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Top 10 Craziest Legal Defenses

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Liam Hillery Judge: motion to dismiss these cases. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Craziest Legal Defenses. For this list, we're looking at the most ridiculous defenses ever attempted in a court of law. Special thanks to our user ViolaCello for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Liam Hillery

Top 10 Craziest Legal Defenses


Judge: motion to dismiss these cases. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 craziest legal defenses.

For this list, we’re looking at the most ridiculous defenses ever attempted in a court of law. These defenses didn’t have to work in order to make our list, but you may be surprised to hear just how many did.

#10: Hypnotized by the Geto Boys

Good music can be moving, and amazing lyrics can be incredibly touching. Sometimes music can just speak to a person. What it can’t do, however, is hypnotize that person into committing murder. At least that’s what a judge determined in 1991 after 16-year-old Christopher Martinez and his lawyer Camilla Haviland argued that Martinez was manipulated by music from the Geto Boys. According to Haviland, Martinez was temporarily hypnotized by intense rap music after a party and was lulled into murdering 28-year-old Bruce Romans. Martinez eventually snapped out of his trance and changed his plea to guilty.

#9: Between Two Wives

In 2008, Mohammed Anwar gave “love torn” new meaning. Caught for speeding 64 mph in a 30 mph zone in Glasgow, Scotland, Anwar was at risk of his license being revoked. Anwar avoided losing his license when he explained that he needed it to fulfill his matrimonial duties. Anwar had two wives, one in Glasgow and one in Motherwell, which his religion, Islam, permitted. It was his marital duty, he explained, to commit to and commute to both women. The excuse – along with the fact that he also needed his license to get to his restaurant business - was good enough for one Scottish sheriff, who leniently penalized him only 200 pounds and six penalty points.

#8: Ouija Defense

The Gulf Breeze Six sounds like some sort of rad surf collective. We wish that were the case. Instead, it’s the nickname that was given to six military officers who abandoned their posts in Germany and traveled to Florida on a mission to kill the antichrist. How did they know the antichrist would be in Florida? Secret military channels? Of course not. They learned this tip top intel from a spirit they conjured on an Ouija board. Strange as it sounds, that explanation was enough for these six to avoid a military court martial. Instead, they received a discharge with full honors, but this was withdrawn and they were demoted to the lowest rank and lost some of their monthly salary.

#7: Double-D Defense

One of the world’s most ridiculous defenses comes from Tokyo. Model Serena Kozakura faced a fourteen-month prison sentence for property destruction after allegedly sneaking into a man’s house and letting loose. However, her original guilty sentence was overturned after it was determined her 44-inch bust was too large to squeeze through the hole she had to fit through to enter his apartment. To reach this decision, a recreation of the event occurred in a Tokyo High Court, complete with Kozakura desperately trying to push her way through the hole. Like O.J.’s glove, if the boobs don’t fit, you must acquit!

#6: PMS Defense

If you believe the stereotypes, things can get a little… turbulent for women around that time of the month. For some, extreme and uncontrolled PMS-related turbulence has led to favorable outcomes in court. In the 1980s, Sandie Craddock had a slew of criminal charges, including first-degree murder, reduced, because they were spread out at roughly 29 day intervals, in line with her menstrual cycle. Anna Reynolds, a teenager who murdered her mother, similarly used PMS as a mitigating factor to overturn her conviction. Lunar cycles, which show people doing crazy things during a full moon, can’t do the trick, but menstrual cycles can.

#5: Automatism

Automatism is a legal defense used argue to that a defendant was acting unconsciously and is thus not criminally responsible for what he or she did. For example, Jan Luedecke was cleared of sexual assault because he suffered from sexsomnia, which can be used as an automatism defense. More famous is the case of sleepwalker Kenneth Parks, however. In 1987, the still asleep-Parks allegedly drove to his in-laws’ house, murdered his mother-in-law, critically injured his father-in-law, and then quickly turned himself in. A 1992 Canadian Supreme Court ruling found Parks was not in control of his faculties at the time of the crime, due to sleepwalking. Several experts testified, proved reasonable doubt, and he was cleared of all charges.

#4: Gay / Trans Panic Defense

It’s a little hard to believe this defense has been attempted so many times. Thankfully, for the good of humanity, it’s not typically successful. The gay/trans panic defense attempts to acquit or reduce charges by citing uncontrollable anger or fear when subjected to homosexual or transgender advances. Most judges laugh at this defense, though it was notably used by the defense attorneys in the 2002 murder of Gwen Araujo. Since the trial, California has passed the Gwen Araujo Justice for Victims Act, restricting the use of the gay/trans panic defense.

#3: Evil Twin Defense

Since the inception of the court system, look-alikes have been trying this defense. It has seen mixed results, but our favorite success story occurred in 2009. After facing drug trafficking charges in Malaysia, Sabarish and Sathis Raj were brought to court to determine which of the identical twin brothers was guilty of possessing 365 pounds of cannabis and 3.7 pounds of opium. Because the arresting officers couldn’t pinpoint which one had been caught with the drugs - and DNA tests wouldn’t help because the brothers’ would be the same - the court was unable to determine which twin committed the crime. So the judge ultimately let them go rather than convict the wrong man and send him to death by hanging.

#2: Affluenza

Wealth and prosperity is meant to be liberating. But the 2013 case of Ethan Couch argued it could also be a curse. After killing four people in a drunk driving accident, Couch successfully reduced his sentence from a maximum of 20 years in prison to a mere 10 years of probation. How? His defense team hired a psychologist that testified he suffered from affluenza – that is, being too privileged to understand the consequences of his idiotic actions. In 2015, the poor little rich boy was caught violating his probation when he fled to Mexico.

No honorable mentions this time around.

#1: Twinkie Defense

The crème de la crème of crazy defenses is a doozy. And a famous one at that. In 1979, Dan White, on trial for the murders of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and openly homosexual Supervisor Harvey Milk, had his sentence reduced from first-degree murder to voluntary manslaughter thanks to what the media called the “Twinkie defense.” Though it’s often believed that his lawyers claimed that the consumption of Twinkies is what made White do what he did, the attorneys actually argued that the diet change from healthy to junk food was a symptom of his depression. This further caused his severe, uncontrollable mood swings, rendered him incapable of controlling his actions (also known as diminished capacity) and led to the murder. The reduced charges shocked the world, outraged the gay community, and led to the San Francisco White Night Riots.

Do you agree with our list? What do you think is the Craziest Legal Defense? For more mind-blowing top 10s published daily, but sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.

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