"I was once on a jury for a trial where the defendant robbed a house and then set it on fire to cover up his crime.
The problem was that this idiot had robbed his downstairs neighbor and the fire brigade discovered all the stolen goods when busting into his house to save him after he'd passed out from smoke inhalation.
It took us maybe five minutes to find him guilty."
"A client was embezzling money from his engineering firm.
The client actually had all the money he had embezzled in his possession and could still return it. He would have faced penal liability, but we could have pleaded him out to have served no more than a few months of probation. Under his circumstance, prison time was unlikely.
The client did not believe our advice. The client believed he was going to prison. The client believed his best course of action was to return to his country of birth, Iran. The United States strictly prohibits the transfer of technology which can be used for nuclear programs to Iran, which this client had because of his job at the engineering firm. I explained this all to the client.
The client tried to board a flight to Iran anyway. In his luggage is a programmable logic controller his firm had been subcontracted with the federal government to develop. I don't know why he was taking this PLC with him, but it was there when he was pulled off the airplane in Stuttgart and taken into custody.
The client is now facing up to 20 years in federal prison for espionage and unlawful transfer of classified military technology to a hostile power.
People, listen to your lawyers."
"One of the plant employees at my company got in a little fender-bender with a parked car after work. He wasn't a great driver and was already paying out the wazoo for insurance thanks to a driving under the influence conviction, so he decided the best course of action was to run and hope no one saw him.
Nope, he was on camera. And the store he'd just bought a 6-pack from knew him, his car, and where he worked.
Around halfway home, he passes a cop and starts getting nervous, so he figures he'll hide out at work just up the road. But what about an alibi? He'll say he was working! That's it! He badly erases his earlier clock-out, and 'works' another hour or so.
Security guard noted him coming back into the building, and the break room camera caught him tampering with his time card.
He probably still would've been okay at this point. The county police weren't exactly hot to investigate anything that wasn't an easy felony, so he could've just played dumb and gotten away with the fender-bender. If payroll noticed the altered time card he could've plausibly said he'd gone to pick something up for work, forgot he wasn't supposed to clock out for that, and we wouldn't have looked real hard at it.
He tripled down. He went out to the parking lot, grabbed the brews he'd bought, and decided to add insurance fraud. The moron called the police to report his car had been 'borrowed' and damaged, then sat on the hood drinking.
The same cop who had responded to the hit and run and passed him on the road came to this call, too. It was kind of inevitable, what with it being a Sunday evening with only one county cop on duty.
Under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, false police report, etc... He left in cuffs, which was also noted by the security guard and called into the boss.
One of the very first duties I had at the company was preparing a nice thick file on what he'd done for his union and then to fire him for theft."
"There was this guy that we ate lunch with that seemed pretty normal and we sat at the same table for 2 years in high school. He helped his friend build a gaming computer, set up a TV and Xbox, and a whole bunch of action figures and stuff. Well, his friend went out of town with his family so this guy breaks in and steals it all. I guess later that night he realized he may get caught so he went and lit the house on fire. The friend's family came back home early because their house burned halfway down. So what does this guy who just lost half his home do? Calls his 'friend' to stay at his place so they can game since his family was gonna be staying in a hotel for a while. He gets there and sees all his new gaming stuff set up in his friend's room. The police were called and the guy got arrested. He got out of jail at some point and tried to kill someone so he's back there now."
"I read this police report my first week in the prosecutors' office. It still makes me laugh every time I think about it.
Some guy was pulled over for having a busted taillight. The police officer had no reason to suspect he had anything illegal on him. He was going to write a ticket and be done with it.
The guy was convinced that the officer knew he had illegal substances in the car. He planned on covering up the crime of possession by simply ingesting the substance while the cop was in his cruiser writing the ticket.
The officer walked back and saw the guy snorting smack. He asked, 'What are you doing?'
The guy replied, 'Smack.'
Don't cover up your possession by doing the substance in front of a cop."
"There was a guy who went to his buddies house after nearly beating his girlfriend to death, police end up showing up to the house where the guy was, friend answers and buddy shows up behind the guy not wearing a shirt (this is important) police say who they're looking for and both men say they don't know who that person is. Here's the kicker:
The guy that's shirtless? Who beat his girlfriend half to death? He has his first initial and last name in a big bold tattoo across his chest."
"A guy I worked with was being charged with 'dangerous driving' following a pursuit involving a police helicopter. He would have faced a fine and a one-year driving ban. His lawyer told him to plead guilty.
He ignored this advice and insisted on going to trial, and his sole defense was that the police didn't have any video recording of his crime as though this was some technicality that would get him off. In questioning, he even admitted to what he did, but still tried to convince the court that he was not guilty because there's no video recording.
The court threw everything at him except for a prison sentence. The arresting police officer even told him he would just have gotten a verbal warning had he stopped, but his insistence on trying to play the system ended up majorly messing him up."
"There was this story a while back about a murder that just baffled me.
This lady's husband had a fight with her and then disappeared. She said he went to Florida, angry, and told her to sell all of his stuff and get a divorce, so she sold all his stuff, the house and got the divorce, too, simply because he was unavailable for contact at any time; no emails, calls, etc were answered.
Of course, there were suspicions of foul play. Nothing came of them for a while, though. The lady sells their marital home and buys a house in a slightly more upscale part of town. After something like seven years, the cops finally get to search the place.
They found her husband in the closet. She had chopped him up into pieces, put those pieces into Tupperware containers, and wrapped those containers in alternating layers of scented trash bags and dryer sheets, along with air freshener beads, in order to keep anyone from smelling him.
Why the heck would you hang on to dead husband bits for so long? We live by the sea, she could have just pitched them out there at any time and bam, nobody knows."
"A (female) distant family member got involved with an older guy, and together they kidnapped a guy to rob him, stole his car, murdered him, and then drove to a remote place where they doused the car in gas and lit it on fire. The boyfriend got burned on his hands.
They arrested the girlfriend when she was shoplifting bandages and burn salve from the drugstore. The whole thing fell apart from there.
They may have gotten away with it if she had bought the stuff that had to be under ten bucks."
"I once defended a guy who was charged with harassing his ex-girlfriend, mostly through Facebook.
As he waited for his trial date, this genius decided to set up a fake account in his ex-girlfriend's name and privately messaged himself soppy love letters to 'prove' this woman was still into him and he hadn't been harassing her.
I guess he forgot that the messages he had been sending to his actual ex were things like, 'I'm going to rip your heart out and kill you!' I tried explaining that no amount of sappy feel-good exchanges were going to make up for the other stuff, even if the court believed his ridiculous story. But this guy kept insisting that the fake account was real, and you know, I had no proof it wasn't, and junior lawyer me lacked the experience to tell this guy to go fly a kite.
He showed up on the trial date and he had the printouts of messages between him and his ex's 'new' account. It turns out he started fighting with 'himself' through his pretend messages, rehashing old arguments he used to have with his ex. It was the saddest display of idiocy I've ever seen. He couldn't even keep on good terms with his pretend ex that he controlled as the messages had spiraled into much the same abuse.
We got a peace bond as a last-minute plea bargain, and I never heard from him again."
"My sister is a police sergeant and used to work in the robbery division. She showed up to court one day to be present for a man on trial for robbing a bank. They had him on camera and he wanted to represent himself. His opening line was, 'Yes, your honor. I'd like to point out that you can't tell that was me on camera because I was wearing a hat!'
Yeah, that was a quick trial."
"I dealt with a guy once who had burned down his parents' garage.
He had been drinking and driving when he hit and injured a cyclist. He would get off easy with a driving ban, fines, and a suspended prison sentence due to his lack of a criminal record and as he was only 19 years old.
But in his wasted mind, he decided that the police couldn't prove he had been drinking and driving if there were no car. But he had parked the car back at home in the garage.
So he set the garage on fire with a can of gas. He ended up destroying the garage, the car, the side of the house, the RV parked in the driveway, and a large portion of his neighbor's garden. He was charged with driving under the influence in addition to a number of other crimes."
"When I was an assistant district attorney, a colleague of mine had a case where a couple of guys robbed a jewelry store. The police showed up and there was a chase, they all split up and all got caught, but one of them had a bit of head start. Apparently, he ran into a beauty salon and started yelling that he needed to dye his hair immediately. And then the police ran in after him.
Oh, and there was also the guy who stole jewelry out of someone's house and shoved it up his behind when he got caught. They found it during the strip search because some of it was still hanging out.
Finally, there was a guy wanted for murder. He had a long ponytail and a few days after the murder he cut it off and got his head shaved. When he was arrested he still had the ponytail in his pocket."
"I worked on a child welfare case in which the parents were ordered to undergo hair follicle testing for substance use.
So the father (not my client, thankfully) shaved off all the hair from his body, even his eyebrows, but he said it had nothing to do with the testing, it's just something he wanted to do.
I think the kid ended up with relatives."
"My mother has an extensive criminal history, and one of my favorite stories is when she was arrested for fraud and identity theft and claimed it was all a mistake.
She hadn't done anything, you see, they'd simply misunderstood. They were actually looking for her daughter, the real criminal.
I was 6 at the time."
"I knew a chick who robbed a house she was house sitting for silverware and jewelry. She pawned it off at the closest pawn shop to the house so she was caught right away. However, being the dope fiend she was, she poured bleach all over the house to 'get rid of her fingerprints.' Instead of petty theft, she ruined the stairs and all the hardwood floors and paint on the walls and ended up with damages exceeding $10k if I remember correctly, which launched her well into new legal territories."
"Saw the trial for a guy who had killed a baby - strangle marks on its neck, bruising in its groin, bleeding from every orifice, so very obviously it was attacked and beaten. He claimed that he 'saw a spider' when he woke with the baby on his chest, and 'accidentally threw it off the bed'. He even freaking told a guy (who was later called as a witness) that he's done it and exactly how. What an idiot."
"My client was accused of embezzling millions of dollars from a company. This was simply false. The company's owner had been hiding it from his spouse.
The owner's lawyer called me up to extort my client and told me that if our client testified to 'facts' in support of his defense in the divorce, they would appreciate it. If my client would not perjure herself, they would have her prosecuted.
I recorded the attorney and filed a transcript along with a motion with the court. The judge brought down the hammer, and our state's Bar Association professionally disciplined the attorney."
"Most criminals are dumb. Like really dumb. They do stupid stuff to try and escape consequences all the time and end up making it worse. I'll give you a few examples:
What would've been a ticket for theft turned into multiple felonies when a girl tried to hide her ID in a shopping bag she used to steal stuff by stuffing it into my back seat. It was a plastic sack; they're not quiet. She had the longest criminal history I had ever seen. She gets caught a lot.
I had a kid run from me in handcuffs after being picked up for a juvie probation warrant. He kicked out my back window and dove headfirst into the pavement before trying to jump a six-foot fence. In handcuffs. He got halfway over. His shirtless half slid down the top of the fence, where I picked him up and booked him for multiple felonies. If he'd just cooperated, he would've been home by lunchtime.
I had a junkie steal Yoo-Hoos, some Twinkie's, and a Red Bull from a grocery store. She had over $1,000 in her purse when security detained her. They called us and wanted us to issue a trespass warning and take her off the property. When she saw us, she decided it'd be a GREAT idea to try and run, pushing people away and knocking down some random soccer mom. Instead of a warning, we had to charge her with aggravated robbery.
This was all in the last month."
"To all the shoplifters who think you're smooth, keep in mind grocery stores know what angle to put a camera at to perfectly capture people stuffing things in their pockets or down the front of their shirts. And in many stores, those cameras are higher quality than you'd think they'd be. I've had files where I can make a continuous film following someone around the store and out the door, then cross reference the time stamp with the store receipts to show you paid for the mac and cheese but not the three steaks in your pants.
I can't believe I went to school for seven years for this."
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