Odd legal defenses that worked in favor of the defendant, but which we wouldn’t recommend

Odd legal defenses that worked in favor of the defendant, but which we wouldn’t recommend

Blaming the traffic for being late to work and missing an important meeting is a victimless crime. But blaming a snack for committing a heinous crime is baffling and just wrong. The point is that blaming something or someone for one’s mistakes is human nature, but a line has to be drawn somewhere.

In 1978, San Francisco Supervisor Dan White assassinated his fellow supervisor Harvey Milk and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone. To defend White, his legal team presented a doctor’s testimony stating that his diet, which consisted of junk food like Twinkies, was proof of his depression, and that this disorder was what caused him to commit the crime. The “Twinkie Defense” was thus born.

Countless strange defense strategies like the one used in the Moscone-Milk assassination had been used to get away with murder. And celebrities and non-celebrities alike have used some form of Twinkie Defense that shockingly worked in their favor as the defendant.

Disclaimer: The names of the following legal defenses are completely made-up.

The “I’m a great rapper” defense

The late rapper DMX (real name Earl Simmons) was a much-admired artist whose musical career spanned decades. He sold millions of records, starred in numerous films, and won several awards. He also had plenty of legal troubles.

His laundry list of legal offenses included failure to pay child support, pretending to be a federal agent, carjacking, and tax evasion, among many others. Although he did get imprisoned several times, his very hardworking lawyers often managed to keep him out or reduce his sentence. But with such a troubled client like DMX, some of his lawyers needed to get creative.

In 2017, DMX was charged with 14 counts of tax fraud for which he pled guilty. Prosecutors sought five years imprisonment for his felony. One of his defense lawyers had the genius idea to tug at the heartstrings of the judge. She asked that the judge listen to one of DMX’s songs “Slippin’” to learn of the rapper’s struggles.

And tug at the heartstrings, it did. The judge said that in the court’s view, “DMX is a good man” and that he was “his own worst enemy.” DMX was ordered to serve only one year in jail and to pay back taxes of around $2.3 million. “Slippin’” is a fine song, but we believe that his other song “X Gon Give It To Ya” would have reduced the sentence even further.

The “I have two wives” defense

Under Islamic law courts, Muslim men are allowed to have multiple wives. This may seem like a fraught arrangement, but there are rules regarding being in a polygamous union that make the arrangement work for parties involved. For instance, men with multiple wives must make sure that they can treat their spouses with equal fairness.

But today, we are not discussing the rules regarding Muslim marriage and divorce. We’re going to talk about a Scotland-based man caught overspeeding.

In 2008, Mohammed Anwar, who is Muslim and has two wives, was caught going over the speed limit while driving on a road on Muirhead, Glasgow. He was driving at 64 mph in a 30 mph zone, and consequently faced a ban on driving. His lawyer’s defense was that he needed his license to drive to work and go home to his two wives based on his scheduled visits to both.

The defense worked, and the court let him off with six penalty points on his license and a fine of 200 British pounds. You don’t need us to tell you that this or a similar defense will work in an overspeeding or motor vehicle accident case in the State of Washington.

The “I’m too wealthy, I couldn’t possibly be held accountable” defense

Some people say that money won’t solve all your problems, and they would be right. The truth is that having lots of money can also be the source of many problems. For example, having affluent parents can cause troubles in unexpected ways, as in the case of Ethan Couch.

In 2013, the then-16-year-old Couch was charged with manslaughter after his drunk driving spree resulted in the death of four people. His lawyers (paid for by mom and dad, of course) defended him by saying that he couldn’t be held accountable because his parents never taught him valuable life lessons, e.g., that bad deeds have consequences. At his manslaughter trial, Mr. Couch was deemed to be suffering from “Affluenza”, a purported disorder characterized by an inability to understand that one’s bad actions have consequences, as a result of having immeasurable wealth and privilege.

The defense worked — Mr. Couch avoided jail time and the juvenile court only sentenced him to ten years of probation. He then had to attend “Affluenza Anonymous” meetings while checked into an exclusive rehabilitation facility.

Mr. Couch eventually violated probation, for which he served jail time. While it’s true that money did not solve all of Mr. Couch’s problems, it at least solved his wealthy-people problems.

Attorneys Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams are dedicated, experienced, and creative, but not so creative that we will invoke any of the abovementioned legal defenses. Consult our team for your personal injury case in the Evergreen State.