Courtroom dramas will always be popular—and that’s because they’re full of the stuff we love to watch: surprise witnesses, heated arguments, snide asides, and that “Aha! moment” when the tides of the case have turned definitely towards one side and the smell of victory is in the air.
In reality, that moment is still pretty sweet, as described by lawyers of Reddit sharing the moment they knew they would win their case.
Whether it’s a blunder from the mouth of a witness or a detail previously overlooked in some documents, here are some stories from lawyers who won their cases.
“My client was riding his motorcycle on a relatively calm street when this guy exited his garage, without looking, and ran over him. In deposition, the guy brought a witness that was with him on the passenger seat. The whole time, the witness maintained that my client was driving too fast and that there was no time to brake the car. I asked him the same question a few times in different ways, making him tell the story again. In the fourth telling, he, already a bit frustrated, let it slip: ‘Look, I’ve already told you. We were exiting the garage and, as soon as I lifted up from getting my cellphone on the car’s carpet…’ ‘Wait. So you didn’t even see the crash?’ There was no coming back from that.” — Cincosirenitas
“We had some huge issues with a landlord (trying to enter without letting us know beforehand, not answering to fix issues, very aggressive when talking with us) when he decided to sell the place. He didn’t check with us about the visits and just showed up randomly with potential buyers. We told him to get lost, he eventually left but called us the same evening to threaten us. We sent emails to remind him of our rights as tenants and he answered by threatening us some more, IN AN EMAIL. We eventually end up in small issues court (not from the US, don’t know the name) and he fabricates a story about how we are terrible tenants and we try to discourage buyers. We just showed the judge the emails as well as the open complaint to the police we filled a few days earlier, the judge couldn’t believe it and gave him a formal warning, gave us 3 free months of rent. In the end the guy just used a real estate company to sell the place, all went smoothly and we still live there with lovely landlords that aren’t completely bonkers.” — BlackZiggy
“Parent termination case I was prosecuting. Dad went on how he has changed his life around and worked the AA program. Asked him what step he was on, and he proudly proclaimed 3. Asked him what step three is, he had no idea. Then asked him step two was. Again, no idea. Parental rights terminated.” — aulstinwithanl
“It was my third month of practice. I was in family law at the time. Representing mom in a petition for a restraining order against boyfriend/dad. At issue in the broader case was child visitation, custody, support etc. but today’s hearing was just on the RO. We had pretty good facts but it was mostly based on testimony of the parties. My client was way more reputable as a witness so I was feeling confident. 10 minutes before the hearing, my client shows up. I give her a last minute prep on what to expect and then she says, ‘I’m glad I’m going through with this. I can’t deal with it any more and he’s just getting worse. To top it off, he left me a drunken, ranting voicemail on Saturday.’ ‘You have your phone with you?’ ‘Yes.’ We play the voicemail and it’s a full two minutes of ex-boyfriend screaming shit like ‘I should have f***ing killed you when we were together.’ ‘You were always such a b***h.’ ‘I hope you burn to death in a fire.’ I didn’t have time to ask her why the fuck she hadn’t said anything to me about the voicemail before the bailiff called our case. We sit, the judge asks if either side has additional evidence, and I ask for permission to play the voicemail. Ex boyfriend, who didn’t have an attorney, didn’t object, so I played the whole nasty two minute rant in open court. Judge goes ‘We’re going to take a brief recess before I issue my ruling. If the parties want to meet and confer in the hall, they are welcome to.’ Boyfriend knew he was f***ed. We settled the whole damn case then and there. My client got her wish list in terms of custody, supervised visitation, child support, plus the restraining order, to boot.” — night-shark
“I was prosecuting a convenience store owner for luring a young girl, who regularly came into the store, back to a part of the store to grope/fondle and kiss her (child enticement). It was the only section of the store without surveillance camera coverage. They were in the back room for about two minutes and seventeen seconds, per the timestamp on the videos. Of the many arguments the defense put on, one was there was no way there was enough time for anything to happen. In my rebuttal on closing, I asked the jury to imagine what could happen in the room in that amount of time, and I asked them to all close their eyes while I timed out 2 minutes and 17 seconds on my watch, in silence. After about 60 seconds two of the jurors started crying. Knew it was going to be guilty right then.” — Badwolf84
“When I practiced insurance defense. Was handed a file to take over of a slip and fall. Guy tripped on a hose, tore his ACL. The partner had taken the guys depo already so I read the transcript. I’m a Michigan football fan, watched every game for 20 years. This guy testified he was the starting safety for a certain rival for certain years. Also that he graduated with a double major that doesn’t exist at that school. I immediately knew this was false. Partner didn’t understand. Dug deeper, lied about so much stuff unrelated to the fall for no reason. Eventually found high school records from football injuries of head trauma, knee injuries, oh and a slip and fall injury a few months after ours. He also testified he rehabbed an ACL surgery after 1 month. Motion for fraud on the Court filed, immediately settled.” — Someguy469
“When I compared the scanned copy of the deed provided by the other side’s lawyers to the original my client eventually got around to providing. The scanned copy provided by the other side had a witness signature. The original did not.” — WolfeCreation
“My client was accused of brutally murdering a dog. Cop testified that there was no testing of the blood, no body ever found, and admitted it could have, in fact, run away. The eye witness said she could see the killing down the hallway from the dining room. Cop testified there was no hallway and the dining room was on a different level of the house than the killing supposedly took place. Then the person who was leading the lynch mob against my client around town for the last year testified that she had been in the apartment between the two visits by the cop to evaluate the scene. No body, a compromised crime scene, witness who couldn’t see anything, and admission that there was no proof the dog was dead. Closing argument lasted 3 seconds: ‘Your honour, I’m asking for an acquittal.'” — otisscott
“I trapped a defendant pretty badly one time. He testified in a depo he had a green arrow for his left turn and that my client ran the red. Unfortunately for him, the additional turn lane arrow was installed 2 months after the wreck. Case settled for policy limits a week later.” — Lawschoolishell
“Client parked his EV outside of his boyfriend’s condo overnight. He plugged in to an outlet at the condo with the special extension cord for his car. Car got towed by… you guessed it, sleazy fucking tow company. They didn’t even bother to even unplug the charger from the car before starting to tow it away. The charging cord got lost somewhere on the road, and the car’s charging port got destroyed in the process. I advised client to take it to small claims court on his own, and he won handily. Tow companies on call for HOAs and condo associations are almost as sleazy as the collections lawyers HOAs have on retainer.” — moodpecker