The Worst Ways People Have Been Screwed Over In Court According To Lawyers
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As Americans, we live in what's got to be one of the most litigious countries in the world.

The single most common phrase uttered by someone who's been wronged ranges from declarations like, "I'm taking you to court," to downright threats like "I'm suing your a**!"

Whether they're for petty grievances or major offenses, no one wants a drawn-out legal battle, but unfortunately, matters can't always be solved outside of the courtroom.

But sometimes, maybe it's for the best to have things settled out of court.

Curious to hear of unfair legal outcomes, Redditor thecptnswagg asked:

"Lawyers of Reddit, what’s the worst way you’ve seen a person screw over someone else in court whether it be criminal, civil, or divorce proceedings?"

Going Nowhere Fast

"Not my case, but my dad's. He was the equivalent of a Public Defender decades ago. There was this guy that would get caught for being drunk in public, public lewdness, etc. EVERY weekend. He seemed to draw the same judges and was pretty well known to everyone in the courthouse as an absolute lost cause. One of the 'regular' judges had him appear in his court again. The judge is ready to give him a prison sentence because he was driving a car this time, but the guy starts crying that he finally got a job out of town and was trying to turn his life around. Judge tells him as long as he never makes a mistake "in my town again" he would just drop the charges."

"Well sure as hell the guy shows up the following Monday. Same judge. Driving drunk AGAIN. My dad now has his case. The judge tells him he gave him his final chance, to which the guy sobs and replies 'I was leaving town, your Honor. But my friends decided to throw me a going-away party.' The judge was not amused. My dad had to do everything he could to not laugh."

– ZAWolfie

Stolen Trucks

"Represented a guy that stole three trucks from his work. Only two were recovered before trial. He showed up to a motion hearing in the third one."

– Wacocaine

"Work Friends"

"A witness for the plaintiff in a civil suit, who was a co-worker of the plaintiff testified very strongly against the company and in favor of the plaintiff. I questioned her about bias toward the plaintiff, if they knew eachother well, were friends, etc. She said, no just friendly co-workers, 'work friends' at best. I pinned her to it."

"When I got a chance to cross-examine the plaintiff, she had no choice but to burn her witnesses credibility, because no only were they very close friends, but they had become sisters in law just a few years before. (no, they did not have the same last name or anything, but I had done my homework)."

"I still don't get why people want to fight small bias, by destroying their credibility, but ... it happens more than you'd think."

– andthenhesaidrectum

When relationships go awry, just hope you don't wind up in court because of it.

Crazy Ex

"I took my Ex to court because she had used my social security number to sign up for cable. I found out about it when she stopped paying for the service. She screwed herself over by just being herself. We show up to court, I turn in the contract from the cable company ,showing my social security number, and her own name signed on the contract. She didn't even try to forge my signiture, she signed her own name in and tried to deny that she had any part of it. The judge tore her apart and it was nice."

– Hardly_at_Work

Null And Void Marriage

"I had a client who was trying to get away from an abusive ex and filed for a restraining order. He shows up to the final hearing and is making a big fuss about a truck that they bought during their marriage. He said it was just his, and she had no rights to it because their marriage was void."

"I asked him on cross examination what he meant by that, and he said that he had already been married in another state when he married my client. He said that my client had no idea, but that it means their marriage is invalid and the truck was all his."

"Not only is that legally inaccurate, the transcript of the hearing was promptly turned over to the police, who were actively investigating him for bigamy."

"Oh, and the judge gave my client the truck along with a two year no-contact order."

– Quaffle47

Some clients just jeopardized their chances of winning a case.

Self-Destructive Defendant

"Am lawyer, saw someone screw himself."

"I work as a public servant in a criminal law judge's office, and since I have a law degree I don't normally do administrative work, though I get to be with the judge in some of the hearings."

"Last month we had a huge drug trafficking case (I'm talking about 20 or more people involved, months of investigation, undercover agents, videos, audio, the whole ordeal). Hearing lasted three days."

"Anyway when it was time for one of the defendants to be on the stand so the prosecutor could read the charges he was accusing him of (He was pleading not guilty, as he very loudly stated from the majority of the hearing, up until my boss -the judge- told him to shut up or he would be admonished, to which he replied 'what are you gonna do, arrest me?' which, to be honest, was actually a bit funny), the prosecutor, as part of the facts of his case, told him that 'he was being accused of selling, trafficking and carrying x amount of x drugs, with the base of his operation being his house, where he lived with his partner' (Mind you, said partner wasn't even in the hearing, she wasn't arrested or anything as there was nothing tying her to the case) he said 'wait up, I was the one selling the drugs, she didn't do anything.'"

"His lawyer (a state-assigned public lawyer) facepalmed so hard it's actually recorded in the audio of the hearing."

"He still pleaded not guilty."

– mildepan

Show Me The Money

"Not someone else, but my client screwed them-self."

"I’m doing landlord tenant stuff and my client was facing eviction over non-payment, but the client was withholding rent payments because of habitability issues in the apartment, no heat, high lead levels, vermin. This is gonna be an easy win for me."

"Told my client continually to make sure they don’t spend the money, keep it but don’t spend it. Because if you show the judge you still have the money it looks real good for you in terms of making the judge believe that you’re withholding for good reasons."

"We get up in front of the judge, landlord doesn’t have an attorney so I’m dancing inside, there’s no way I can lose."

"I make my arguments and the landlord makes his."

"Judge asks my client if they still have the money."

"Client goes 'nah I blew that sh*t at the casino last week.'”

– anon


"Not court, but Live PD traffic stop I was watching and the guy told the officer 'I have caffeine pills in my back pocket' gets them out puts them on the hood, everyone’s chill... dude then comes clean and says it’s Molly and the officers look at each other and go 'do we even have a test kit for that?' other officer says 'no' dudes face just shows he should have kept his mouth shut."

– BAMyouhavetheclap

Volunteering Information

"Sitting waiting for my client and the judge is giving a mass colloquy for an alternative program on a DUI. Basically probation."

"Question - Has anyone consumed alcohol or taken drugs in the last 24 hours?"

"Obvious answer aside, one dude proudly raises his hand - 'I smoked some dope last night...'"

"He did not get probation."


You Get A Code

"Kind of a self-screw but the MPAA entered DVD Jon's code for breaking DVD copy protection as part of their lawsuit into their evidence which then became public record. The code that breaks DVD copy protection was now available to the entire world, defeating the entire purpose of their lawsuit."

– tensigh

While taking someone to court is already a gut punch, the craziest outcomes based on the majority of the responses in this thread was when a client jeopardized the outcome of their own case.

The final verdict is, guilty of brain cell depletion.