Legal System

The Defendant Seems to Have Left, Your Honor

Here's a criminal-defense strategy you might not have considered: just get up and walk out. They certainly won't be expecting that. And probably for that reason, it's worked at least three times. At least temporarily. The first example I know of was…


The Screaming Itches

Today's Quiz: "The Screaming Itches" would be: (a) unwise to bring up on a first date (b) a good name for a band (c) a bad excuse for failing to appear in court (d) all of the above Of course…



All Work and No Play Makes Court Reporter a Dull Boy

He didn't go with that exact phrase, as far as we know, but according to the New York Post (thanks, Matt), a court reporter in Manhattan has been accused of going off the rails in dozens of cases, typing gibberish or random…


How to Avoid Jury Duty, #11: Witchcraft, or Something

I just noticed this happened in 2003 but I’m going to add it to the list anyway. According to the Yorkshire Post, a woman was excused from jury service in a terrorism case as a result of strange behavior that…


Joe Francis Sentenced to Nine Months in Jail

Hooray!Original photo: TMZ) Maybe that time period was selected because Joe doesn't seem to have finished gestating the first time around, or at least it wasn't successful, so now he can give it another shot. Fine, but it still seems…


Defendant Claims His Underwear Is 50 Years Old

Faced with evidence that he and his family lived in luxury on a politician's salary, Bo Xilai insisted in court that he is a simple man, according to reports yesterday. Bo, who was formerly head of the Communist Party in…


“The Super Bowl of Fortuneteller Fraud Cases”

That's how the New Times describes a trial beginning today in West Palm Beach. Prosecutors say that Rose Marks, "the 62-year-old matriarch of a local gypsy family," cheated clients out of $25 million over a 20-year period. Seventeen million of that…



When Questions From the Jury Are a Bad Sign

The idea of questions from the jury may be new to some, but in several states the law allows jurors to pose their own questions to witnesses. The questions are in writing and are screened by the judge and subject…