A trial can hinge on one simple piece of information.
All it could take for a suspect to walk free or go to jail for the rest of their lives is one single fact.
With this in mind, some lawyers will do their best to make sure that this information is buried, legally and ethically one hopes, and will never be brought up in trial.
However, for this to happen, Lawyers will still need to know this piece of information from their clients, as it otherwise could be brought up by the prosecution, effectively ending the case.
Redditor The-Legendary-Taco was curious to hear from lawyers about times when their clients were not fully transparent with them, which ended up costing them the case, leading them to ask:
"Lawyers of Reddit, what is a detail that your client failed to bring up to you that completely lost you the case?"
The Whole Truth...
"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'."- lizard96golf
Thought She Was Being Clever...
"A buddy of mine case as a public defender."
"A gal was busted on drug charges, and told him she didn't have any drugs on her when they arrested her."
"He thought, ok we'll use that."
"Turns out, she didn't have any drugs on her when they arrested her because she just sold them to an undercover cop."- CheapCigars
Choice Of Clothes Can Make A Difference...
"My house was robbed."
"In addition to all the stuff the thief took, he also stole a bunch of my suits and all of my neck ties."
"I had a big collection, like 100 or so."
"However, the thief left fingerprints on a hard plastic box that I kept spare change in."
"Fast forward 3 months, the thief is caught in the act of robbing another house in the same neighborhood, same detectives on my case and this new theft."
"They fingerprint the guy and the fingerprints match the ones from my house."
"At the thief’s arraignment, I see him stroll in wearing my suit and my tie."
"I tell the district attorney, he says there’s really no way to prove it."
"However, the tie he chose to wear was a one of kind street map of San Francisco and I still had all the documentation to prove it."
"The district attorney’s eyes widen and he informs the judge."
"The judge has the thief placed under arrest again for possession of stolen property."
"The thief’s lawyer was dumbfounded."
"It was a nice end to a rough situation!"- West-Operationsuit and tie johnny bananas GIF by 1st LookGiphy
Never Depend On Technicalities
"Obligatory not my client."
"Company I worked for at the time was doing due diligence before acquiring a small tech startup."
"The COO of the tech startup was a well-liked guy in the company, friendly and outgoing."
"Though we had heard rumblings that the COO was rather hands-on with the work and with female employees."
"Apparently there was a walk-away package proposed to the COO that would let him keep a sizable portion of his post-acquisition bonus because a young woman who worked in their sales department had filed HR complaints against the COO and obtained counsel."
"I sat in on the meeting with the COO and the company's retained lawyers while they grilled him about his contacts with the young woman."
"The COO denied ever having contact with her within the company without multiple other people present, those people said his behavior toward her in the meetings didn't raise any flag."
"The COO emphatically denied having any contact with her outside of work."
"The lawyers asked the question a half-dozen different ways and each time the COO denied any out of work contact."
"Later we meet with the woman and her lawyer with the COO not present."
"Her lawyer gives us a rather graphic card that came with a bouquet of flowers addressed to her from the COO."
"The guy had an account with a florist linked to his credit card."
"When the company-retained lawyers confronted him he said, 'but I never had contact with her'."
"'It's not like I delivered the flowers myself'."
"COO got terminated for cause so no walk-away package."
"At her request the woman was given PTO until after the acquisition then moved to another one of the companies under our umbrella."- GuiltyLawyerseason 5 episode 21 GIFGiphy
Who Exactly Am I Talking To?
"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."- Philosopher422
It's The Little Ones That Get You...
"Minor traffic cases can be the worst for this, believe it or not, because they are short and simple and often times the client isn't there, so if you get blindsided by something critical there's often no chance to consult with them to turn things around."
"I had a simple speeding case, 70mph in a 55."
"No big deal, if she does a driving improvement course they court will usually dismiss or reduce those, since her driving record wasn't bad."
"When I showed up for her, I found out that she had been driving 70 up an unplowed snow lane, to get around all the others cars traveling in the lane that had been plowed because they were driving too slow."
"I didn't know it was even possible to drive 70 on fresh snow."
"The officer stated he'd already cut her a break by not writing the ticket for reckless driving, and the judge politely agreed he didn't feel comfortable reducing it under those circumstances."
"When I called her up after court to confirm, she did, claimed she'd just forgotten to mention it."
"Now maybe I've lived too much of my life in the south, but that just boggles my mind as a detail you'd forget when hiring a lawyer for that incident."
"I would have told her in advance that hiring us was a waste of money, not to mention the hassle of taking an 8 hour class, and she should probably just go ahead and pay this one."
"I legitimately do that all the time during consults."
"Give my honest assessment if the case is even worth doing, and so by omitting that detail she harmed herself for no reason."
"At least she took it well and didn't get defensive."- AmberWavesofFlameDriving Get Away GIF by Zella DayGiphy
Swing And A Miss...
"I used to work at a big health insurance company, which started up a company softball league."
"I started up a team for my division - Major Accounts."
"Lots of people wanted to play, so we had a big co-ed roster."
"I asked everyone to pony up $25 for a jersey and towards soft drinks, which I’d buy, chill and bring to each game."
"Because there were so many people on the team, I had to alternate who played defense each inning."
"One guy didn’t like it, and got mad that he couldn’t play center field every inning."
"So he decided on the next time he went in to let a couple of easy fly balls hit to him go past him on purpose for a home run."
"This guy was a clerical level employee playing with VPs and SVPs, not a smart career move."
"So I benched him for the rest of the game, as in I didn’t let him play defense."
"Two days later he serves me with papers, that he’s quit the team and is suing me for $25."
"I say this is dumb, you should just play and enjoy having fun after work with the people you work with."
"A week later I get a call from The People’s Court."
"They’re interested in putting this on TV but want to know more."
"I tell them the story and they say this is too stupid even for them."
"So they pass."
"Court day arrives, and the guy makes his case."
"I take the stand."
'The judge first says 'why haven’t you settled this?'"
"I say there’s nothing to settle."
"He asks me a a couple more questions and then asks 'so you kicked him off the team?'"
"And I say, no, he quit'."
"'I asked him to stay on the team'.”
"The judge says 'I’ve heard enough, ruling for defendant'.”
"The weeks later the company CFO comes up to me and asks when is it going to be on The People’s Court?"
"I had to say it’s not going to be, because they thought it was too stupid."
"Next round of layoffs, that guy is at the top of the list."
"I’d guess he’s still a loser."- mPeachyUh Oh Oops GIF by Boomerang OfficialGiphy
Careful The Things You Post...
"Prosecuting a guy who is claiming 'back injuries'."
"He posted pictures of himself holding strippers on Facebook the day after his 'injury'."- EasttownPot8ohead
"A commissioner referred a guy to me because I speak the guy's language and do that kind of law."
"Protection order case."
"Guy was asking for a protection order against his GF that had tried to stab him."
'I mer the guy talked to him."
"He seemed sketchy but he had decent answers to all my questions."
"I decided to represent him."
"Submitted declarations and exhibits."
"His GF responded that she was the victim and claimed police arrested wrong person."
"I met with him again and went over the accusations."
"I asked him, 'have you ever hit your GF?'"
"He answered no."
"We went to court."
"I made my argument."
"I felt confident."
"But commissioner requested 'permission' to question my client."
"Question 1: Have you ever hit GF. "
"My client answers no."
'Question 2: have you ever tried to hit GF."
'Answer: 'yes many times'."
"'I even tried to straddle her in a chair but she moved ducked squirmed and eventually escaped'."- IndiaaBJudge Judy Reaction GIF by Agent M Loves GifsGiphy
"My grandfather was the client in this very situation."
"He left my grandma after 20 years of marriage to be with his high school sweetheart."
"He and my grandmother had lived in the home my great-grandmother, grandmother's mother, gave to my grandmother."
"Grandfather had later been added to the deed when they did a home improvement loan because he was the earner and grandma was a housewife."
"My grandfather told his divorce lawyer that the house had been HIS mother's home that he inherited and my grandmother had moved in our whole family to make it uninhabitable for him."
'He then changed the story to say that he and my grandmother were gifted the home jointly."
"He also went on and on with wild stories that my grandmother was a mafia boss, despite the fact that we are not in Vegas, not of a nationality known for organized crime, and not rich."
"The lawyer accepted all of this as fact with zero proof and even went so far as to harass my grandmother's lawyer about how she was knowingly representing a criminal.
"There were even papers filed to sue my great-grandmother for mortgage fraud and all sorts of other bogus suits, again, filed solely on my grandfather's word."
"After mediation, wherein my grandfather wanted to to sell the home and split the money after paying his legal fees, keep both cars, pay no alimony, etc., we go to court."
"My grandmother's lawyer hands over one thing, the home improvement loan application wherein he listed my grandmother as the sole owner of the property and listed my great-grandmother as the previous owner."
"The judge was livid and my grandmother walked away with far more than her lawyer thought was possible."- myJNfamilythrowawayGolden Girls 90S GIF by MattielGiphy
Despite the longstanding negative connotations which come with them, lawyers are there to help you.
So it's always the best decision to tell them the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, especially if you're paying for their services.
That, or just obey the law so you won't need one.