Despite the gripping drama of shows like Law & Order and Matlock, there's a reason most people dread jury duty: real-life court proceedings are as boring as watching mushrooms fight. Usually, anyway -- every now and then, our normally mundane courtrooms will explode with Hollywood spectacle, resulting in real-world cases that seem more like the plot of a John Grisham movie:
5 The Trial for an Attempted Murder Reveals an Intricate Plot by the Victim to Get Himself Killed
Two British teens we'll call John and Mark met in an alleyway by a Manchester mall one day in 2003. By all accounts, the two friends were tighter than stone butt cheeks, which is why everyone was surprised when Mark stabbed the everloving shit out of John in a vicious murder attempt. Investigators couldn't make any sense of the incident, least of all John, who told police so many different stories about why his friend might have tried to kill him that it began to sound like a Hollywood pitch meeting.
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"... and then twist, he thought he was murdering my evil twin and then twist,
his mom's yoga instructor was faking the coma and then twist ... "
The Plot Twist:
That's actually not too far from the truth. After being fed multiple different stories by John and spending months in the dark, prosecutors finally uncovered the monkey-jugglingly insane truth behind what happened: John had tricked Mark into trying to murder him by posing online as a middle-aged female spy in the British Secret Service, who promised Mark sex, a multimillion-dollar job, and the entire DVD set of James Bond Jr. if he could prove his willingness to kill for the organization by stabbing his friend John to death. And that's only a taste of the crazy. Not only had the 14-year-old John turned Mark's life into a Shyamalan spy thriller but he had been duping Mark for some time with other online aliases and looney-tunes schemes. Why? Because John was hopelessly in love with Mark.
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"I'm telling you: when I'm with him, I just feel the L-word."
Before getting Mark to stab him, John romanced him vicariously through a fake Internet girlfriend named Rachel, for whom Mark fell with the intensity of Manti Te'o. John then introduced himself to Mark as the nonexistent Rachel's brother, and the two became friends. As if that weren't crazy enough, John then pretended to be a psychotic stalker named Kevin, who threatened to murder John and Rachel (who, remember, is a person who does not exist) unless Mark performed sex acts in front of a webcam, which Mark did. Finally, realizing that Mark would never love him the way he loved John's pretend sister, John cooked up the spy story -- because if you can't make someone love you, tricking them into murdering you is apparently the next best thing.
Mark, who at this point was running uncontested in the "Most Gullible Human Being to Have Ever Existed" competition, didn't know about any of this until the evidence was presented in court and John admitted to it. Hopefully, someone thought to record his facial expression at the exact moment of John's confession.
For some inexplicable reason, the judge let John off the hook, although he banned the two teens from ever interacting with each other again and prohibited John from having unsupervised Internet access ... because he likely would've pretended to be Mark's long-lost cousin or something within a few weeks.
But John will return in: License to Catfish.
4 A KKK Leader Hires a Black Civil Rights Lawyer to Defend His Right to Be Racist
In the 1990s, Michael Lowe, the grand dragon of the Texas KKK, was determined to keep the tiny town of Vidor whiter than an albino snowflake on Steve Martin's head. Unsurprisingly, he flipped out when a desegregation project introduced black residents, so Lowe and the other evil Caspers protested the project until their new non-white neighbors relocated. In response, the Texas Commission on Human Rights sought a court order to obtain the KKK's membership list in hopes of finding and prosecuting the Klansmen suspected of racial intimidation. Lowe believed that the court order was a constitutional no-no and sought out the American Civil Liberties Union, because civil rights suddenly became important to him when white people's right to be racist assholes was called into question.
Paul Walsh via Wikimedia Commons
"Hey! We Klansmen have the right to exist without being harassed for the color of our robes!"
The Plot Twist:
The Texas ACLU asked an attorney named Anthony Griffin to take the case, and Griffin dutifully accepted. However, for some reason, nobody realized that Griffin was the chief counsel for the Texas NAACP, which just so happened to be a longtime champion of racially integrated housing. Adding to that acrid irony, Griffin's legal argument would hinge on a Supreme Court ruling that protected the NAACP from having to disclose its membership lists. It was like the "Mirror, Mirror" version of Matthew McConaughey's speech at the end of A Time to Kill -- instead of racists imagining a black victim as white, opponents of blind prejudice needed to imagine the KKK as a black civil rights group.
Pictured: The Matthew McConaughey for Klansmen.
Some of the Texas NAACP's leadership angrily urged Griffin to drop the case, while media outlets such as the Houston Chronicle were going apeshit with the headline "Black Lawyer Giving His All to the Klan." Lowe, the king of Texas racism, had inadvertently orchestrated a gripping drama about a civil rights lawyer asked to choose between an organization that embodied his values and achievements as a lawyer and defending a bunch of white supremacists against a legitimate civil rights violation. We should mention that Lowe and his cohorts heroically made zero effort to hold back their racial slurs, even though Griffin was defending them.
Griffin somehow managed to wolf down that steaming plate of shit-storm, certain that the "rights of people we hate" were worth defending, even at the risk of alienating his colleagues, who booted him out of the NAACP for his troubles. But Griffin successfully defended Lowe and only ever regretted that people had focused so much on the color of his skin and not the quality of his lawyering.
Anthony Griffin via San Marcos Mercury
"YES, THEY DESERVE A TRIAL, AND I HOPE I DO IT WELL!"