History Main / ConvictionByContradiction

19th Apr '18 12:31:18 PM BreadBull
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* Yet another one had a woman who was attacked on the walkway leading up to her house, then the robbers tied her and her family up while robbing the place; the detective, arriving an hour later, noticed his long shadow in front of him on the same path and insisted that she was in on the robbery because she hadn't noticed her attacker's shadows behind her. Because it's not like the angle of the sun would have changed, or she simply hadn't noticed...

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* Yet another one had a woman who was attacked on the walkway leading up to her house, then the robbers tied her and her family up while robbing the place; the detective, arriving an hour later, noticed his long shadow in front of him on the same path and insisted that she was in on the robbery because she hadn't noticed her attacker's shadows behind her. Because it's not like the angle of the sun would have changed, or she simply really hadn't noticed...noticed because she was reading a book or looking in her purse for her keys...
7th Apr '18 8:46:09 AM higgledypiggledy
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* Explicitly averted in Canadian jurisprudence. A famous Supreme Court decision, ''[[http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/scc/doc/1991/1991canlii93/1991canlii93.html R. v. W. (D).]]'', established that trials are never mere credibility contests between the Crown (prosecution) and defence, and that it is not sufficient to disprove the defence's story, but the Crown must itself prove its version of events beyond a reasonable doubt. The ruling introduced an oft-quoted way to explain this:

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* Explicitly averted in Canadian jurisprudence. A famous Supreme Court decision, ''[[http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/scc/doc/1991/1991canlii93/1991canlii93.html R. v. W. (D).]]'', established that trials are never mere credibility contests between the Crown (prosecution) and defence, and that it is not sufficient to disprove the defence's story, but the Crown must itself prove its version of events beyond a reasonable doubt. To put it another way, an accused can be a great big lying liar who lies, and that doesn't mean that they committed the crime or can be found guilty of it. The ruling introduced an oft-quoted way to explain this:
27th Mar '18 1:24:05 AM NNinja
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* In ''Series/SevenDays'', there is an episode where some woman named Delores threatens over the phone to cause catastrophes unless Frank does as she says. Each time he performs a task, she answers a question. One of the question was about who won a certain year's sports championship. She answers correctly—this proves she's really a man impersonating a woman since Delores claims to know Frank personally and Frank has not known any woman who could correctly answer that question. The other possibility is "she" was either lying or delusional about her connection to Frank. Incidentally, this turns out to be true: [[spoiler:Dean Loris doesn't know Frank; he was a homicidal disgruntled ex-NSA employee jealous that he wouldn't get to be the first Chrononaut and wanted to humiliate Frank for doing what he never got the chance to do.]].
25th Mar '18 10:51:02 AM nombretomado
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* In the 1960s, Franchise/CharlieChan played with this trope to sell Volkswagens. In a TV ad, Charlie and company are gathered around the hospital bed of the perp he just fingered, and he explains how the seemingly obvious alibi—the man has his left leg and right arm in casts, therefore he could not have driven the stolen car—is no good after all. ''This'' Volkswagen has a [[UnintentionalPeriodPiece new-fangled]] "automatic stick-shift transmission", so there was no need to work the clutch and shifter.

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* In the 1960s, Franchise/CharlieChan Film/CharlieChan played with this trope to sell Volkswagens. In a TV ad, Charlie and company are gathered around the hospital bed of the perp he just fingered, and he explains how the seemingly obvious alibi—the man has his left leg and right arm in casts, therefore he could not have driven the stolen car—is no good after all. ''This'' Volkswagen has a [[UnintentionalPeriodPiece new-fangled]] "automatic stick-shift transmission", so there was no need to work the clutch and shifter.
18th Mar '18 4:15:53 PM Romagnadvoratrelundar
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** Another case has Haledjian declaring someone's alibi faulty because the person identified the tune a band was playing as "God Save the Queen" rather than "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" (which has the exact same tune), and so knew about a British performing troupe being in town. Many American Creator/GilbertAndSullivan companies play "God Save the Queen" before performances, and as a StandardSnippet, it's ''always'' "God Save the Queen." Even worse, the actual ''name'' of the tune is "National Anthem."

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** Another case has Haledjian declaring someone's alibi faulty because the person identified the tune a band was playing as "God Save the Queen" rather than "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" (which has the exact same tune), and so knew about a British performing troupe being in town. Many American Creator/GilbertAndSullivan companies play "God Save the Queen" before performances, and as a StandardSnippet, it's ''always'' "God Save the Queen." Queen"; he could also simply be an Anglophile. Even worse, the actual ''name'' of the tune is "National Anthem."



** In one of Asimov's short mystery stories, the culprit is a Québécois person using a false identity of an American. The detective tricks him into revealing his true identity by asking him to write the word "Montréal", and he writes it with an ''accent aigu'' on the e, whereas someone who only spoke English wouldn't spell it that way. To rule out innocent explanations for this information, the interrogator establishes by prior questioning that the American identity doesn't speak a word of French. Never mind that you can know about the etymology of words without also knowing the language the word was originally from, or that he might have seen someone else write it "Montréal" and followed suit.

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** In one of Asimov's short mystery stories, the culprit is a Québécois person using a false identity of an American. The detective tricks him into revealing his true identity by asking him to write the word "Montréal", and he writes it with an ''accent aigu'' on the e, whereas someone who only spoke English wouldn't spell it that way. To rule out innocent explanations for this information, the interrogator establishes by prior questioning that the American identity doesn't speak a word of French. French. Never mind that you can know about the etymology of words without also knowing the language the word was originally from, or that he might have seen someone else write it "Montréal" and followed suit.suit, or that "Montréal" is in fact the ''official'' spelling, not only in French but also in English.
20th Feb '18 10:19:25 AM 6
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Added DiffLines:

* In a non-crime example, a teenage boy is accused of being gay in ''{{Series/Glee}}''. He is, but the evidence presented is rather flimsy. The accuser saw him briefly look at a boy who was getting a drink at a water fountain, and she heard another boy who no longer attended their school make a vague statement. In the first instance, he was checking the other boy out, but someone taking a few seconds to look at a person getting a drink often has another explanation than the looker checking said person out. In this case, anything from, 'Yeah, I was thirsty, saw that a member of the club that's been on my case for driving away one of their members was at the fountain, and decided to find a different fountain,' to, 'I have no memory of this happening, but yeah, it's possible I was near said person when they were getting a drink and glanced at them,' would have been viable defences.
17th Feb '18 6:29:57 PM DoctorNemesis
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* Played with in the Literature/NeroWolfe stories; Wolfe is not immune to using these kind of points as reasons for accusing someone of murder, but whenever he does he also freely acknowledges that he's got no actual evidence to support it but is merely offering a plausible hypothesis for why he reached his conclusion. The stories tend to also make the point that in such cases, the suspect isn't being arrested as the killer but is being detained as a material witness (i.e. being held by the police for further questioning and investigation) in the crime. These stories tend to end with an epilogue where Archie Goodwin states that the killer has been convicted, implying that the police were able to find sufficient evidence to build on Wolfe's theory and reach a conviction.

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* Played with in the Literature/NeroWolfe stories; Wolfe is not immune to using these kind of points as reasons for accusing someone of murder, but whenever he does he also freely acknowledges that he's got no actual evidence to support it but is merely offering a plausible hypothesis for why he reached his conclusion. The stories tend to also make the point that in such cases, the suspect isn't being arrested as the killer but is being detained as a material witness (i.e. being held by the police for further questioning and investigation) in the crime.crime, and it's up to the police to find the evidence that will support Wolfe's hypothesis. These stories tend to end with an epilogue where Archie Goodwin states that the killer has been convicted, implying that the police were able to find sufficient evidence to build on Wolfe's theory and reach a conviction.
15th Feb '18 7:07:37 AM BillWoods
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** Another one had a victim killed by having a heavy clock dropped on his head, and there were two murderers. All three suspects claim it was most likely an accident. Person #1's alibi was that he was watching a TV show at the time of the murder. Person #2 hears something fall to the floor from down the hall and runs to investigate, and person #3 was out smoking, then walked in and simply found #1 and #2 standing over the body. The detective says that Person #1 and #2 are guilty for several reasons. One, the clock stopped at 8:51 and no TV show ends at 8:51. This is an analog clock (the stories were written in the 70s) and evidently, there's not the possibility that it might have been simply ''running slowly'' (or that the clock's hands got jarred by the impact). The second one also apparently couldn't have heard the body from the other side of the hall, but it's actually not impossible to hear something heavy fall to the floor, especially if it's a clock heavy enough to kill someone.

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** Another one had a victim killed by having a heavy clock dropped on his head, and there were two murderers. All three suspects claim it was most likely an accident. Person #1's alibi was that he was watching a TV show at the time of the murder. Person #2 hears something fall to the floor from down the hall and runs to investigate, and person #3 was out smoking, then walked in and simply found #1 and #2 standing over the body. The detective says that Person #1 and #2 are guilty for several reasons. One, the clock stopped at 8:51 and no TV show ends at 8:51. This is an analog clock (the stories were written in the 70s) '70s) and evidently, there's not the possibility that it might have been simply ''running slowly'' (or that the clock's hands got jarred by the impact). The second one also apparently couldn't have heard the body from the other side of the hall, but it's actually not impossible to hear something heavy fall to the floor, especially if it's a clock heavy enough to kill someone.



* Parodied in an article from Website/TheOnion about [[http://www.theonion.com/content/node/29537 the boy detective's murder]]. Bugs claims that "at the time the crime was committed, I was at [[PolarBearsAndPenguins the North Pole watching the penguins]]".
* ''Series/BluePeter'' annuals used to feature a regular story in which a detective called [=McCann=] and his nephew Bob would catch a thief after the thief made six (always six) factual errors. This was a fairly good example of the trope because the mistakes were things the suspect would have known if they were who they claimed to be, and merely exposed them as suspicious imposters. The actual proof was that they had the stolen artefact on them.

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* Parodied in an article from Website/TheOnion about [[http://www.[[https://www.theonion.com/content/node/29537 com/idaville-detective-encyclopedia-brown-found-dead-in-lib-1819567098 the boy detective's murder]]. Bugs claims that "at the time the crime was committed, I was at [[PolarBearsAndPenguins the North Pole watching the penguins]]".
* ''Series/BluePeter'' annuals used to feature a regular story in which a detective called [=McCann=] and his nephew Bob would catch a thief after the thief made six (always six) factual errors. This was a fairly good example of the trope because the mistakes were things the suspect would have known if they were who they claimed to be, and merely exposed them as suspicious imposters. The actual proof was that they had the stolen artefact artifact on them.
3rd Feb '18 6:24:36 PM HeroGal2347
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** At least in that instance, the suspect did indeed kill the guy and challenging his version of events would indicate murder. In "Mr. Monk Goes Back to School," Monk zeroes on science teacher Derek Philby for no other reason than he found evidence he hid his wedding ring in his wallet—which meant he was having an affair and lying about it, making him suspect number one in the death of another teacher whom the police assumed (and Monk couldn't prove otherwise) committed suicide. (Although this and the previous entry could possibly be explained by Monk's feelings for his own murdered wife.)

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** At least in that instance, the suspect did indeed kill the guy and challenging his version of events would indicate murder. In "Mr. "[[Recap/MonkS2E1MrMonkGoesBackToSchool Mr. Monk Goes Back to School," School]]," Monk zeroes on science teacher Derek Philby for no other reason than he found evidence he hid his wedding ring in his wallet—which meant he was having an affair and lying about it, making him suspect number one in the death of another teacher whom the police assumed (and Monk couldn't prove otherwise) committed suicide. (Although this and the previous entry could possibly be explained by Monk's feelings for his own murdered wife.)
27th Jan '18 3:04:23 PM eroock
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->"''You don't like the way I phrased an answer. What kind of evidence is that?''"

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->"''You ->''"You don't like the way I phrased an answer. What kind of evidence is that?''"that?"''
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