Most Unbelievable Defenses Criminals Have Tried to Use in Court

Some people are able to get away with murder – sometimes literally. Criminals will go to just about any length to escape responsibility for their crimes, and the country today is awash with bleeding hearts in the justice system that are too often willing to give them what they want. The defenses criminals take to court are crazy, but sometimes they are just crazy enough to help them win. We certainly don’t mean to make light of the seriousness of their offenses or give them any glory for it, but you do have to sort of admire the creativity.


Money Made Me Clueless

In 2013, a teenager who was drunk, speeding, and driving on an invalid license drove into a group of people. The boy who gave himself permission to drive killed four people and injured nine others. The teen, Ethan Couch’s, group of defense attorneys said the boy suffered from “affluenza,” a term they invented to be a cross between “affluent” and “influenza.” The word means that the boy’s wealth didn’t allow him to grasp the magnitude of his actions’ consequences. That’s probably accurate, but a pretty freakin’ lame excuse.

Photo Credit: New York Daily News

But the judge bought it, and Couch’s cluelessness lessened his conviction from 20 years in prison to a sentence of probation and rehab. The teen spent most of his gruesome sentence in a top-notch facility that forced him to enjoy the beautiful weather all day long in sunny California. While his victims’ families mourned the loss of their loved ones, Couch’s “prison” days were spent horseback riding and learning karate, a boring punishment for the affluent youth. This must be why some species eat their young.


Homosexuality Took Me By Surprise

Don’t you hate it when you guess wrong? Well, Jonathan Schmitz can tell you all about that. He was invited onto a talk show where he was to learn who his secret admirer was. When he stepped onstage, he saw a beautiful woman from his apartment complex, Donna Riley. Thinking she was his admirer, Schmitz gave Riley the biggest, wettest kiss he could. However, he was pulled away by a producer who told Schmitz that he was kissing the wrong person; his actual admirer was a man named Scott Amedure, who was, unfortunately, not as good of a kisser.

Photo Credit: Attitude

Schmitz hadn’t been told the truth, but he was actually on a talk show where gay people revealed their crushes. This was not an ideal place to be for a heterosexual man. Although Schmitz was not happy about this, he played along and laughed as though he was tickled pink when Amedure recounted a very intimate fantasy he’d had about Schmidt.

Here’s where an otherwise amusing story takes a darker turn. A few days after they were on the show, Schmitz found a love letter on his door. Figuring it was Amedure, he bought bullets and a gun and went to Amedure’s apartment, planning to penetrate Amedure with something hard. Amedure joyfully confessed that he had written the note, and Schmitz killed him.

At trial, Schmidt’s defense was that he was suffering from diminished capacity because he had been so embarrassed by what happened on the talk show and shocked from finding the note. The evidence showed deliberation and premeditation, but Schmidt’s gay panic defense allowed him to receive a judgment of second-degree murder rather than first-degree. Schmidt now stays away from talk shows.


Not Sleep-Walking but Sleep-Sexing

Photo Credit: Robert Reeves

A woman fell asleep at a house party and awoke to find a man, Jan Luedecke, attempting to rape her. Luedecke claimed that he didn’t know that he was penetrating the woman but awakened to find himself in a bathroom wearing a pink condom. Personally, I hate it when that happens.

A doctor for the defense said that Luedecke had a history of sleep sex and that his night of heavy drinking and drug-consumption worsened his condition. Luedecke was acquitted of the charges, and when the state appealed, he was acquitted again. Luedecke won his case, and he didn’t even have to fall asleep in court to prove his claims to be true.


Photo credit: Randolph Rice

Criminals are not widely known for their intelligence, but occasionally display creativity. When we hear stories like these, we’re not sure whether to laugh at the creativity of the defense, or cry because the culture accepts it. But we choose to laugh, because we still have a job to do.