Lawyers Reveal the Worst Way They’ve Seen Someone Screwed Over in Court

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As if going to court wasn’t already stressful enough — for one thing, you have to wake up early, and in most cases, think ahead and buy a suit — sometimes you have to deal with a Machiavellian mastermind working against you. Whether you’re being sued, getting divorced, or just dealing with a plain ol’ DA prosecuting you for your many, many crimes, there’s always an opponent in court, and they could very well be looking to screw you over.

Of course, getting your butt handed to you legally is the kind of thing we always assume happens to other people, like having your house broken into, or winning the lottery. But the lawyers of the internet responded to an Ask Reddit thread wondering about the worst ways people have been screwed over in court, by lawyers or the jury and their responses show that it can happen to anyone.

Here are some of our favorite lawyer stories. And remember, the nicer your suit, the less likely you are to be convicted!

Woman shows up to court in an “It’s party time bitches! Drink up!” t-shirt. She was there for her first appearance on a 3rd DUI charge. Judge was not in a humorous mood that day.Lionel_Hutz_Law

Prosecutor here. I showed up for a bond hearing one morning and the defendant asked the judge if he could say something. The first words out of his mouth were: “Heyo Judge, look, like, the reason I hit her was because she disrespects me.” He did not prevail.Organized_Rhinoceros

Dude screwed himself over when he went to jury trial for a burglary charge and wore the same, distinct sweatshirt he wore the night he committed the crime. Kind of hard to argue the guy in the video isn’t your client at that point. Needless to say he was convicted and spent a few years in DOC.Seinfeldologist

There’s a lawyer in my town who has a reputation for being a real pain in the butt He left a very successful firm to go off on his own. He and the firm negotiated which clients he would take, and how eventual fees from those clients would be divided. All seemed fine and dandy. As soon as he’s out the door, he sues his old firm saying the deal is unenforceable and that he should 100% of the fees from the clients who came with him. He lost, and appealed, lost again and appealed to the state Supreme Court where they shut him down and, in extremely diplomatic language, pretty much called him a bad word.Thirty_Helens_Agree

Ha ha ha, got her (also got me).

When my father-in-law and mother-in-law got divorced, she wanted to file jointly for the previous year because they were still married. They would have gotten a decent refund. He insisted on filing separately, despite the fact that he would owe 4000 dollars because he wanted her to also owe the IRS. He did it to “frost her a**.”69schrutebucks

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.MrPGH

A wife filed for a restraining order because she wanted the house during a divorce. Husband has a good job, like 200k per year. Employer finds out about restraining order, the husband is fired. He was a very specialized employee so the only job he can find close to house, ex-wife, and daughter is 50k. House gets foreclosed. Child support at less than $500 per month. Wife has to get job as a waitress. Four cars get repossessed.Thencewasit

Was involved in a custody case where a wife cheated on her husband and had a child as a result. She let husband believe the child was his until she was about five years old and they were divorcing. To stop him from getting custody, she convinced the biological father to try to get custody thinking that if he won she would wind up with the child. Became a huge three-way fight, multiple sets of grandparents involved, attorneys fees skyrocketed because the case would have been pretty quick otherwise. She couldn’t pay her attorney, tried to get the bio dad to, got even messier, etc. Basically there still isn’t an agreement all parties will follow. They are in and out of court every year or so. She screwed herself.Carcharodons

There was a case going on in my town between a father and son that was hilarious. The dad is a big-time personal injury attorney around here who started his own firm under his name, George Sink, and his son ended up joining the family business. Well, they had a falling out so the son goes off to start his own firm. He has his dad’s name. So the dad is suing the son for using the name he gave him to start his own law firm.Disglain

I had a client who was accused of a very nasty sexual offense. He had an alibi — he was at work, where he was the boss. He had an employee who could absolutely vouch for his being there. I talked to the employee, and the employee confirmed this. It gets closer to the trial, and around the time when I need to send in an “alibi notice,” which is advance notice to the Crown so that they can investigate the alibi and determine whether or not it’s true. But, I am being careful, so I call the employee up again. Turns out my client fired him in the interim, and so the employee quite candidly tells me, “Oh, yeah, he was definitely at work. But that’s not what I’ll say in court. F– that guy, he is going down.” I did not call him as a witness, or file the alibi notice. Still won the trial, but if I hadn’t thought to call the guy, or if he’d been less candid, my client would have been f–ed hard.varsil

We had a custody case where the mom was already screwed because she was literally picked up by a bounty hunter while the dad was there getting their daughter for visitation. Anyway, dad’s new wife gets on stand and testifies that the mom, the defendant, threatened to blow their house up. Mom gets on stands and says, “I didn’t threaten to blow your house up. I threatened to blow you up.” Judge was like [shocked face emoji]Haolmi

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 [a lawyer] 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

They had a drunk-driver-kills-a-car-worth-of-people case at the time when they were a general practitioner. My boss was representing the family that got hit (one where the two kids and the wife had died, but the father had not) and wanted the college guy’s drunk-driving skin to be mounted on a wall. So, the kid (drunk driving college kid) had managed to get the judge’s sympathy during the first part of the hearing by saying he was sorry, haunted, never going to drink again, this was going to ruin his life, etc. The judge seemed to really be eating it up. Then comes my boss and immediately burns this kid’s remorse to the ground by showing numerous Facebook statuses and photos of them binge drinking, partying, and even joking about driving drunk from the date of the accident up until a night ago. The kid looked like he was being forced to swallow hot coals and the judge was absolutely livid. Needless to say, the kid had to do way more than just apologize and be remorseful after that.rivlet

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 each other 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).andthenhesaidrectum

You know who you should never sue? Your own attorney.

Lady brought a frivolous case to get out of a contract she signed. She lost, then sued the attorney and the witnesses for conspiring against her. They got her case dismissed and an award of attorneys fees which she refused to pay. Lawyer recorded it as a lien on her house and scheduled a foreclosure sale, which caused her mortgage lender to declare a default and accelerate entire mortgage balance. Lawyer made a side deal with lender to pay them all proceeds of the sale and then sold her house on courthouse steps to highest bidder and then arranged for sheriff to forcibly eject her onto the street with her stuff. She’s homeless now.219Infinity

Police officer, not a lawyer, but I’ve had two different people I’ve arrested for DUI show up to court drunk (not on the same day). Both of them got sent straight to jail for a couple days for contempt, and their cases were rescheduled. One of them showed up to court drunk a second time when the case was rescheduled. The judge was even less amused for the sequel.Obwyn.compact

Defendant trying to overturn default judgment claims the person that the Process Server served wasn’t him, couldn’t possibly be him, etc. At the hearing, the Process Server testifies he clearly recognizes defendant there in court two years later because defendant physically threatened him at time of service, making himself pretty memorable. Oh and Process Server was sure he served the right guy, because at time of service, he had photo of defendant, which my client had helpfully sourced on

In a case where a semitruck driver ran over and killed a grandma and her daughter (leaving two kids without any family), the defense attorney said: “really, the semitruck driver is the victim here because he has to live with what he is done.”nomadhappy

A friend kept meticulous records of how much time his estranged wife spent with their daughter. He used pink highlighter for Mom and blue highlighter for himself. Mom sailed into arbitration demanding full custody and handsome child support and the house. Dad pulled out three years’ worth of year-long calendars. Mom had spent less than a full month with the child in three years. Mom was not happy with the outcome.Omars_daughter

Here in Missouri a Golden Corral is being sued for the death of a elderly man. He was choking and manager asked if anyone could help. An employee waved their hand and said they could. The manager stopped them and sent them away. The man died obviously. The stupid part here is the corporate lawyers defense to have case tossed is they didn’t owe that man any aid and he died from his own fault for not cutting his food up into smaller pieces. The case is tragic but the lawyers defense is just outright rude and will cost them if it goes to trial.Bamafan6566

A friend of mine was going through a divorce and his lawyer kept putting off the trial. He just wanted it over with but the lawyer said trust me this is going to be good. Turns out dude’s wife was pregnant with another mans baby. When they went to court she had a big baby bump. The judge asked if all three kids were his and she replied “no just those two”. Wish I could have seen the look on her lawyers face.mymomdoesmylaundry

Watched a guy I worked with put in a year of 60 hour weeks to save up for this big blow out mega-vacation for his wife. She divorced him a week before they were set to leave. The vacation was a surprise. He has to keep working OT to make the alimony payments.KhaosElement

Used to practice employment law and had a guy who was terminated, in part allegedly due to his race. His former boss was on the stand and was under direct questioning from his attorney. His attorney asked if there was a reason that he singled out our client in his treatment (assumedly to get to the fact that our guy had disciplinary issues and had been put on a performance improvement plan). Instead, he went off and talked about how just have to “treat those people differently” and “you can’t talk to them the same way you do others.” Our cross-examination was very very short 🙂Tex236

Here’s the story/ of a lovely lady…

Saw a guy with a good job (around 120K/year) adopt his new wife’s FIVE children. Six months later she files for divorce and guess who is on the hook for child support for five?Makeelee

My best friend’s dad left his mom when he was 50 for a 32-year-old. On a Christmas dinner, my friend, his brother, and the dad had a discussion and the girl decides she needs to be involved. Things heat up and she throws my friend’s phone through the windows, so he gets her laptop and does the same and then him and his brother leave the house. A week later he gets a court notice asking him to appear in front of the judge for assault on the girl. She told the police they beat her. His dad declared it was true. Luckily they had no evidence so they dismissed the case. His brother is getting married this week and his father won’t be present.Fulk0

I was litigating a custody dispute on behalf of the mother in an incredibly conservative jurisdiction. One of the most common ways to get custody was to allege sex or adult film addiction because the threshold for it was basically non-existent. Opposing counsel tried to “gotcha!” me into settling before the hearing by showing me surprise sexts between mom and her new boyfriend. This is, of course, not Law and Order and you can’t introduce surprise evidence. So we go through with the hearing, I object to the sexts, but say I would allow them to be read into the record, in their entirety. So the uptight very conservative local attorney gets to spend the next 25 minutes or so reading sexts in open court occasionally asking if she could gloss over parts but no, I didn’t feel it would be appropriate. I’ll never forget hearing her struggle with the word nipple. It’s not even a dirty word! But this was like the third hearing we had to amend custody because this guy felt his ex-wife having a boyfriend meant she was a sex addict. They alleged the sexts happened while the kid was in Mom’s custody. But they based that on the timestamp of the screenshots. The timestamp on the texts was clearly at a time when the kid was not even around and mom was safe to get freaky over the phone. The judge had heard enough of his bullsh*t and awarded attorney’s fees and put in the order that dad would continue to be liable for her attorney’s fees if he kept pushing this stuff.Utahraptor1115

My brother’s girlfriend stole a car that she sold months prior and sued the girl she stole it from for reporting it stolen and taking it back. She won and got $500 from the poor girl. She also stole her car seats (woman was at Wal-Mart with her kids) and whatever else was in the car when she stole it. Hopefully, the girl learned the lesson that when you buy a car, you put it in your name and never buy a car with no title.Missdeejayn

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

My mate went through a divorce. His to be ex-wife was in a new relationship and the new guy was calling all the shots. She had been happy with the money she was getting and visitation my mate was getting but new guy wanted to screw him over so it turned into lawyer war. The outcome in court was the judge ruled my mate was to a £1,000 a month less than he was already which he quite happily did for his troubles. He put the extra money into a fund for the kids to used to help buy a house when they reached a determined age.Defiently_Ecstatic

My father-in-law had arrested someone for breaking and entering. During his arraignment, the judge stopped for a moment and asked the defendant where he got his suit from. It turns out that the defendant was also responsible for a previously unsolved break-in at the judge’s home and had shown up wearing one of the judge’s stolen suits.HaroldRichardJohnson And now, I’m sharing these stories of divorce with you. Coming from the AskReddit subreddit, this thread asked divorce lawyers to share their craziest stories about couples who broke up for nonsensical reasons, and boy oh boy, there are some doozies.