The 5 Worst Legal Defenses Actually Attempted in Court
We live in a litigious society, a situation exacerbated by the frustration dummies feel by not knowing what "litigious" means. So they get angry and sue. They see their neighbors receiving million-dollar settlements for getting their heads stuck in the toilet at Chili's and they think they want a piece of that sexy lawsuit money pie, so they go out and slip in a puddle of semen at the sperm bank and try to cash in. It's sad, really. But clearly we can't solve that problem with a simple comedy article on a simple website run by simple Amish comedians. Verily, thou canst only read this list of shitteth defenses used in real lawsuits and mayhaps belch forth a guffaw or two. I know shit about the Amish, what an awful metaphor to use in my intro here. Good thing it's over.
Mountain Dew Dissolves Mice
One of the most popular scam lawsuits of the last few decades is the ol' "look what disgusting biomatter I found in my food/drink/Arby's." We've all heard of someone finding a cyst in their McChicken, a worm in their salad, Snooki resin on their fries, whatever. Rarely, however, do you hear how these cases play out beyond the few that are exposed as fraud right off the bat, like that lady with the finger in her chili. 'Member her? Who keeps a finger handy to slip into chili? Crazy broad.
Arguably a good defense to any of these kinds of cases would be to say that the accuser is a liar, possibly with pants all aflame. Pepsi decided that argument wasn't succinct enough when a man sued them, claiming he'd found a mouse carcass adrift in his can of Mountain Dew. Their defense was that, from the time the can was sealed to when the man opened it, 15 months had past. And a mouse carcass would have dissolved all to a sludgy, gelatinous goo-like mucous plug at the bottom of the can in that amount of time.
Experts who have studied the effect of citric acid on bones and teeth agree that, yes indeed, a whole mouse submerged for that long probably would have mostly dissolved, but the collagen would have definitely stayed around to ensure that you'd get a big, thick mouthful of terror. It just wouldn't look like a mouse.
A veterinarian testified that the mouse wasn't even born at the time the can was filled and had clearly died, in the air, before someone put it in the can, meaning the lawsuit was a fraud and the jelly-mouse defense wasn't entirely necessary. Interestingly, some experts also claim that a single can of Mountain Dew probably could not jelly a mouse because the amount of acid in a small can isn't enough -- it would need to be in a vat of the stuff for that to happen -- meaning Pepsi made up a worse lie to cover its own ass than the truth of what happened, because derp.
Kung Fu Movies Kause Krime
Let's roleplay for this one. I'm already wearing my unitard. You play the role of a cop in Portland, Oregon. You're patrolling the mean streets of Portland, picking up litter and quelling hipsters when they start giddily shouting about their Instagrams and Pinterests and squared fours. Then, from the murk of a dismal Portland night, you catch the scent of the worst kind of Portlandian nogoodnik -- a graffito tagger. Shhh! It's OK, we're just roleplaying, don't panic.
As an officer of the law, you have to act. So you chase down the graffiti baron and tackle him, tase him five times in the back, and maybe bash his face into the pavement once or twice. Good job, Johnny Law. You've protected another building from the scourge of spray paint.
In real life, something very similar to this happened, except for how the guy who was chased, tased, and beaten wasn't really a criminal at all and had just been mistaken for a graffiti artist. Oops! At the trial, after the arresting officer lied about seeing his victim running with some other hooligans, lawyers for the police department busted out the big guns -- if this "innocent" man who hadn't actually committed a crime was so innocent, then how come he owns kung fu movies? Hmmm?
In retrospect, we can assume that the judge and jury and stenographer and probably everyone within a 100-yard radius had an automatic panic shit upon being confronted with this question. But after the liberal application of some wet wipes and new shorts, it was determined that trying to establish a person's guilt based on their penchant for watching Jackie Chan films would thenceforth be known as the Dumb Shit Maneuver and would generally be banned from American courtrooms.
Too Ugly to Harass
Sexual harassment is an often overlooked crime, one that is even tolerated in some environments and that sucks big, saggy tits. Right in the ass. Luckily, more and more victims are standing up for their rights and confronting their harassers, as well as seeking legal help when it gets out of hand. Such was the case with Priscilla Agosto, a 23-year-old former secretary from a New York realty firm whom the story I'm linking needlessly identifies as a lesbian, just in case you were curious. The media love lesbians. I conduct all my foreign press interviews in my lesbian persona, who was raised in Madrid and discovered the pleasures of other women at an all busty girl's school. Good stuff.
Agosto filed a suit against her employers after a long, drawn-out process of harassment that ranged from requests for oral sex to men exposing themselves to her to a cash offer to watch her with another woman. She tolerated all of this until a co-worker actually slapped her in the face. The boss dealt with this by telling the slapper to buy Agosto lunch and apologize. That method of employee conflict resolution is found in the manual between free Post-it notes when someone shits on your desk and a new MP3 player when someone kills and eats your dog.
After the suit was filed, it became clear that a defense was going to be needed to handle the mountain of accusations leveled against the company and its employees. The owner of the firm stepped up to the plate and took a big, shitty swing for the bleachers that missed terribly with this pearl: "Who would touch her? She's an ugly girl anyway."
Cracked's legal department went over this defense, and in their professional opinion, they determined that this argument is best described as "fucktarded." But only insofar as it completely misses the mark in every way and oddly reinforces the case against you, rather than supports any of your own claims. It's like if O.J. had claimed that he was innocent because his wife was way too stabbable to bother stabbing.
If you know a lot of liars, like really prolific liars, you'll notice that they have a predictable approach to their lies. Because when it comes to lying, there are a couple of really good ways to pull them off. One is to be an honest and trustworthy person, someone so honest and so trustworthy that when you finally do pull a story straight out of your ass, people never question it. The other approach, the one that prolific liars tend to rely on since no one trusts them, is to finger-bang credulity in front of its parents with a smile. For whatever reason, accomplished liars will push the envelope with a lie eventually, and they will do so based on the belief, misplaced or otherwise, that their story is so ridiculous that it must clearly be true. Because you can't make this stuff up, folks. Or the truth is stranger than fiction. Or if they were lying, they'd make up a more believable story.
So Jon Goldin was a helicopter pilot with the NYPD. During a random drug screening, Goldin tested positive for cocaine and as a result lost his job. Goldin tried to fight this in court, insisting that he was totally straight edge and had never done cocaine in his life. So how does a straight-edge cop test positive for some of the ol' Bolivian Marching Powder? Mixed-up test? Bad batch of cola? Accidentally touched Ke$ha? Close! His official defense was that he must have ingested it, totally by accident, while performing oral sex on his girlfriend.
I'm going to use this entire paragraph to once again state that this cop's defense to testing positive for drugs was to say that he must have gotten it from going down on his girlfriend, because her vagina is apparently the back of a toilet tank in a 1980s LA nightclub.
Unsurprisingly, Goldin's kickass defense didn't go over with a judge, who I like to think gave him a fist bump for the effort before letting him know he was still totally and completely fired from the force.
Dozens of cops testified that Goldin was a good guy who never even drank coffee, let alone any booze when he was out at bars, and certainly never would have used drugs. However, it does stand to reason that the man didn't need to be getting high on coffee or blitzed on Jagerbombs if his girlfriend's special flower was laced with cocaine all the time.
You ever shoot a guy and then have to think of a clever reason to explain how you couldn't have shot that guy? In some circles this is called an alibi, but there is kind of a distinction here. An alibi isn't necessarily a reason why you couldn't have physically done it, it's evidence that it simply wasn't you who did it. You were literally somewhere else doing something else, people saw you and can vouch for you, that's your alibi. If you have no alibi, you can still come up with an excuse for why you couldn't have shot that guy. For instance, maybe you have no fingers. Hard to pull a trigger with no fingers. Maybe you're blind. You probably suck as a marksman if you're blind. And hey, maybe you're just super fatty bo-blatty. So super fatty bo-blatty that the very idea of you committing the crime that these slim, svelte police and lawyers are accusing you of is laughable. We call this (wait for it) the Fatty Bo-Blatty defense.
In Florida, because of course, Edward Ates was arrested and tried for the murder of his son-in-law. According to testimony, the son-in-law was shot from a staircase. Prosecution had evidence that Ates had his sister lie about the time he arrived at her house the day of the shooting, had bought a book on how to build a silencer, and had an Internet search history including pages on lock picking and how to commit the perfect murder. Ates countered this with the defense that, being 285 pounds, he clearly wouldn't have had the energy to both climb a staircase and shoot someone once he got up there.
It took a jury two days of deliberation to decide that they had enough faith in a fat man's ability to climb stairs without his heart exploding out of his chest like an alien embryo to have him convicted of the crime. As a final insult, Ates was required to pay for a second seat on a plane after his trial when he was flown back to Florida for sentencing.
That last part isn't true, but can't you imagine it being true? It so could have been true. Like if prisoners bought their own plane tickets. Whatever. He probably slimmed down in jail. Poor food there, I hear.