‘The Simpsons’: The Top 10 Court Cases of Lionel Hutz

He often even appeared in court ‘as a lawyer’
‘The Simpsons’: The Top 10 Court Cases of Lionel Hutz

We only had seven short years on The Simpsons with Lionel Hutz, Attorney at Law, who was voiced to perfection by the late Phil Hartman, whose tragic death in 1998 resulted in the character being retired from the show. In that time, however, we were fortunate enough to witness some of the greatest trials in television history. 

Although Hutz did take a few other jobs — as the Simpsons babysitter, running a real-estate agency, etc. — his best (and worst) work was done in the courtroom arguing in front of a judge (“often as a lawyer!”). And so, ladies and gentlemen of this virtual jury, we now present to you the Top 10 Court Cases of Lionel Hutz, aka Miguel Sanchez, aka Dr. Nguyen Van Phuoc, all of which are sure to be significant case law someday.

Bart Simpson v. Charles Montgomery Burns

Episode: “Bart Gets Hit by a Car,” Season 2, Episode 10

Charge: Trauma caused by accident

Who He’s Representing: Bart Simpson

His Argument: “Doctors are idiots.” 

Verdict: It’s worth noting that this is Hutz’s first appearance on The Simpsons. As such, he comes off as more of a smarmy Saul Goodman-type who knows how to work the system than the bumbling attorney he would later become. In fact, he uses a lot of tricks here, including bringing in quack doc Dr. Nick (also in his first appearance). In the end, though, he loses the case when Marge comes clean about Bart’s injuries on the stand.

Bart and Lisa Simpson v. ‘Sideshow’ Bob Terwilliger

Episode: “Sideshow Bob Roberts,” Season 6, Episode 5

Charge: Electoral fraud

Who He’s Representing: Bart and Lisa Simpson

His Argument: “Kids, help.”

Verdict: Hutz doesn’t do much here, but he still wins because Bart and Lisa are able to trick Bob into admitting his fraudulent activities.

Bart Simpson v. Krusty the Clown

Episode: “‘Round Springfield,” Season 6, Episode 22

Charge: Physical trauma from metal bit in Krusty O’s cereal

Who He’s Representing: Bart Simpson

His Argument: “For a case this complex, I had to assemble a crack team of lawyers: Ronald Shaporo, trial attorney, and Albert Dershman, who can hold three billiard balls in his mouth.”

Verdict: We don’t get to see Hutz in courtroom action here, but with his team of lawyers, Krusty agrees to settle the case for $100,000 (although after attorney fees, Bart is left with just $500).

The City of Springfield v. Bart Simpson

Episode: “Bart the Murderer,” Season 3, Episode 4

Charge: Murder of Seymour Skinner 

Who He’s Representing: When Principal Skinner goes missing, the local mafia pins his suspected murder on Bart. The Simpsons once again reach out to Hutz, who happily takes the high-profile case.

His Argument: “Lionel Hutz, court-appointed attorney. I’ll be defending you on the charge of... Murder One! Wow! Even if I lose, I’ll be famous!”

Verdict: Bart unfortunately has plenty of enemies, so Hutz has a lot working against him. He honestly doesn’t seem to do a bad job trying to prove Bart’s innocence. The case is ultimately dismissed, but only because Skinner shows up alive and completely absolves Bart of any wrongdoing. Without a decision, Hutz is left asking the judge, “Do I still get paid?”

Homer and Marge Simpson v. Charles Montgomery Burns

Episode: “Burns’ Heir,” Season 5, Episode 18

Charge: Custody of Bart Simpson

Who He’s Representing: Homer and Marge Simpson 

His Argument: “I’ve argued in front of every judge in this state — often as a lawyer.”

Verdict: Hutz loses when Mr. Burns somehow convinces the court that Bart is his biological son, but the Simpsons eventually get custody of Bart back when he leaves Mr. Burns. We also learn that Hutz has an affinity for Orange Julius and now has a (temporary) side business in “expert shoe repair.”

LaCoste v. Freddy Quimby

Episode: “The Boy Who Knew Too Much,” Season 5, Episode 20

Charge: Assault

Who He’s Representing: LaCoste, a waiter allegedly beaten by Freddy Quimby

His Argument: “Ladies and gentlemen, I’m going to prove to you not only that Freddy Quimby is guilty, but that he is also innocent of not being guilty.” 

Verdict: Hutz plays it mostly by the book, with his expert witness being Dr. Hibbert, who is at least more legit than Dr. Nick. Throughout most of the trial, it appears Hutz is going to win anyway since Quimby has powerful allies, but when Quimby’s temper slips out on the witness stand and he threatens the jury (which Homer serves on), the case suddenly shifts. Hutz still wins, though, when Bart shows up as a surprise witness, revealing he saw the waiter cause his own injuries.

Homer Simpson v. The Frying Dutchman

Episode: “New Kid on the Block,” Season 4, Episode 8

Charge: False advertising

Who He’s Representing: Homer Simpson

His Argument: “Mr. Simpson, this is the most blatant case of fraudulent advertising since my suit against the film, The NeverEnding Story.”

Verdict: When he’s thrown out of The Frying Dutchman for eating too much, Homer sues in a pretty open-and-shut case of “all-you-can-eat” false advertising. With the help of an all-overweight jury, Hutz wins when The Frying Dutchman proposes to settle the case by letting Homer eat all he can but as a freak labeled “Bottomless Pete: Nature’s Cruelest Mistake” and Homer agrees.

Chester J. Lampwick v. Itchy and Scratchy Studios

Episode: “The Day the Violence Died,” Season 7, Episode 18

Charge: Plagiarism

Who He’s Representing: Chester J. Lampwick

His Argument: “Well, your Honor, we’ve got plenty of hearsay and conjecture, those are kinds of evidence.” (Another choice Hutz line: “If I hear ‘objection’ and ‘sustained’ one more time today, I think I’m going to scream!”)

Verdict: Hutz seems primed to lose but wins once again due to last-minute evidence provided by Bart. Possibly Hutz’s greatest win ever, with Lampwick getting $800 billion. This case would’ve made Hutz a very rich man.

The Devil v. Homer Simpson

Episode: “Treehouse of Horror IV,” Season 5, Episode 5

Charge: Breach of contract

Who He’s Representing: Homer Simpson

His Argument: “What is a contract? Webster’s defines it as ‘an agreement under the law which is unbreakable.’ Which is ‘unbreakable’! … Excuse me, I must use the restroom.”

Verdict: The Simpsons hire Hutz once more with a guarantee that their case will be “won in 30 minutes or your pizza’s free.” His confidence is high going into the case — “I watched Matlock in a bar last night. The sound wasn’t on, but I think I got the gist of it” — but Hutz quickly unravels when he accidentally argues against his client. He quickly abandons the trial (out the bathroom window no less), but he technically wins after the Simpsons manage to prove their case without him.

Kwik-E-Mart v. Marge Simpson

Episode: “Marge in Chains,” Season 4, Episode 21

Charge: Shoplifting

Who He’s Representing: Marge Simpson

His Argument: “Oh, I am, am I? Is that what you think? Well, if that is what you think, I have something to tell you. Something that may shock and discredit you. And that thing is as follows: I’m not wearing a tie at all.” (Overall, this episode contains Hutz’s best lines, including his lament about Judge Snyder presiding over the case — who had it in for him ever since he repeatedly ran over Snyder’s son; we also discover that Hutz is a recovering alcoholic and his sponsor is the late, great David Crosby.) 

Verdict: Despite sowing reasonable doubt, Hutz loses and Marge goes to jail.

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