History Main / OffOnATechnicality

7th May '18 10:02:59 AM nielas
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* An Australian man discovered that his bank would allow him to overdraft his bank account without any limit. He used this pay off his mortgage and then spent the next few years living it up. By the time the problem was discovered, he had over-drafted his account by more than a million dollars. He was convicted of fraud and sent to jail. He represented himself at his appeal and argued that while his actions were immoral they were not actually illegal under Australian law. If he got the money by exploiting a computer glitch, it would be illegal but all his requests for money were actually approved by human bank officials. Fraud requires an element of deception but he never lied to anyone at the bank. Legally, all he did was ask the bank for a loan and the bank gave it to him no-questions-asked. The appeal courts agreed and overturned his conviction on the grounds that no crime was actually committed. He still owed the bank a ton of money but that was a civil matter. The bank seized all his assets but forgave the rest of the debt in order to avoid further bad publicity.
23rd Apr '18 11:40:25 PM Kazmahu
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** The first being classic HollywoodLaw, while the second might be too, if the tear gas was in plain sight when the police officer saw it.

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** The first being classic HollywoodLaw, while the second might be too, if the tear gas was in plain sight when the police officer saw it. [[note]]Miranda Rights only apply to making any statements made after arrest admissible in court; any other evidence still stands up, and if a suspect needs an interpreter, SOP is to have them repeat the rights just to be on the safe side. And a warrant is only needed to actually ''search'' a premises, if the officer is invited in and seeds an illegal item in plain sight, they absolutely have the right to take action.[[/note]]


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* Inverted in ''Series/NCISLosAngeles'', where a technicality is used to nail the perpetrator. In this case, the guilty party (a civilian) had murdered a marine on patrol at the Mexican border, having lured him over the border line so the crime wasn't committed on US soil and he can't be charged there. He admits to all this under interrogation, pointing out NCIS now have nothing to charge him with and no right to detain him. G thanks him for his cooperation and points out that since the perp knowingly attacked an on-duty marine, he's now an enemy combatant. Instead of the legal system with its rights and pre-hearings, he gets to be detained indefinitely as a POW in a military prison, and tried by a military court, and this interview is absolutely admissible as evidence. The perp [[OhCrap panics and tried to backpedal]], only for G to declare the interrogation complete and wish him luck.
16th Apr '18 4:55:04 PM StarSword
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* {{Inverted}} in ''Film/TheATeam''. [[spoiler:The team successfully clears their name of the crime they were originally convicted of and send a gang of crooked CIA agents and PrivateMilitaryContractors to prison... and are promptly re-arrested on the technicality that "it's still illegal to break out of jail." Captain Sosa tells her superior to his face, [[PrecisionFStrike "This is chickenshit, sir."]]]]
31st Mar '18 6:19:49 PM Malady
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* Episode 35 of ''Series/TokusouSentaiDekaranger'' features this as part of the backstory. The daughter of a Special Police detective was shot and killed several years ago. There were three suspects, but since they were unable which of them fired the gun, [[KarmaHoudini the three were let go]]. [[spoiler: This prompts the aforementioned detective to steal said gun from the evidence storage and [[VigilanteExecution use it to kill his daughter's murderers with his own hands]].]]

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* Episode 35 of ''Series/TokusouSentaiDekaranger'' features this as part of the backstory. The daughter of a Special Police detective was shot and killed several years ago. There were three suspects, but since they were unable to determine which of them fired the gun, [[KarmaHoudini the three were let go]]. [[spoiler: This prompts the aforementioned detective to steal said gun from the evidence storage and [[VigilanteExecution use it to kill his daughter's murderers with his own hands]].]]
31st Mar '18 4:28:30 PM FoxBluereaver
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* Episode 35 of ''Series/TokusouSentaiDekaranger'' features this as part of the backstory. The daughter of a Special Police detective was shot and killed several years ago. There were three suspects, but since they were unable which of them fired the gun, [[KarmaHoudini the three were let go]]. [[spoiler: This prompts the aforementioned detective to steal said gun from the evidence storage and [[VigilanteExecution use it to kill his daughter's murderers with his own hands]].]]
30th Mar '18 9:35:56 PM StarSword
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The AmoralAttorney with [[MyRuleFuIsStrongerThanYours Rule Fu Stronger Than Yours]] loves taking advantage of this. The justice system may counteract it by JusticeByOtherLegalMeans.

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The AmoralAttorney with [[MyRuleFuIsStrongerThanYours Rule Fu Stronger Than Yours]] loves taking advantage of this. The justice system may counteract it by JusticeByOtherLegalMeans. The InsanityDefense is a version of this where the defendant (or their advocate) admits they did it but argues they aren't responsible for their actions because they were mentally incapable of determining right from wrong at the time.
30th Mar '18 9:32:39 PM StarSword
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* ''Film/WindRiver'': The coroner's report on Natalie's body acknowledges that she was raped, but he legally has to list the cause of death as the extreme cold rather than as a homicide (even though it was only through the actions of her rapist that she was in a position to die of cold to begin with). This infuriates FBIAgent Jane Banner, as she knows her boss won't let her stay on the case unless it's declared a murder. She resolves the problem by simply not reporting in for as long as possible.
8th Mar '18 4:59:46 PM Lloigor
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** Following Harry's trial for a CrimeOfSelfDefense where he was proven innocent since he was saving his and Dudley's ''souls'' by casting a patronus in front of his muggle cousin (who already knows about magic anyway) in ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix'' the Ministry spun the story to make it sound like he got Off on a Technicality. [[spoiler: It then turns out that one of their particularly nasty members is secretly responsible for the attack in the first place, precisely to provoke him into using magic so they could prosecute him for it, and she gets away with it]].

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** Following Harry's trial for a CrimeOfSelfDefense where he was proven innocent since he was saving his and Dudley's ''souls'' by casting a patronus in front of his muggle cousin (who already knows about magic anyway) in ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix'' the Ministry spun the story to make it sound like he got Off on a Technicality. [[spoiler: It then turns out that one of their particularly nasty members is secretly responsible for the attack in the first place, precisely to provoke him into using magic so they could prosecute him for it, and she gets away with it]].it.]]
2nd Mar '18 1:08:24 PM CheeseDogX
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* As an example of how people think this trope is TruthInTelevision, Creator/AndersonCooper reported a story about a young woman who robbed a bank, [[WhatAnIdiot and then bragged about it on Youtube]]. She even flashed the money she'd stolen in front of the camera. The police found out about the video, and compared it to footage from the robbery, and noticed that she was wearing the same clothes in both. They promptly went to her house and arrested her. A reporter filmed the arrest from a safe distance. As she was being put in the squad car, the robber looked right at the camera and said "They didn't read me my rights," with a smile on her face showing that she thought she was about to get off scot-free. She probably sobered up quickly when her lawyer explained the situation to her.
17th Dec '17 2:04:35 PM rjd1922
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** An interesting variant happens in the case of poor [[spoiler:Yanni Yogi]]. He really ''was'' innocent of murdering [[spoiler:Gregory Edgeworth]], but his defense attorney couldn't be bothered to make a solid case for it. Instead, [[spoiler:he had Yogi plead insanity from oxygen deprivation (insanity from sleep deprivation in the movie) and only got him off on the technicality that Yogi wasn't in control of his actions at the time.]] This ends up completely ruining the life of [[spoiler:Yanni (the movie goes into great detail over how everyone remained convinced that he did it and harassed him for being a murderer until his wife was DrivenToSuicide) as well as the life of Misty Fey (who was [[FridgeLogic somehow]] believed to be a fraud for naming the wrong person, even though by the case's verdict, Yogi ''did'' commit the crime).]] For his part, Phoenix refuses to resort to such tactics to get his clients found innocent.

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** An interesting variant happens in the case of poor [[spoiler:Yanni Yogi]].Yogi]] in the first game. He really ''was'' innocent of murdering [[spoiler:Gregory Edgeworth]], but his defense attorney couldn't be bothered to make a solid case for it. Instead, [[spoiler:he had Yogi plead insanity from oxygen deprivation (insanity from sleep deprivation in [[Film/AceAttorney the movie) movie]]) and only got him off on the technicality that Yogi wasn't in control of his actions at the time.]] This ends up completely ruining the life of [[spoiler:Yanni (the movie goes into great detail over how everyone remained convinced that he did it and harassed him for being a murderer until his wife was DrivenToSuicide) as well as the life of Misty Fey (who was [[FridgeLogic somehow]] believed to be a fraud for naming the wrong person, even though by the case's verdict, Yogi ''did'' commit the crime).]] For his part, Phoenix refuses to resort to such tactics to get his clients found innocent.innocent.
** The killer of the bonus fifth case in the first game, [[spoiler:Police Chief Damon Gant]], tries to invoke this by getting the evidence proving their guilt declared illegal by pointing out that Phoenix didn't present it the first time he was asked to. [[MyRuleFuIsStrongerThanYours Phoenix is able to show it was legal by pointing out that the killer only linked the evidence to the case after the first time he was asked to present it]].
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.OffOnATechnicality