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The Shocking Truth About Criminal Justice Attorneys

The Shocking Truth about Criminal Justice Attorneys

Criminal defense attorneys are just like the rest of us. They are human beings and have all committed mistakes. From holding rowdy parties in college to jay walking to speeding, attorneys are not immune to breaking the law. However, what makes a lawyer successful is their commitment to understanding the law and representing each client to the best of their ability while in court. Prior to trying case in court, a lawyer spends hours preparing a theme for the defense.
Some typical arguments or defenses include self-defense, insanity or wrong-time/wrong-place. However, sometimes a criminal justice lawyer must get creative to win a case. Continue reading as we explore some of the most bizarre criminal defenses.
CC image credit to Mark Warner

The Matrix Defense

In July 2002, a woman in Ohio was arrested and charged with murder for killing her landlady. The woman’s attorneys took a defense straight from the blockbuster sensation The Matrix by arguing that the defendant believed that the woman was living inside of a computer simulation. In this fictional world, humans were bulletproof and could not die from being shot. However, machines that were threatening human civilization had overrun the world. Consequently, the defense argued that their client believed the landlady had become a violent machine and needed to be eliminated. Ultimately, the jury found the woman not guilty by reason of insanity.

The Sleep Walking Defense

On the night of May 23, 1987 Kenneth Parks drove to his in-laws’ residence and fatally stabbed his mother-in law and wounded his father-in law. After committing the gruesome crime, Parks promptly returned to his vehicle and drove to the police station. Once at the station, Parks surrendered and told the officer “I think I may have killed some people.” Now, after having read this scene imagine you are the police offer who Parks surrenders to.
For a police officer, murders don’t usually fall in your lap signed, sealed and delivered by the murderer. At trial, Parks claimed that he could not remember what occurred on the night of the crime other than waking up at the police station. In his defense, Parks’ attorneys claimed that he had been sleepwalking at the time of the murder and therefore, could not be held accountable for the murder or brutal attack.
Finding the argument slightly skeptical, the police ran an EEG scan of Parks’ brain to determine how active his brain was a the time of the murder. During sleep, the neurons in the brain go dormant while when awake the neurons are active. Surprisingly, it was determined that Parks suffered from an uncommon and debilitating sleep disorder. Ultimately, Parks was found not guilty of the murder.

The Twin Defense

For those with an identical twin sibling this defense is sure to inspire some childhood stories of pranks and ruses. In 2003, the childhood silliness of this defense went to an entirely new level when a Mr. Raj was arrested for drug trafficking. The defendant was caught red handed transporting 166 kilos of cannabis and 1.7 kilos of raw opium.
As all good things must come to an end, he was arrested and charged with transporting 166 kilos of cannabis and 1.7 kilos of raw opium in Malaysia. The case appeared to be an easy victory for the prosecution as the defendant had been caught with the drugs and the police had physical evidence tying him to the crime scene.
However, unbeknownst to the police or prosecutor there were two Mr. Rajs. Both Sathis Raj and Sabarish Raj were twenty-seven year old identical twins that blamed each other for the crime. With the prosecutor and police unable to prove which brother was caught with the drugs the jury was forced to issue a not guilty verdict.


Clearly, the shocking truth about criminal justice attorneys is that they will do whatever is necessary to provide the best legal counsel possible for their client. From the bizarre to the crazy, criminal defense attorneys are always creating new and creative arguments for explaining their client’s action. No matter how outlandish the argument, a victory is still a victory. For many crazy defense arguments check out the stories on this page:

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License: Creative Commons
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Christopher J McCann is a criminal defense attorney in Orange County California, with over twelve years of experience. Read The Law Offices of Christopher J McCann on AVVO and follow my tweets at @CJM_Law_Firm.

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