for the whole year.
76. One of two crimes
My girlfriend’s parked car was hit a while back. The driver’s girlfriend was the owner and insured. She was telling insurance that the driver wasn’t an authorized to drive the car. This was news to us and explained why insurance and subrogation had taken so long.
In a pre-court conference yesterday morning, she finally admitted that she was the passenger in the car, to which our attorney said: “Wait – you were IN THE CAR WITH HIM? So either he was authorized and you’ve committed insurance fraud by saying he wasn’t, or you were being kidnapped and forgot to tell us. Both are felonies. Which is it?”
77. Threatening words
Client charged with possession with intent (cocaine). Case had been kicking around for so long we had finally gotten the lab results back on the drugs and it turns out they weren’t drugs. Naturally, I’m feeling pretty good. I explained this to the client as he was having his morning coffee outside the courthouse and we go in.
When we get before the judge, I explain that the results showed my client didn’t actually have drugs and should be good to go. As soon as I do, in the middle of a packed courtroom, my client screams “I’m gonna kill Marco!” He looks at me and then immediately turns back to the judge and goes “I’m just joking, your honour. Marco’s gonna be fine.”
78. Denying adultery
We were on the other side so I can only imagine his lawyer’s reaction. Dude tried to deny adultery, said his new relationship only commenced after the agreed separation date. Lawyer defended the action on this basis, we let him put in detailed and probably quite expensive defences.
We lodged a copy of the birth notice he and his mistress had published in the local paper for their baby, born considerably less than 9 months after the agreed separation date. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what was really going on, so the jury figured that one out pretty quickly.
79. Caught on tape
It’s a minor one but still makes me laugh. Police officer here, in Canada. Gave a guy a ticket for running a stop sign ($167). Guy disputes ticket and shows up in court. I give my evidence, pretty conclusive, he did it. I was doing targeted enforcement so all my focus was on the sign, the line, and his tires.
He gets up and says he has proof he didn’t do it. He says that for whatever reason he was live-streaming his drive and it showed him coming to a complete stop. Judge asked him to repeat himself. He did. Judge confirmed that he had a recording, that he made himself, on a handheld electronic device, while driving. Yep.
Judge doesn’t ask to see the “footage,” and instead adds on a ticket for use of electronic device while operating a motor vehicle. I remember the moment when it dawned on him that he was admitting to a more serious offence, you could see it on his face. It was glorious.
I’m a lawyer, but this wasn’t my case, although it did happen in my community. There used to be this reality show called “Toy Hunter” or something like that. It was about a guy who travelled around the country buying collectible toys to sell at conventions. One of the episodes involved the Transformers collection of a local guy.
I don’t remember the amount stated on tv, but the total value of his collection was stated at something like five or six figures. When the episode aired, the guy was getting sued for back child support and his “defence” was he was out of work, had no money and no assets worth anything.
Not me, but the lawyer I work with. It was an immigration case. The client was a referral from another lawyer, and he just needed to be accompanied to the visa interview. The guy was nervous the whole time and when the lawyer I work with asks him why he’s like that, he said something along the lines of ”didn’t the other lawyer tell that I was deported?” The lawyer just stood up and left…
Sat on a jury where the defendant claimed his poor peripheral vision lead to him being startled and ultimately assaulting an emergency worker. When called to the stand he navigated through a series a tables and steps in the courtroom that was actually pretty tricky like a champ. His lawyer just put his head down on the table and sighed.
83. No show
I was defending a guy on a show cause for failure to pay child support, he had had surgery and couldn’t work so I got him some extra time to catch up. Court 11am, he calls at 9 wondering where I am. I tell him court is at 11 and he tells me it’s at 9 and I’m an hour away, oops, calendaring mistake maybe.
Nope. Court confirms I’m on at 11, mom has brought another show cause as well as custody and visitation proceedings and client hasn’t told me. So not my fault but hey headin’ to court now! I get there and opposing counsel tells me my client is in jail, judge drug tested him and he showed positive for marijuana and cocaine in the damn courthouse. No, he never paid a single penny of the back or current child support.
84. Jealous friend
Had an attorney malpractice claim where the former client was suing because her attorney didn’t get her anything for a car crash. Turns out she rejected all settlement offers because her best friend had won a multi-million dollar suit after she broke her hand in a car crash.
She felt her injury was worse and that she deserved more. Turns out her best friend was a renowned pianist and breaking her hand essentially ended her career.
85. Pushy parent
Not an attorney, but my Mom alleviated my attorney’s ability to make a case by telling judge I was guilty. At age 18 I appeared in court in reckless driving charge in a very small town in Virginia (United States), where I had been pulled over the month before doing 91mph in a 55mph zone.
Per advice of everyone I talked to I invested $1500 of my hard earned money into having a local lawyer keep me from losing my license. The lady I hired to represent me said she worked out a deal … We just needed to appear before judge. When my turn came, judge asked how I pled…
My lawyer said “not guilty” and was getting ready to suggest terms she worked out w prosecutor when my mom stood up in court and yelled that I was definitely guilty and needed to learn a lesson. Judge agreed w my mom … Reckless driving ticket; 6 points of license and 12mo suspended sentence. Thanks Mom!!
86. Maintaining innocence
I used to work as an Assistant for a Criminal Defense Attorney, and you wouldn’t believe how many lie to their attorneys, probably most of his clients lied about some details, whether for embarrassment reasons or to maintain their ‘innocence.’ It’s all going to come out in court, so you might as well make sure that your lawyer is as prepared as they possibly can be and has all the facts before going in there. You don’t want the prosecutor to have more details than your attorney.
87. Favourite cases
I had a messy breakup with an ex that resulted in some jail time and a restraining order (for him). After he got out of jail he started appearing at my work and home. I did what most people with court orders do and called the police. The first time he had taken off before the police arrived but was arrested the second time for breaching his terms.
About six months later I got notice that I was being sued for causing him intentional emotional distress. He also went before justice of the peace to have me charged with criminal harassment. I hired a lawyer and gave him everything I had to show that he was court ordered to stay away from me, specifically my home and workplace.
My lawyer said it was one of his favourite cases because of the reactions it received in court. He had forgotten to mention to his lawyer that he was ordered to stay away from me. The criminal case was dismissed after disclosure and the civil case was dismissed after he failed to show. People are dumb.
88. Caught in action
A girl in my class had a boyfriend that committed a burglary in a store and was caught at the scene by the police. But this donkey denied it. He claimed he was home with his girlfriend and she went under oath during the trial claiming the boyfriend was at home with her. The problem was:
The police caught him in action
Surveillance camera showing him clearly during the burglary
DNA and fingerprints were secured at the scene
So the girlfriend got a heavy fine and probation for the lie.
89. Pointless patent case
My friend’s firm was far into a patent case when client revealed they didn’t actually have the right to bring the patent cases. No rights to the patent. Millions spent on both sides. Oops.
I was representing a guy in removal proceedings (deportation). We actually had a strong form of relief… All we really had to do was win at the bond hearing. Client had a previous DUI, which was the only negative factor for winning on bond. After repeated meetings with my client where he tells me he’s going to AA meetings (this judge likes to see that as part of “rehabilitation”), the day of the hearing comes and I start my line of direct examination (which we had rehearsed repeatedly.) I ask him “Have you been attending AA meetings while you have been in ICE custody?” My client: “No”.
91. Golf club gossip
I work at a country club. One of the members owned a moving and storage company. One of the caddies worked for this company and was suing the owner and claiming he got injured in the warehouse and couldn’t work. Seemed like a simple loss of earnings case but for one twist.
During this ordeal, the guy was actively caddying (carrying two bags) at the same country club that the owner was a member at. The owner saw him on the golf course and effectively caught him redhanded. You wouldn’t believe how quickly the case was dismissed.
92. A terrible admission
I’m not a lawyer but I had a Business Law class and our professor was the Municipal Court judge and she definitely had some stories. One of them that really stuck out to me was that there was a guy in her court one day that had almost ran over a bunch of people in a Chic-Fil-A parking lot.
While my professor was grilling him, he kept on saying that he had the right of way. Even though the cop clocked him going 50 mph in a parking lot. When asked what would have happened if he had actually hit those people, the guy proceed to tell the judge that he wished he had killed them because there would be less annoying 20 year old girls in the world. He straight up told a judge that he was trying to kill them.
93. An open secret
Not a lawyer but I’m a family law legal assistant, we had a client once fail to reveal that they were a high profile drug dealer. We had to fire the client when the other side revealed transcribed video surveillance of them dealing drugs in front of the children. It’s amazing what people think they can hide.
94. Insurance fraud
My family member was the judge in this case. Airport shuttle van got rear ended on the way to the airport. Minor accident with minimal damages to the vehicles, but the 4 passengers in the van filed a multi million dollar injury lawsuit against the driver that rear ended them, all claiming to have suffered debilitating spine injuries.
Except there was one person in the shuttle who wasn’t in on the lawsuit: the guy who was driving it. The defence subpoenaed him and he testified that one guy in the van had explained to everyone else after they got hit how he knew a chiropractor who would say they had major injuries if you told him this and that, and they could all get rich off of it. On top of that, the guy who came up with the scheme had a criminal record for… insurance fraud. Case dismissed.
95. Dressing for the occasion
A good friend of mine is a lawyer. I’ll never forget him saying he was defending an individual for aggravated burglary. The defendant swore it wasn’t him to my friend of course so they took it to trial. You can’t just take such a severe charge lying down – they were going to contest it.
First day the defendant walks in wearing a hoodie, so happened it was the same hoodie as the footage they played of the burglary that day. I don’t know what hoodie it was but it was a pretty unique one is what I was told. Of course he changed his plea after that. A little too late, though!
96. A repetitive feud
I had a boundary dispute case where the client and his neighbor were fighting over where the property line was located. The client failed to tell me that he had gone to court on this exact issue with the prior owner of his neighbor’s property and lost, which made the property line a settled matter, which could not be litigated again.
I found out when the other side filed a motion to dismiss our case.
97. Swearing innocence
My biggest thing is when clients swear they didn’t do it, that they had nothing to do with anything and don’t understand how someone could think they were involved. Then they confess on a jail phone call (DAs and officers DO listen to those!) or I get the evidence of them on camera doing the thing they “absolutely didn’t do.”
You don’t have to tell me you did it, but don’t lie to me. It tanks your credibility to me for no gain and the worse the lie the harder it is for me to take my thing you say seriously after that. Managing to fool me isn’t going to win your case any points! I wish more clients understood that.
98. A history of crime
I was in court one morning and the judge was questioning the defendant. She asked him for some detail of his crime and he said “Oh no I didn’t do that THIS time. I did that the OTHER time.” His lawyer was facepalming madly and the whole court burst into laughter.
99. Slip and fall case
Not an attorney, but I have worked in plaintiff’s personal injury for a while. We were representing a client for a slip and fall case. He had a decent amount of damages – shattered ankle, transported to the hospital in an ambulance, few surgeries, wage loss, etc. and the liability seemed clear. He was wearing tennis shoes, walking his dog when he tripped over someone’s water hose on the sidewalk.
We signed the client and started requesting all his medical records to start a demand. We get his records from his PCP and in the chart notes he admitted multiple times to tripping over his dog’s leash. We dropped him after that. He was traveling in Europe at the time and we never heard from him again.
100. A close call
Not a lawyer, but a deputy that works in the courts. We had plea deals going on one day, and this guy was in front of the judge pleading guilty for possession of crack. Right after the judge sentenced him to a couple years probation, he asked the guy how long has he been using drugs.
The guy says “I have been using drugs for about 10 years, but I have only been selling them for about…” He didn’t finish his sentence because his attorney grabbed the mic so fast he almost yanked it off the table. In the end the judge didn’t change his ruling, but I could hear the attorney going off on his client in the hallway after the hearing.