History Main / ConvictionByContradiction

2nd Feb '16 12:04:08 PM FordPrefect
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* This is one of the reasons you're never supposed to talk to police officers unless there's a lawyer present. It's quite easy to say something that could be misconstrued as suspicious or incriminating, and police in RealLife are more diligent than in fiction about using holes in a person's statement as a starting point to single out the suspect(s) who will be investigated more thoroughly via obtaining warrants and gather the real evidence that's used in a conviction. When the police tell you [[MirandaRights anything you say "can and will" be used against you]] they aren't kidding. Conventional legal wisdom is to invoke your right to an attorney and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8z7NC5sgik never speak]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08fZQWjDVKE to police officers]] if you think the police suspect you of a crime. The lawyer is there as a witness.
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* This is one of the reasons you're never supposed to talk to police officers unless there's a lawyer present. It's quite easy to say something that could be misconstrued as suspicious or incriminating, and police in RealLife are more diligent than in fiction about using holes in a person's statement as a starting point to single out the suspect(s) who will be investigated more thoroughly via obtaining warrants and gather the real evidence that's used in a conviction. When the police tell you [[MirandaRights anything you say "can and will" be used against you]] you]], they aren't kidding. Conventional legal wisdom is to invoke your right to an attorney and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8z7NC5sgik never speak]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08fZQWjDVKE to police officers]] if you think the police suspect you of a crime. The lawyer is there as a witness.
2nd Feb '16 12:00:44 PM FordPrefect
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* A "witness" trying to frame a boy for the theft of a pocket knife claims the boy took the knife with his right hand, and put it in his pocket while running away. He is found innocent because he has a cast on his left hand and the knife was found in his left pants pocket (planted there by the "witness") and (according to the answers section at least) it's impossible to put a pocket knife in your left pants pocket with your right hand while running. Leaving aside that Encyclopedia was assuming an impossibility out of a difficult, and highly improbable physical stunt, the mere likelihood of him putting the knife in his left pocket after he'd stopped running never occurred to him. Of course, since the inconsistency here is being used on the defendant's behalf to ''create'' reasonable doubt, it's more valid than most of the other examples on this page.
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* A "witness" trying to frame a boy for the theft of a pocket knife claims the boy took the knife with his right hand, and put it in his pocket while running away. He is found innocent because he has a cast on his left hand and the knife was found in his left pants pocket (planted there by the "witness") and (according to the answers section at least) it's impossible to put a pocket knife in your left pants pocket with your right hand while running. Leaving aside that Encyclopedia was assuming an impossibility out of a difficult, difficult and highly improbable physical stunt, the mere likelihood of him putting the knife in his left pocket after he'd stopped running never occurred to him. Of course, since the inconsistency here is being used on the defendant's behalf to ''create'' reasonable doubt, it's more valid than most of the other examples on this page.
2nd Feb '16 11:58:43 AM FordPrefect
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For this reason, most examples realistically focus on the investigative side, where the contradiction satisfies the significantly lower standard of proof required to ''arrest'' someone, without dwelling on the FridgeHorror of whether the merits of the case meet the "Prima facie" burden required to ''convict'' them. However, some stories allow the {{handwave}} that the contradiction inevitably leads to the find of ''real'' evidence; or else unnerves the villain into VillainDecay and MotiveRant. As such, {{Justifying Edit}}s are not necessary, and points that have these still fit if the actual "conviction" is simply tacked on to the end of the story.
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For this reason, most examples realistically focus on the investigative side, where the contradiction satisfies the significantly lower standard of proof required to ''arrest'' someone, without dwelling on the FridgeHorror of whether the merits of the case meet the "Prima facie" burden required to ''convict'' them. However, some stories allow the {{handwave}} that the contradiction inevitably leads to the find discovery of ''real'' evidence; evidence, or else unnerves the villain into VillainDecay and MotiveRant. As such, {{Justifying Edit}}s are not necessary, and points that have these still fit if the actual "conviction" is simply tacked on to the end of the story.
2nd Feb '16 11:57:54 AM FordPrefect
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Let's take an example. Joe is murdered at 8 pm on Saturday. One of his associates, Bob, when asked by the police, lied and said he was at home with his wife. Does this mean he's guilty? No, not necessarily. It could mean he doesn't want his wife to find out that he was with his girlfriend at the time. Or maybe, if he told the truth, he would be able to prove conclusively that he didn't kill Joe, only unfortunately the reason is because at the time Joe was murdered, Bob was five miles away robbing a liquor store. Or maybe he robbed the liquor store then went to see his girlfriend.
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Let's take an example. Joe is murdered at 8 pm on Saturday. One of his associates, Bob, when asked by the police, lied and said he was at home with his wife. Does this mean he's guilty? No, not necessarily. It could mean Maybe he was with his girlfriend and doesn't want his wife to find out that out, or he was with his girlfriend at the time. Or maybe, if he told the truth, he would be able to prove conclusively that he didn't kill Joe, only unfortunately the reason is because at the time Joe was murdered, Bob was five miles away robbing a liquor store. Or store, or [[BreadEggsBreadedEggs maybe he robbed the liquor store then went to see his girlfriend. girlfriend]].
2nd Feb '16 11:56:04 AM FordPrefect
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The level to which this trope is {{justified|Trope}} depends on what the contradiction is being used to prove. A novel explanation for a baffling set of circumstances can give the police a new avenue for their investigation. Inconsistencies in a person's story may not be enough to prove they committed a crime but it can prove they lied to the police and that would be enough to pursue warrants or get them on a charge such as [[EmptyCopThreat obstruction of justice]] that could lead to other more tangible forms of evidence. However, in countries where the accused is innocent until proven guilty, a "logical flaw" in the perp's alibi will make for a strong circumstantial case at best, but it far from meets the standard of proof of "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt".
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The level to which this trope is {{justified|Trope}} depends on what the contradiction is being used to prove. A novel explanation for a baffling set of circumstances can give the police a new avenue for their investigation. Inconsistencies in a person's story may not be enough to prove they committed a crime but it can prove they lied to the police and that would be enough to pursue warrants or get them on a charge such as [[EmptyCopThreat obstruction of justice]] that could lead to other more tangible forms of evidence. However, in countries where the accused is innocent until proven guilty, a "logical flaw" in the perp's alibi will make for a strong circumstantial case at best, but it and falls far from meets short of meeting the standard of proof of "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt".
22nd Jan '16 6:06:01 AM Zadia
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** In one case, the question of whether or not a ring bearing a very valuable diamond was stolen or legally bequeathed comes down to the accusing party's testimony. She says that when she saw the deceased for the last time (when he supposedly bequeathed it to her), he was reading a book and wearing the ring on his right hand, so when he turned a page the sapphire flashed brilliantly. Haledjian figures that the 'witness' is lying because the dead man was reading a book written in Hebrew before he died--and Hebrew is written right to left. The man would have been turning the left page with his left hand, not the right page with his right hand... But most people turn the page with their ''dominant'' hand, regardless of direction. If Haledjian had been correct here, then people would use a different hand to flip back through a book than to flip forward through it. Even animators knew this wasn't true.
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** In one case, the question of whether or not a ring bearing a very valuable diamond jewel was stolen or legally bequeathed comes down to the accusing party's testimony. She says that when she saw the deceased for the last time (when he supposedly bequeathed it to her), he was reading a book and wearing the ring on his right hand, so when he turned a page the sapphire gem flashed brilliantly. Haledjian figures that the 'witness' is lying because the dead man was reading a book written in Hebrew before he died--and Hebrew is written right to left. The man would have been turning the left page with his left hand, not the right page with his right hand... But most people turn the page with their ''dominant'' hand, regardless of direction. If Haledjian had been correct here, then people would use a different hand to flip back through a book than to flip forward through it. Even animators knew this wasn't true.
15th Jan '16 8:26:25 PM Kid
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** However, trying to tell truth or falsehood by someone's behaviors like this is questionably useful at best. [[http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1989-13781-001 One study]] suggested that training to detect these sort of details did not increase accuracy in detecting truth or falsehood, and in fact the longer a cop did his job the *worse* he became at determining truth from falsehood. This has led to [[http://www.salon.com/2012/09/16/can_we_detect_when_someones_lying/ people ending up in jail]] due to not being shocked enough, or too shocked, about a death. The reason behind this is simple: when you focus too much on ''behavior'' to tell if someone is lying, you stop focusing on the best way to tell -- their story simply doesn't add up.
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** However, trying to tell truth or falsehood by someone's behaviors like this is questionably useful at best. [[http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1989-13781-001 One study]] suggested that training to detect these sort of details did not increase accuracy in detecting truth or falsehood, and in fact the longer a cop did his job the *worse* ''worse'' he became at determining truth from falsehood. This has led to [[http://www.salon.com/2012/09/16/can_we_detect_when_someones_lying/ people ending up in jail]] due to not being shocked enough, or too shocked, about a death. The reason behind this is simple: when you focus too much on ''behavior'' to tell if someone is lying, you stop focusing on the best way to tell -- their story simply doesn't add up.
7th Jan '16 2:53:34 PM NotThisThing
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* In two of the [[MultipleEndings three endings]] to ''Film/{{Clue}}'', Wadsworth deduces that the cook used to work for Mrs. Peacock's, and that Mrs. Peacock had killed her, because Mrs. Peacock said that what the cook had made for dinner was one of her favorite recipes--"and monkey's brains, though popular in Cantonese cuisine, are not often to be found in Washington, D.C."
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* In two of the [[MultipleEndings three endings]] to ''Film/{{Clue}}'', Wadsworth deduces that the cook used to work for Mrs. Peacock's, and Peacock [[spoiler:and that Mrs. Peacock had killed her, her]] because Mrs. Peacock said that what the cook had made for dinner was one of her favorite recipes--"and recipes "and monkey's brains, though popular in Cantonese cuisine, are not often to be found in Washington, D.C."
7th Jan '16 9:42:59 AM FuzzyBoots
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Added DiffLines:
* In ''Theatre/ThePajamaPartyMurders'', Pettibone's deduction of the murderer relies on contradictions with old secondhand information and things that only he has observed. Of course, they then admit to the crime and pull a gun.
3rd Jan '16 2:44:43 PM Morgenthaler
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* In ''The Final Cut'', Creator/RobinWilliams' character concludes that a man he sees in a recording is someone he met years earlier when they were boys, because he cleans his glasses on his shirt. Most people who wear glasses will clean them on their shirt if a more suitable cloth is not available.
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* In ''The Final Cut'', ''Film/TheFinalCut'', Creator/RobinWilliams' character concludes that a man he sees in a recording is someone he met years earlier when they were boys, because he cleans his glasses on his shirt. Most people who wear glasses will clean them on their shirt if a more suitable cloth is not available.
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