10 Strange Legal Defenses

 10: Mountain Dew Dissolves Mice 

When Pepsi Co was facing a lawsuit from an Illinois man named Ronald Ball in 2009 who was claiming to have found a mouse in his Mountain Dew, Pepsi Co created a strange legal defense (Source). The man claimed he had purchased the soda from a vending machine, only to gag on a mouse. He claims he opened the can and poured the drink into a styrofoam cup to discover a dead mouse. He also claims that when he called Pepsi about the mouse, they stole it to remove the evidence (Source). The man was seeking $50,000 in damages. (Source)

Pepsi Co responded to this with a very strange defense. If a mouse was in the man’s drink, it would have been soaking for a total of 15 months (Source). Pepsi Co claims that after fifteen months, the drink would have turned the mouse into a partially dissolved ‘jelly-like’ substance (Source) (Source).

Although strange and disgusting, this defense worked.

 

9: Faking A Heart Attack

In 2005, a man named Keison Wilkins managed to successfully defend himself in court, however in 2008 he wasn’t as lucky (Source). He was the defendant in a court case for felonious assault and other charges (Source). Keison Wilkins had been trying to do various things in hopes to disrupt the proceedings and have a mistrial (Source).

Whilst standing up and speaking to another person in the courtroom, he stopped talking for a moment and soon dropped onto the ground (Source). Some went to his aid, but the judge hardly reacted. A nurse and an emergency medical technician both concluded that he did not actually have a heart attack (Source). While the judge was speaking to the man about some of the consequences he would face because of this, he continued to pretend to be unconscious (Source).

After this incident Keison Wilkins was sentenced to 42 years in prison due to a variety of charges. (Source)

 

8: Evil Twin Defense

A man named Steven Felton was thought to have participated in 10 robberies (Source). Most of the robberies were caught on record, with his face visible. However, he claims he didn’t do it. Then who did? According to him, it was his evil twin (Source). Surprisingly, this defense didn’t work out, and he was sentenced to 62-124 years (Source) in prison.

The man was often described as leaving the scene of the robbery on a bicycle earning him the nickname bicycle bandit (Source). Many witnesses have also claimed that he brought a pellet gun with him (Source).

 

 

7: ‘I Thought Everything was Free…’

Charles and Pernella Bull were charged with first degree burglary. The victim claimed she was putting her kids to sleep, when she someone enter her home. The victim saw the two exit through the back door. Luckily, one of the victims neighbors was able to stop the two from getting away. The police detained Charles and Pernella in the woman’s driveway (Source).

A desktop, a laptop, a toolbox, a purse, and various other items were stolen. (Source)

When they were questioned about robbing the house, the two claimed they had seen an ad on Craigslist, stating that everything in the house was free. (Source)

The excuse did not work, and the two now have to pay $35,000 in fines, or face a penalty of 20 years in prison. (Source)

 

6: ‘Hypnotized’ Teenagers 

In 1991, (Source) two teenagers claim that they were ‘hypnotized’ into committing murder. The teenagers claim they were hypnotized by rap music made by The Geto Boys. Their lawyer claims that they were hypnotized because of the combination of the music and drugs they had been using. (Source) Their attorney said “Basically, it was partly the liquor, partly the marijuana, and finally, -probably most of all- it was the rap tape of The Geto Boys.”(Source)

The boys were part of a group of five that involved in the killing of Bruce Romans (Source).

James Smith, the president of a record label called Rap-A-Lot Records (The Geto Boys’ record label) disagreed with the defense. He said “Everyone knows that normal people don’t listen to a tape, have a couple of drinks and run around shooting people.” (Source)

 

5: The Matrix Defense 

The Matrix was an extremely popular movie that involved artificial realities. The Matrix Defense, is when a defendant commits crimes because they believed they were in an artificial reality. (Source)

One woman named Tonda Lynn Ansley thought her landlord was going to drug her in her sleep to transport her to an alternate reality. She shot her landlord in hopes of defending herself. She allegedly used the excuse “They commit a lot of crimes in ‘The Matrix'” while talking to police. (Source) (Source) The woman was declared not guilty by reason of insanity.

The Matrix defense was also used by a man living in San Francisco named Vadim Mieseges. The man claimed he thought he was inside of ‘The Matrix’ when he killed his landlady. He was also declared not guilty by reason of insanity. (Source) (Source)

Another person named Joshua Cooke used the matrix defense after he tragically shot his parents.  (Source) He plead insanity, claiming that he believed he was in ‘The Matrix’. He was sentenced to 40 years in jail. (Source)

 

4: Blaming Bollywood for Stalking

A 32 year old Indian man in Australia named Sandesh Baliga was accused of stalking women during (Source). When he was brought to court, his lawyer argued that Bollywood Movies influenced the man’s decision to stalk the women. His lawyer continued to argue that this was “quite normal behavior” for Indian men. (Source)
The man had stalked two different women between 2012 and 2013. He had called and texted them multiple times. (Source) He had even approached them, and he started to refer to himself as their ‘boyfriend.’ (Source)

The man’s lawyer claimed that Bollywood movies left the impression that persistence would eventually cause a woman to fall in love. (Source) In the end, this excuse helped him escape conviction. (Source)

 

3: Satirical Articles and Counterfeit

A woman named Pamela Downs went to a store and tried to pay for an item with a $5 bill printed on printer paper, that was glued together. A police officer was brought to the scene, and he immediately recognized the fact that the bill was fake. (Source) (Source) At first, she claimed she received the bill as change at a gas station. However, soon after, she consented to a search of her purse, and the police officer found a similarly printed counterfeit hundred dollar bill, printed in black and white ink. (Source)

Soon after, she claimed that Barack Obama had changed a law, and that counterfeit money was legal. (Source) She had read an article that claimed this law had changed, however she didn’t know the article was sarcastic/satirical. (Source) The officer also found a Walmart receipt for a printer and paper inside of her bag. (Source)

The article the woman read had been written on a satirical website called ‘The Skunk’. This article included false facts such as “A CNN poll taken shortly after the president’s speech gave him an approval rating of 110%,” and “The White House put forth a plan to distribute 375 million printing presses to every man, woman, and child in the nation.” (Source)

 

2: The Affluenza Defense

A teenager named Ethan Couch was in court for driving drunk, which resulted in the death of four people. (Source) (Source) His lawyers defended him using the ‘affluenza defense’. His lawyers claimed he was too rich to understand that his actions had consequences.(Source) After the court case, when he turned 19, he was sentenced to 720 days in Tarrant County Jail. (Source)

Basically, he thought claiming he had too much money, and that he was too spoiled by his parents, was a valid excuse for driving drunk, and killing four people.

 

1: Trial by Combat

A lawyer from New York named Richard Luthmann decided to request trial by combat. In other words, he wanted to battle the plaintiff to the death. He believes that doing this would have been completely legal in New York, and that trial by combat has not yet been outlawed. (Source)

The lawyer was in court because he was accused of helping one of his clients commit fraud. (Source) He allegedly owed $500,000 to plaintiffs. (Source)

The lawyer mentioned that he had requested trial by combat because it was a ridiculous defense, which matched what he believed to be ridiculous allegations. Unsurprisingly, Richard Luthmann was not allowed to partake in trial by combat. (Source)

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