Hollywood Law refers to a fictitious legal situation which in no way resembles the actual legal system in the place portrayed, but rather is [[RuleOfDrama played up for dramatic purposes]]. Since the ins and outs of the legal system in RealLife are far less dramatic and tense than anything the average viewer would want to sit still for, it's considered one of the many AcceptableBreaksFromReality for Hollywood to prioritize drama over factual accuracy about the legal system, especially when it comes to shows not directly related to law enforcement. Even in works that focus on the legal system, Hollywood will over-dramatize it to the point of trotting out things that would be disallowed in real life, or misuse a valid aspect of the law without regard to any actual procedural constraints that would prevent it being misused so blatantly.

At the extreme, many a BrokenAesop occurs when Hollywood Law is used to debate the effectiveness of the legal system itself. For instance, depicting violent criminals getting OffOnATechnicality via some oversimplified nuance (such as forgetting to dot the 'i' on the arrest warrant) to suggest that we should just use a simpler and common sense-based legal system that looks more lightly on police or prosecutorial misconduct or trust in the VigilanteMan to clean up after the government's failings.

Unfortunately, the media exerts a pervasive influence in people's perceptions by being the average viewer's most easily-accessible window into the justice system; after all, most people's only ''direct'' contact with the real legal system are traffic offenses and divorce. Some of the most common misrepresentations widely used in dramatic fiction can [[RealityIsUnrealistic fuel misconceptions in the audience]] if they believe these depictions accurately reflect the justice system in real life, and can influence how they vote in elections or result in TheCSIEffect when they sit on a jury, [[TelevisionIsTryingToKillUs with disastrous results]].

Note that it only falls into Hollywood Law if someone (like the opposing counsel) is aware of the improper conduct/law and fails to object or call anyone on it without good reason. If both sides agree to an unusual arrangement (surprise witnesses, last-minute evidence, even calling the prosecution as a witness), it's not unrealistic for a judge to allow it. Or if a judge and a lawyer have an ''ex parte'' meeting without opposing counsel present but they agree to keep it a secret (it would be illegal, but such things happen). Also, a setting that is LikeRealityUnlessNoted might have fictional aspects of the law under "noted", that explain things you might see as Hollywood Law, such as a SuperRegistrationAct in a superhero setting that lets superheroes testify without revealing their SecretIdentity.
For a steady supply of examples, see the blog at lawandthemultiverse.com, and its outgrowth book THE LAW OF SUPERHEROES.

[[folder:Common examples:]]
* Victim of the System: An innocent character is arrested at the drop of a hat for some legitimate but otherwise minor offense that does not carry such a harsh punishment in the real world or wrongfully convicted/sued/imprisoned/executed. While innocent people do get wrongfully convicted in real life (indeed, this is why The Innocence Project exists), fiction will exaggerate how often or how easy it is for the legal system to railroad an innocent person.
* The Strip-Search: A person is subjected to humiliating police procedures (strip searches, cavity searches, etc). Typically, such procedures are reserved for persons for which there is a reasonable suspicion that they are smuggling either drugs or weapons, and they are limited to such[[note]]The US Supreme Court in 2008 ruled ''[[http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/08pdf/08-479.pdf Safford v. Redding]]'' against a school district when a 13-year-old Arizona girl was strip-searched by school officials looking for ibuprofen[[/note]]; however, Hollywood extends the right of police or airport security to do a deep cavity search on anyone, mostly due to RuleOfFunny in commercials (e.g. the ''Sierra Mist'' "Airport scene" sketch) or in movies (e.g. ''Wayne's World'').
* The Cornered Stool Pigeon: This trope involves a lawyer who [[ConvictionByContradiction "corners" a lying witness, catching him or her in a lie and calling them on it]]; instead of invoking their 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination or just staying silent, the witness breaks down and confesses everything on the spot--while the opposing counsel looks on and says nothing. This often involves a lawyer badgering and bullying the witness into a confession. In {{real life}}, a witness will typically stick to their story even when caught in a lie, or the opposing counsel will intervene at the very least to confer with them and prepare for their questioning. However, if a witness on the stand declines to answer a question, the attorney can have them compelled or get any prior testimony thrown out.
* The Ambush: Similar to The Cornered Stool Pigeon, this involves the "hero" lawyer "ambushing" a testifying suspect by suddenly introducing hitherto unknown evidence, which absolutely proves the suspect to be guilty. In a real-life criminal court, both sides have to make available all evidence they intend to use ''before'' the trial; the prosecution in particular has to produce for the defense any exculpatory evidence in the government's possession that might exonerate the defendant (while the defense is actively barred from sharing any evidence that might incriminate their client). This goes for "surprise witnesses" as well; with rare exceptions, witnesses must be approved by the court in order to be admitted to testify. In a civil suit, however, the plaintiff and defendant both must turn over any evidence properly requested, without exception.
* OffOnATechnicality: A ruthless criminal-typically a killer-is released on a "technicality" (i.e. a meaningless legal slip-up in bureaucratic procedure) despite being proven absolutely ''guilty'' of the heinous crime in question. This trope serves to spark cheap outrage at an obvious miscarriage of justice-as well as outrage and disrespect at the legal system in general. The most common use is the "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exclusionary_Rule Fruit of the Poisonous Tree]]" loophole, whereby an error in one aspect of the government's case suddenly precludes the whole batch of validly-obtained evidence that came as a result of it, regardless of the nature of the initial error. In reality, such "loopholes" are not the result of mere obscure legal games, but rather are due to serious policy concerns such as sloppy police work or vague legal definitions, or serious rights violations by police or prosecutors (i.e. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reversible_error reversible errors]]) and the remedy of inadmissibility is generally intended to deter police from trodding on the rights of citizens (guilty or innocent) and punish those who do; meanwhile actual "technicalities" are typically overruled as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmless_error harmless errors]]. Hollywood will not only exaggerate just how common these technicalities occur but will also ignore valid exceptions such as good faith (if the police had reason to believe when they obtained some evidence, then it's admissible, even when it turns out they didn't have legal permission-say, the warrant misstated an address) independent source (the police discovered the same evidence through another legal means) or inevitable discovery (they would have found the evidence legally anyway, so it's let in) to push through the defendant's release.
* "My Hands are Tied": Indifferent bureaucrats such as police, judges or other persons in government, refuse to help a legal victim, claiming that "there's nothing they can do" against an obvious injustice, or grant a warrant against a suspect due to lack of tangible evidence or ThereShouldBeALaw but isn't, resulting in the suspect's guilt being NotProven. While these types of situations can exist (as with domestic violence), it's typically exaggerated solely to spark outrage in the audience.
* Colombian Drug Lords, aka the ChewbaccaDefense: It is not permitted for the defense to offer unusual defenses without first showing proof. Attempting to call seemingly unrelated witnesses or enter such things as evidence will not be allowed. Your claim of a big conspiracy or that someone else committed the crime will not be permitted unless you have some solid proof before they allow you to call someone as a witness. The InsanityDefense applies as well; you need a credible psychiatric expert to confirm your client isn't just making up his story about hearing voices to sway the jury. This rule doesn't apply to a lawyer's "closing statements" though, hence the accusation from Johnny Cochran at the end of the OJ Simpson trial that unidentified "Columbian drug lords" were responsible, the TropeNamer here (and the parody from ''Series/SouthPark'' providing the actual TropeNamer).
* One very common mistake is when someone in the courtroom audience is called to the witness stand. Witnesses are ''not'' permitted to attend the trial or talk to other witnesses about the case before they testify. If a witness is finished with their testimony and it is agreed they will not be called back, then they can attend the rest of the trial. Calling the prosecutor to the stand is possible if TheJudge allows it, but almost never done, although it happened once in the famous [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scopes_Trial Scopes "monkey" trial]] when defense attorney Clarence Darrow requested that prosecuting attorney William Jennings Bryan take the witness stand [[note]]Not because he was the prosecutor, mind, but because Bryan was an expert on Literature/TheBible, whose account of creation Darrow wanted to critique. Bryan only agreed to do this in exchange for being able to question Darrow in return, but this ended up not happening, as the judge threw out this testimony as it wasn't legally relevant--the Butler Act, which Scopes was accused of violating, only required that evolution be taught for a conviction. The defense had already stipulated he did this, so Darrow was arguing to the court of public opinion in criticizing the idea of creationism--not to the jury, who were a lost cause. Darrow didn't want to win at trial anyway, but appeal the guilty verdict on the basis that the Butler Act violated the state constitution--which he did, but the Tennessee Supreme Court reversed it on a technicality, rather than constitutional grounds. The Butler Act stayed in force until 1967, though no one else was prosecuted under it. Scopes hadn't actually violated the law anyway--he volunteered to stand as a test case after the ACLU offered to represent anyone doing so. He was encouraged by local bigwigs in town, who thought it could drum up much needed money from tourism at a time when they were experiencing high unemployment due to the mine that most local men worked at shutting down. Tennessee State University also openly violated the law, teaching evolution in biology without ever being prosecuted until it was repealed. [[AndKnowingIsHalfTheBattle And now you know]].[[/note]].
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_nullification Jury Nullification]]: when the defense argues "Yes, my client did exactly what the government says he did. But the law sucks/is unfair, so you should find him not guilty anyway." Technically the jury can also do the inverse, i.e. declaring an innocent man guilty, but judges are empowered to strike down guilty verdicts to prevent this from happening. Jury nullification is technically ''perjury'', the jurors having been sworn against it. It also undermines [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_powers separation of powers]]: judges and juries are supposed to reach a verdict according to existing laws, ''not'' to judge the laws themselves--that's the legislature's job. Even though it's been upheld time and time again ([[CreatorProvincialism in the US]]) that the jurors aren't liable and their decisions hold, it certainly can't be ''suggested'' by the defense. On the other hand, the prosecution can't argue against it because some courts (and state constitutions) have held it to be a right of the jury that the defense is simply forbidden from instructing them about. For this reason, Hollywood defense lawyers sandwich the "nullification" argument within another legally viable one, such as in an episode of ''L.A. Law'' in which a rapist, a diplomat from a sexist country, was released on Diplomatic Immunity and his victim killed him in revenge. In her trial, her attorney told the jury to use the "[[InsanityDefense temporary insanity]]" defense (notwithstanding that there is no legal concept of "temporary insanity," although there is a somewhat related concept of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatism_%28law%29 "automatism"]], though it would not apply here), saying that this is the ''only'' way that they could acquit her, but really it was the only way for the defense to legally ask the jury to acquit her.
** Also, this is an [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgment ongoing controversial issue]]; people have been [[BotheringByTheBook harassed for various "unrelated" reasons]] (they can't be arrested for the act itself; how do you keep a jury from being informed about jury nullification if informing juries is the crime for which they are being tried) for passing out [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fully_Informed_Jury_Association FIJA]] pamphlets outside courthouses. During the jury selection process, lawyers and judges usually would ask a few roundabout questions (generally something to the tune of "do you have any beliefs that would prevent your from making a decision based strictly on the law?") to gauge if a potential juror is likely to nullify, people who say "yes" would probably be disqualified on short order.
** A similar such law applies in British jurisdictions, commonly known as "the Rule in ''Stonehouse''." Effectively the rule is that a judge ''cannot'' direct a jury to find a person guilty of a crime (although he can direct the jury to find them not guilty.) Lawyers can't resort to that in appeals to juries, though, because it's a breach of their ethics: they cannot ask a jury to ignore the law they are sworn to uphold. But accused people [[AFoolForAClient representing *themselves*]] in politically charged cases have been known to resort to this defense and be successful with it.
* Non-Extradition Countries: Very often, TV shows and films will have a character run away to a South American country (usual examples being Brazil or Venezuela) under the pretense that the US has no extradition with them. In fact, the US has extradition treaties with every country in the western hemisphere (though there were periods where some South American countries did not have extradition treaties with the US--for example, Brazil's only came into effect in the mid-sixties, meaning it would make sense in stories written or taking place before that time period, such as ''Film/TheProducers'', which is set in 1958). And even if there is no extradition treaty, that doesn't mean that the country you're living in ''can't'' turn you over to the nation you committed a crime in if the host country decides it is in their best interests to do so, it just means that there is no standard process for the nation seeking your arrest to request it, and little they can do to your host country if they don't feel like honoring that request.
** Even with a treaty in place, however, the host country can refuse for several reasons, most notably if the fugitive is a citizen of that country.
* The Judge Takes Control: A judge, if sufficiently convinced that no reasonable jury could reach the verdict they have reached, may issue what is called a Directed Verdict or Judgement of Acquittal before the jury decides, or issue this after they already have, thus vacating the jury's decision. Since in the U.S. the Fifth Amendment prohibits an acquittal from being overturned, the judge can only do this in the defendant's favor. Thus, if the jury finds him guilty, the judge can still acquit him.[[note]]This is part of the protection against double jeopardy, i.e. being tried for the same crime twice. An exception is if the defendant was never in jeopardy to begin with, such as by bribing the jury, as Al Capone unsuccessfully tried to do. If this were proven, the judgment could be reversed, even if the judge or jury had formally acquitted them--see ''Harry Aleman vs. Judges of the Criminal Division, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, et al., 1998''[[http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1420701.html]]. It also doesn't apply when the defense appeals the case and receives a retrial, as their waiving the right--it's something they want done, obviously.[[/note]] But if a jury acquits them, even the worst Judge Hangemall cannot overrule them to find the defendant guilty. A judge's decision to set aside a verdict of guilty is appealable, and the original decision can be reinstated. However, if they acquit a defendant on their own before the jury has, this cannot be appealed, just like acquittal by jury verdict. Likewise, a judge does not have the power to issue a guilty verdict if the prosecution drops the charges.
** None of this fancy business applies in civil trials, however; the judge can render final (if appealable) judgment at five discrete points (in the US at any rate):
### After the defendant files his/her answer (judgment on the pleadings, most often a defendant's motion to dismiss; amounts to "Look, Your Honor, even if what they say is true, we still win."[[labelnote:e.g.]]"He punched me in the nose, he puts up no recognized defense, there is ''no way'' a jury could find for him, can we just get this over with?"[[/labelnote]]),
### During or after discovery (summary judgment; amounts to "Your Honor, anything they say at trial won't change a jury's verdict in our favor" [[labelnote:e.g.]]"As you can see from the evidence exchanged, I was a thousand miles away when he claims I punched him in the nose, and I have this recording from national television and these travel documents to prove it! Can we just go home now?"[[/labelnote]]),
### After the plaintiff finishes making his/her case (judgment as a matter of law--JMOL for short--or directed verdict, depending on jurisdiction). Only the defense can move at this point-amounts to "Your Honor, now you've heard everything they have to say, no jury could find against us."[[labelnote:e.g.]]"Look, everyone he called as a witness said the guy who punched him in the nose was Asian. I'm black! Can we just go home now?"[[/labelnote]])
### After the defense finishes making its case (JMOL/directed verdict, again based on jurisdiction; both sides may move),
### And after the jury reaches a verdict (JMOL or judgment ''[[AltumVidetur non obstante veredicto]]''--"notwithstanding the verdict"; amounts to, "Your Honor, the jury was clearly unreasonable."[[labelnote:e.g.]]"Look, even though his witnesses clearly said the dude who punched him in the nose was Asian, and I'm black, the jury found for the plaintiff! Clearly he paid them off or they're all racists or something."[[/labelnote]]).
** In all these cases, the judge may find for the defense or for the plaintiff if either side has met the applicable burden (which changes; for instance, at summary judgment the moving party must show that there is no "genuine issue of material fact", while at pleadings the moving party must show that the opposing party's plea is "implausible on its face.")
** Of course, there are many countries (Germany and the Netherlands, for example) where there is no such thing as a "jury" and the judge (or judges-many countries try cases using panels of three) ''is'' in control all the time. In many of those countries the prosecution can also appeal an acquittal, or a lenient sentence.
* Hollywood/TV interrogations: Real interrogations are rarely as exciting, or quick, as portrayed in media. Police are very careful during interrogations not to lead, badger, or abuse a suspect, and risk a good defense attorney having the testimony be suppressed as evidence. Particularly in major felony crimes (the focus of most TV crime shows), interrogations can last hours or even days, and are mostly boring question-and-answer sessions designed to wear a suspect down over time. Stereotypical techniques like yelling, insulting, "good cop/bad cop", and other aggressive interrogation techniques are used whenever police think they are useful, and they can get away with them. Those situations just aren't as common as Hollywood would have you believe, largely because serious civil-rights actions in the mid-to-late 20th century exposed their rampant use of "third degree" police tactics including torture, psychological manipulation, and various other atrocious interrogation methods-which often were ''excused'' by both police and the US Supreme Court. Furthermore, while police are allowed to lie to suspects about certain things like the evidence against them, they are definitely not allowed to lie about the legal consequences of a confession (for instance, getting a guy to confess to attempted murder by giving him the 'Shoot the Dead Guy' spiel down below).
* MirandaRights: They must be read to every accused criminal upon arrest, and if Miranda rights are not read, the charges must be dismissed and the prisoner released... or so the misconception would have it. Miranda rights have to be read to a suspect before police ask questions about the crime, if he is in their custody at the time. If the police do not ask any questions, then Miranda rights do not apply. Anything a suspect says at the time of arrest is voluntary, so police rarely give Miranda warnings ''then'' for that very reason (moreover, if you're being ''arrested'', the police probably don't have too many pressing questions to ask you). Furthermore, the remedy for failure to advise the accused of Miranda rights, when the officer is required to do so, is to exclude the arrestee's statement and any evidence discovered as a result of that statement from being used against him at trial. It does not invalidate the arrest, so long as the arrest is based upon other evidence.
** This one is a very common misunderstanding in real life (and the bane of anyone familiar with the US legal system who gets a 3AM call from a friend wondering if their arrest for intoxication was valid because the cop didn't read them their rights, man). The critical aspects of MirandaRights are in the right to counsel and the right to refuse ''questioning''--but these rights only apply once a suspect is no longer free to exit interrogation. ''Franchise/LawAndOrder'' often gets this one right (while falling into Hollywood Law in other places): in one case, a detective who spent a considerable amount of time with a witness had her retrace her steps on the day someone abducted her child; when the woman asked if this was necessary and to stop, he forced her to keep on, leading to incriminating statements and new evidence. Because the witness-turned-suspect was not able to leave police custody and end questioning, this became an issue for the prosecution, as it constituted a Miranda violation. This is the biggest stumbling block in most portrayals of Miranda rights: they have nothing to do with ''arrest'', but ''questioning''. If you are in a situation in which you cannot end questioning (e.g., you're in a police station and told not to leave, as the police are contemplating arresting you), you have the right to counsel, the right to silence (i.e., to not make self-incriminating statements), and, most crucially, the right to ''know'' you have the right to counsel. In order to make sure ''everyone'' is clear on this (and there are no legal issues later), after a suspect is informed of their rights, they then sign a waiver confirming that they understand each right and, knowing their rights, that they still wish to continue talking to the police (there are certain requirements officers must fulfill in order for the waiver to be valid, but this is rarely a part of Hollywood Law).
* The OnePhoneCall: A very common misconception is that you're guaranteed by law one single phone call after you're arrested, to anyone at all, and if you blow it, too bad. The reality is that you are guaranteed '''access to legal counsel'''; beyond that, any outside communication is a privilege that can be given or withheld at the whim of the detaining institution. Nevertheless, most police officers allow you to have as many phone calls as you want, because unless you're talking to your lawyer or doctor, anything you say can be recorded as evidence.
* On that topic, OnlyBadGuysCallTheirLawyers: The perception that a person must be either guilty or a sleazeball for requesting access to legal counsel rather than waive this right, because "it will make me look guilty". If you are arrested by the police on suspicion of having committed a crime, it is ''always'' advised to have your lawyer present, guilty or not. Simply put: the police can't have you charged because you "looked guilty", but they can and will use evidence against you that a lawyer would have prevented them from obtaining. If you've been arrested, the police's job is to collect evidence that proves you are guilty--they are not on your side.
* Freedom of Speech: This is often misinterpreted to mean you can say whatever you want wherever. However, it only means that the government cannot prosecute you for things you say (with a few exceptions like inciting riot) or force you to say anything (except if, say, you're called as a witness). In particular, you can't be arrested for criticizing the government or stating your opinion. Private entities and employers (including the government if you work for them) have an equally-strong right to protect their interests. Statements that induce violence, bigotry, obscenity, slander, or are simply in poor taste can still result in firing, expulsion, loss of advertisers, or any other appropriate consequence.
** Put this way: the prohibition is on ''the government'', and what it prohibits is ''limiting'' the freedom of speech. Private entities can still limit your speech rights via contract (e.g. through an employee or student code of conduct), and both private and public entities can pursue you for cases where your freedom of speech interferes with someone else's rights: private entities can pursue you for defamation (as reputation is a liberty interest with a strong impact on property interests--e.g. if someone says the butcher's shop is unsanitary when it isn't, people will stop buying meat from him, even though the meat is fine) and the government can pursue you (as noted) for incitement (since if you actually did start the riot, your speech interfered with other people's rights to life--if anyone was killed or injured--and property--for property destruction).
* Shoot the Dead Guy: Appears infrequently in detective shows. The perp is busted for killing someone, and often confesses, but it transpires that somebody had beaten them to it, and they had actually only "killed" a corpse. Shooting a dead person is attempted murder at the least, if the aim was to kill the person, but they will be let off on the grounds that "shooting a dead man isn't a crime" (very often, someone actually says something like this or claims it's merely desecration of a corpse).
** {{Averted}} on ''Series/LawAndOrder'', when Ben Stone relates the legal theory of the "Shoot the Dead Guy" story to prove his point about a con artist who framed a man for her miscarriage as part of a scam; not knowing how far along a fetus had to be before it reached "personhood" to be considered a legal "victim" of a crime was the basis for charging her with attempted murder of the unborn baby.
** Also {{averted}} in an episode of ''Series/MurderSheWrote''. A woman confessed to stabbing a man to death while he was sleeping on a bus. Jessica explained that the woman is only guilty of attempted murder (rather than being guilty of nothing at all) because the man was (unknown to the confessor) already dead at the time.
** As a matter of English law, stabbing a 'sleeping' man, who it turned out was already dead, would not have been attempted murder prior to 27 August 1981. At common law if an offense was impossible to commit there could be no liability for attempting the offense. In the case of the 'sleeping' man, it would have been impossible to commit murder, since the definition of murder requires killing, and you can't kill someone who is already dead. The law was changed by the Criminal Attempts Act 1981, s.1(2) of which provides: "A person may be guilty of attempting to commit an offense to which this section applies even though the facts are such that the commission of the offense is impossible".
** The pre-1981 English approach is technically still applied in some other jurisdictions, including some US states, and was historically applied more generally. UsefulNotes/{{Michigan}} and Maryland, historically bastions of the old, English-style common law of crimes,[[note]]As an example, neither state has a statutory definition of ''murder'', merely prescribing the punishment for the offense defined at common law[[/note]] have a rich case law on the subject.
* [[NoBadgeNoProblem Only a Consultant]]: This one is a recent development in Western pop culture, due to the profusion of TV shows featuring a main character who works for the police, but as a "consultant" rather than a sworn officer (e.g., ''{{Series/Monk}}'', ''Series/TheMentalist'', ''{{Series/Castle}}'', etc.). Often, the consultant will do things that the regular police wouldn't be allowed to, like searching somebody's house without a warrant or using some sort of coercion to get a confession, then brush off questions of legality by claiming that he or she is a private citizen, and therefore not bound by the same rules as the police. In real life, an individual employed by a police department is considered an agent of law enforcement for exactly that reason. If they were not, the cops could just hire private detectives to solve all their cases and never have to worry about warrants or Miranda rights again.
** For an extended discussion of this, see THE LAW OF SUPERHEROES. ("Is Batman a state actor?")
* While any police officer who is authorized to carry a gun is of course legally permitted to use it in the performance of his duties, actually shooting somebody in the line of duty will often result in an inquiry into whether or not the use of their gun was justified (''especially'' if the person who gets shot dies). A great many movie cops would find themselves on administrative leave pending the results of the inquiry (with their gun taken for ballistics tests by Internal Affairs) within twenty minutes of the opening credits, seriously restricting their ability to investigate whatever case the film is about. This is because most places are willing to admit that there is such a thing as a DirtyCop (even if they're reluctant to admit that there are any in their jurisdiction at any given time), and that it is quite possible that a DirtyCop would be willing to commit murder and claim the victim was resisting arrest, assaulting them, or trying to escape.
* Many shows give the impression that the statute of limitations expires the moment the credits run (unless it's a multi-part episode or the crime is a part of a major story arc): if there's not enough evidence to arrest a man for a crime committed this week, then he can't be arrested, even if the cops have more than enough evidence to bust him for the crimes he committed in last week's episode, when he simply managed to avoid capture. In real life, the length of the statute of limitations for a crime ranges from months to years, and for some crimes (such as murder), it ''never'' expires.
* Attorney–client privilege is another one that crime shows often get wrong. In the media, it's treated as though ''anything'' a criminal says to a lawyer is absolutely confidential and can't be used as evidence, even if the lawyer wanted to. In reality, attorney–client privilege has quite a few exceptions.
** The privilege ''only'' applies:
*** If you've been directly accused of a crime. [[note]] e.g. A detective reads you your MirandaRights and tells you you're under arrest for murder/rape/robbery/another serious felony; a patrol cop pulls you over and arrests you for DUI or drugs; someone has informed you they have filed a legitimate, valid police report accusing you of at least a misdemeanor. [[/note]]
*** If you have retained legal counsel because you have a reasonable belief you may be guilty of a crime, but wish to protect your rights/preserve your capacity to plead to lesser charges/you are not sure you are guilty in the first place but think you may be and need a lawyer to sort it all out. [[note]] e.g. after a drive home, possibly under the influence via dark roads, you find blood on your car, and you are afraid you've committed hit and run, but you aren't sure you hit a person as opposed to an animal; you ''were'' driving drunk but didn't hit anything but a tree/didn't wreck at all, just got busted by a cop and want to plead down to reckless driving for your first time; you are sure the shooting you were involved in was legitimate self-defense against an armed intruder, but you aren't sure the prosecutor will see it as such. [[/note]]
*** If you have a reasonable suspicion to believe you are being investigated for a crime, with no notification of arrest yet. [[note]] e.g. you find police seeking to question you; you notice people who look like federal agents snooping around your property; you are summoned to testify to a grand jury or HauledBeforeASenateSubcommittee.[[/note]]
*** If you have retained legal counsel in reasonable fear of being accused of a crime should you directly contact police with contraband or potential evidence. [[note]]e.g. you find an abandoned firearm, stolen property, or a sizable stash of illegal drugs, and you retain the attorney to turn the firearm or drugs or stolen goods in to the cops or legally and properly dispose of it rather than doing it yourself. Some people - specifically firearms dealers and gunsmiths, those who buy a lot of used vehicles or who are mechanics, pawnbrokers, those who operate storage spaces, landlords - are advised to keep an attorney on retainer for this reason alone, since their professions/hobbies put them at higher risk of running into drug stashes/drug operations, firearms used in crimes, and stolen vehicles or stolen property.[[/note]]
*** Simply flinging twenty bucks at an attorney walking down the street and saying to them "I killed this dude" does ''not'' count, because the attorney is not representing you in anything. Nor does an informal consultation or conversation with an attorney (though most ethical attorneys will insist that you not confess or disclose damning information in a "free consultation" or an informal chat, see below, and once you ''have'' retained the attorney either for pay or ''pro bono,'' you are being represented).
** While your lawyer can't turn you in for a past crime that you've committed (a good attorney will never ask you if you're guilty or not anyway, because it doesn't matter and frankly they'd rather not know in some situations--particularly since they can't put a client who confesses on the stand to testify they are innocent), they are required by law to report all future crimes you may commit. If your lawyer got you off on an assault charge, and you turn to them and say, "Thanks, I'll make sure to punch him harder next time" they ''will'' turn you in.
* Dropping the charges. In various works, most egregiously in ''Film/NationalLampoonsVacation'' and ''Film/NationalLampoonsChristmasVacation'', the victim of a crime saying that they want to drop the charges against the perpetrator of a crime automatically absolves the perpetrator from any consequences. In RealLife, however, once the police have been called, such a decision may very well be out of the victim's hands, since it is now the prosecutor who makes that call. There are a number of parents who find this out the hard way. Their children take their cars or credit cards, and the parents report a theft to teach the kids a lesson. When the kids are arrested, the parents state that they won't press charges, only to find out that their children may now face felony convictions (and significant prison time), regardless. This is, of course, a matter of prosecutorial discretion, and a prosecutor ''may'' decline to pursue a case where a victim doesn't want to press charges. On the other hand, if the prosecutor feels that the case is worth it, he may be able to go forward without requiring the victim to testify, or may pressure the victim into testifying with a subpoena and the threat of contempt charges. Thus, while a victim's disinclination to press charges ''may'' resolve the matter, it is not the automatic GetOutOfJailFreeCard various media would suggest.
** In a similar vein, on various cop show episodes involving underage sexual relationships, there's sometimes the mistaken belief that statutory rape charges can't be pressed, or at the very least, won't be successful in court, if the underage participant in question was willing and the sex was consensual. In most nations, this is never the case--indeed, that is the entire purpose of statutory rape laws. In fact, if the minor says that they were in a relationship, this pretty much seals the deal as far as the court's concerned, as the ''only'' defence against a statutory rape charge is denying that the sex ever took place to begin with. Minors are not considered mentally and emotionally mature enough to make their own decisions when it comes to sex, and for very good reasons, so their opinions on the case have no real bearing on anything.
*** Especially important to note that lack of awareness of/deception about your partner's age is NOT a defense in most jurisdictions. It is strictly a factual determination. So it doesn't matter that she told you she was 18. If she's 14 and you are 24, the prosecutor is perfectly justified in prosecuting, and you better hope for jury nullification.
*** On this subject, there's also the literal HollywoodLaw concept that 18 is the universal age of consent. It ''is'' in California, but in most of the First World, it can vary anywhere from 16 to 20, and the age can also be different for opposite-sex and same-sex relationships (e.g. a state in the US where the "Romeo and Juliet" close in age exemption applies to a heterosexual 18-year-old and 17-year-old couple, but doesn't apply to a gay or lesbian couple). That said, within the US itself, most that go lower than 18 require that a legal marriage with the permission of the minor's parents exists (e.g. if you're 20 and marry your 16-year-old girlfriend with her parents' permission to do so, the relationship is legally not statutory rape regardless of whatever moral standards people may apply--but if you ''aren't'' legally married with said permission, it is most definitely so and you can and possibly will be arrested for it).
* ReadTheFinePrint: In fiction, if you have signed a contract, then that means you have irrevocably agreed to '''whatever''' nasty thing was hidden away in it, up to and including actual slavery, or the contract holder being allowed to torture you to death if you fail to do what he wants. In real life, of course, this simply does not happen. You cannot be forced to sign a contract:
** Under duress (well, you can, but it will never be valid in a court of law), whether that duress comes about as a result of someone putting a gun to your head or a more insidious means like someone threatening you financially.
** If it contains illegal acts--you can't agree to a gag order over your boss murdering his secretary, nor can you sign a contract saying you will help your boss murder his secretary.
** If the contract is "unconscionable," i.e. extremely unjust or overwhelmingly one-sided [[note]] The defining example is a case where a furniture store refused to consider the items it sold to a customer over several years as "his" until he paid for each and every one of them--when he attempted to default on the last item, the store attempted to repossess ''everything'' he bought, including the items he'd ''already paid off in full''.[[/note]] that no sane person would accept.
** If it was written in such strange and confusing jargon that you had no idea what you were getting into (this also falls under unconscionability).
* The Reading of the Will. Happens more often in fiction than in real life. Although there are a few lawyers and executors that actually do this, it's not a legal requirement. In reality, if there's anything in the estate and you either are a legal heir under the intestacy laws or you have been specifically left property in the will, you will receive a notice from the court with an option to appear at a hearing to contest the will if you so choose. Should you waive that right, you will simply wait until your inheritance (if any) is delivered to you.
** Speaking of wills, the "kill the family member and destroy/hide their will so nobody knows you weren't allowed to get the house/business/gazillion dollars under the mattress" plot is a fairly weak one. It's actually very common for a will to be challenged, and courts overrule wills all the time, particularly if an argument can be made that you are entitled to a portion of the deceased's assets. For instance, if your father dies and leaves a will specifically saying that you get nothing, you can go to court and point out that the deceased is your father and is therefore obligated to care for you the best he can, even in death and even if he hated you/didn't know you existed (this sort of thing often happens in the cases of illegitimate children). And even if you did destroy the will, chances are you're not going to be any better off, because again, the court will decide who deserves what.[[note]]And if you did destroy or hide the will, you better pray to God that no-one finds out, because another thing Hollywood usually forgets is that altering, tampering, destroying, or attempting to conceal a will is a serious crime (forgery and fraud respectively) and you'll be forced to pay a hell of a lot in damages. Seriously, if you think you deserve Dad's ten million dollars, just hire a solicitor and get them to win it for you.[[/note]]
* The "Shouting Fire In A Crowded Theater" tactic, aka inciting panic through certain kinds of speech, the favored form of attack by lawyers when the First Amendment gets involved, was indeed a part of real law and might be a credible argument...provided the show takes place in, oh, the 1960s or earlier. The ruling, ''Schenck vs. US'', came into place to help censor anti-draft/anti-war activists during World War One[[note]] In ''Schenck'', the defendants had mailed leaflets to draft-eligible men calling on them to refuse conscription on the grounds that it was involuntary servitude under the Thirteenth Amendment (the US Supreme Court rejected this argument). This was likened to ''falsely'' shouting fire in a crowded theater, an analogy that was and is criticized for being completely off the mark. In the actual ruling, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. characterized their acts as a "clear and present danger."[[/note]] and was overturned by ''Brandenburg vs. Ohio'' in 1969.[[note]]However, some legal scholars argue that the ''Schenck'' precedent hasn't been overturned at all, and that ''Brandenburg'' covers different issues.[[/note]] These days, your speech must be clearly advocating ''immediate'' criminal action to get you into trouble. Shouting "There's a fire!" is not a crime (under this particular case, anyway--the false alarm people might like to have a word with you) but shouting "There's a fire-everybody riot!" is.[[note]]Originally the phrase was "Falsely shouting fire" which has slowly grown into "Shouting fire", period. Shouting fire if there really ''is'' one was not and has never been illegal, for obvious reasons, while falsely shouting has always been punishable.[[/note]]
* Immunity from prosecution. In some legal shows, the prosecutors will be dealing with a criminal whom they want to testify in a case regarding an even bigger criminal. Unfortunately, in order to testify, the witness-to-be would have to implicate himself in crimes he himself has committed. Since the prosecutor cannot force the prospective witness to testify due to the protection against self-incrimination, there is one solution: immunity from prosecution. This means two different things under HollywoodLaw versus Real Life. Under HollywoodLaw, it means that the witness can testify to anything (murder, treason, child porn, terrorism, rape, child molestation) but can never be prosecuted for any of the crimes he admits during his testimony. However, in RealLife, immunity from prosecution simply means that the witness's testimony cannot be used against him in subsequent proceedings-he can still be prosecuted for these things if the authorities can make a case against him without said testimony. The kind of immunity that HollywoodLaw depicts only exists in the form of a pardon, which can be granted only by the governor of a state or the President (depending on whose law was violated). [[note]] There is one thing that can look like immunity from prosecution but isn't: prosecutors do have the right to plea-bargain with defendants, subject to the approval of the trial judge. Therefore, a prosecutor could plead a defendant out, arranging for him to serve no prison time, but to pay a fine or get probation, in exchange for his testimony. They could also decline to file charges against them at all, though that's more rare.[[/note]]

* "Client, shut up!": A lawyer and his client are meeting with the prosecutor (or opposing counsel if this is a civil case. Turns out that the client is a little too talkative and says things that hurt his case. In a lot of works, his lawyer will interrupt him and tell him to shut up. Unfortunately for lawyers, while an overly-talkative client can be TruthInTelevision, the rules do not allow lawyers simply to tell clients to shut up. (Although lawyers can and should advise their clients that they do not have to answer specific questions).

* "Counselor, control your client!": Said many a time by judges in courtroom dramas. In RealLife, however, it is the judge who is responsible for keeping order in the courtroom.


For Hollywood Law tropes on this wiki, see: YouFailLawForever.


* In ''Comicbook/{{Manhunter}}'', Kate Spencer's prosecution of Shadow Thief for the murder of Ron Raymond, aka ComicBook/{{Firestorm}}, is ludicrous. It's hard to know where to begin, but consider the fact that Spencer calls a bunch of superheroes to testify without giving their real names. You can't testify at a trial under an alias. Secondly, most of them weren't even legitimate witnesses in the first place: they didn't actually see the crime committed, and she just asked them questions about what a hero Firestorm was, and what a great guy he was. None of that would be relevant at trial, although some of it might be allowed at a sentencing hearing, if Shadow Thief were convicted. The bizarre part is that there were other superheroes who were present at the crime and saw it happen, at least one of whom, Comicbook/{{Vixen}}, has a public identity and could have been called as a witness; needless to say, she wasn't.
** There is evidence that trial law in the DCU has been modified to allow superheroes to testify without revealing their identities. The other points absolutely stand, though.
** That would be the Keene Act and the Ingersoll Amendment, the latter so named for lawyer and comic columnist Bob Ingersoll, who analyzed and criticized poor representation of the law in comic books.
* In one issue of ''Comicbook/{{Daredevil}}'', a judge appointed under NormanOsborn overruled a "not guilty" verdict in a criminal trial and sent the innocent defendants to prison, ignoring 1000 years of legal precedent and the US constitution. To be fair, though, the Franchise/MarvelUniverse during ''Comicbook/DarkReign'' seemed to be a fascist dictatorship under Osborn, so the law probably changed to allow this verdict (otherwise completely illegal and unconstitutional in our world).
** Osborn getting that job he had in the first place, long after being exposed and jailed for being a superhuman homicidal maniac, whose standard M.O. was flying around a city throwing bombs and who once planned to murder ''all life on Earth'', is however a pretty straight example.
*** Yes, in that you become ineligible for most and/or all political offices, especially at higher levels, if you've committed a felony, and Osborn was never pardoned.
*** Oddly enough, you do not become ineligible for the US Presidency. Numerous felons (mostly political activists like Eugene Debs or Leonard Peltier) have run for President while in prison for a felony conviction (Peltier is even serving two life sentences for murder, but if elected [[LoopholeAbuse he could]] ''pardon himself'', so no worries there).
* ''Comicbook/GreenArrow''
** #32 features the Jury Nullification with a slight difference: They find him not guilty, but the Judge still rules that he is exiled from the city for life, giving him 24 hours to leave and stating that he will be imprisoned if he returns.
** In addition to that rather dubious ruling, the judge openly states that he could have Ollie thrown in jail anyway, despite the jury acquittal. This is utterly impossible under US law (while you can still end up being found guilty and sentenced for the separate crime of "contempt of court" -- if you actually committed some -- while being acquitted on the original charge, you cannot be sentenced ''for the original charge'' while simultaneously being acquitted of the original charge!) and going on the record with it would probably earn a judge official reprimands at the very least.
** The trial isn't even in the correct venue. Exactly what jurisdiction does a California state court (Star City is in California) have over an alleged murder committed in ''another dimension'', especially when the victim is of unknown nationality? (Prometheus' secret ID has never been cracked.) Even if jurisdiction is being asserted on the grounds of 'well, Oliver Queen is a US citizen and nobody else has any jurisdiction over this entire mess as it happened in territory claimed by no sovereign nation', that should still have landed him in US District Court.
** The crowner of this entire mess is that ''the trial should not be happening at all''. Prometheus died during the course of a lawful arrest by a deputized peacekeeping agent, while on his feet, armed, and facing his killer. How does this qualify as murder? Sure, Oliver Queen went there with the intent of killing Prometheus even if he ''didn't'' resist arrest, but you can't be placed on trial for what you ''would'' have done, only what you actually ''did'' do. And since Prometheus wasn't surrendering and was a highly dangerous felon who has already killed entire squads of cops who've tried to arrest him before, shooting him the instant he makes a sudden move is justifiable homicide. Sure, Ollie's confession as to his intent should have gotten him dismissed from the JLA for going way outside of policy, if not asked to go see a psychiatrist, but it doesn't sustain a charge of murder one. If Ollie had sniped Promethus unawares, then yeah, that's murder -- except he didn't.
*** While it is true that there was only one living witness to the confrontation -- Ollie himself -- given that the arrow hole is in the front and Prometheus was clearly standing when he died and wearing his full battle harness, forensic evidence would entirely support the justifiable homicide interpretation. And while its possible Ollie confessed to killing the guy cold (even if he didn't) out of some guilt complex, even then the scene would ''still'' contain a plot hole... specifically, that if Ollie had pled guilty then ''there shouldn't have been a jury trial in the first place''.
* In ''ComicBook/{{X-Men}}'', Josh Foley, aka [[HealingHands Elixir]], is told by Danielle Moonstar that his parents have signed total legal guardianship over to her, without Josh ever having been notified or called before a judge or any indication that either party set foot in a court of law. He's 16 at the time, so how did such important legal proceedings take place without him even knowing about them?
* Marvel writers have repeatedly had a character charged with "treason" over acts which have nothing to do with the deliberately narrow definition of treason expressly spelled out in the U.S. Constitution (levying war against the United States or, in adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort. It does not mean "acting against a government agency" or "insubordination".) It's also ''really'' hard to convict someone of it-treason is the only crime specifically defined in the US Constitution (to prevent abusive prosecutions under looser definitions as went on under the British Crown) requiring two or more witnesses testifying to the same act, or a confession in open court, which is the only crime in US federal or state law with this high a standard to obtain a conviction.
* A [[Comicbook/ThePunisher Punisher]] story made hash of the InsanityDefense by having a judge not remand the Punisher for psychiatric examination, but simply decreeing that he was "insane" on the basis of counsel's rhetoric (and over his vehement objection.)
* It's a major plot point of {{Creator/Greg Rucka}}'s ''GothamCentral'' that any case coming from the Internal Affairs Division of the Gotham PD against corrupt Crime Scene Unit technician Jimmy Corrigan would be tainted because Major Crimes Unit Det. Renee Montoya beat certain key information out of Corrigan[[note]]Corrigan had sold one of the bullets from the crime scene to a collector[[/note]] in a fight outside a bar in order to clear her partner, Crispus Allen, in a shooting after being tacitly encouraged to do so by a detective from IAD. Supposedly this means that neither IAD nor MCU can ever touch Corrigan legally. Shockingly, losing a bar brawl to an off-duty cop does not actually give you legal immunity to anything. It is true that none of the information that Montoya beat out of Corrigan would be admissible, but any evidence gathered independently of that would be perfectly admissible. At worst, if Montoya herself were a key witness against Corrigan, his attorney could try to use the fight to call her credibility into question. Of course, it would be very risky for Corrigan's attorney to bring up the fight at all, because it might open the door for the prosecutor to ask what the fight was about, which would probably hurt Corrigan more than the prosecution.
* This was very common in Dan Slott's run on ''ComicBook/SheHulk'', which is hardly surprising since it was a legal comedy written by a non-lawyer. Many of these were justified by RuleOfFunny:
** The most obvious is that the law firm Jennifer works for, Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg, and Holliway, has, in their law library, at least for their super-human law division, nothing but boxes and boxes of Marvel comics. It is explained that, within the Marvel Universe, Marvel comics are all true, and are licensed by the superheroes who star in them, and, prior to 2002, were certified by UsefulNotes/TheComicsCode Authority, a government agency, and are therefore admissible in any courtroom in the United States. It's hard to know where to start with this one. First of all, the Comics Code Authority was never a government agency; it has always been a private ratings agency created by the comics industry itself. Secondly, even if it were a government agency, merely having a document certified by a government agency does not make it admissible, any more than does being licensed by the persons who star in the comics. Thirdly, and most importantly, even if there were no questions about the admissibility of Marvel comics into evidence, the comics are not a source of ''law''; they may be a source of ''facts'', but not law. A mere record of facts is only admissible if the facts are directly relevant to the case at hand. Also, facts recorded in a comic book would almost always be inadmissible as hearsay. The lawyers would have to provide some other source for the same facts to get them into evidence. This one, of course, is justified by RuleOfFunny.
** Then there's Jennifer's first case: Dan Jermain wants to sue the Roxxon corporation, for which he worked as a safety inspector, because he got knocked into a vat of radioactive material, transforming him into the larger, stronger, more powerful Danger Man, wrecking his life in the process. The problem is that, because it was a workplace accident, Jermain can only get workman's compensation; he is barred by statute from suing Roxxon in tort! Also, he can only recover his medical bills and lost wages for a limited time from workman's comp. Also, as an example of the absurdity of using Marvel comics as a source of law, Jennifer's strategy for winning the case is based on the return of Jean Grey story arc, in which it was revealed that Jean was never the Phoenix, but rather that the Phoenix took her place; based on that, Jennifer decides to argue that Dan Jermain died in the accident and that Danger Man is a totally new entity. That might be true, but the Phoenix/Jean Grey story has nothing to do with it. Jennifer would have to actually ''prove'', with evidence from the case, that Dan Jermain is dead, which is going to be hard since it's obviously not true: Danger Man obviously is Dan Jermain.
** Then, in a subsequent case, Jennifer and fellow associate Augustus Pugliese sue J. Jonah Jameson for libel on behalf of Spider-Man. They are winning the case when Pugliese decides he wants to add Peter Parker as a defendant[[note]]It came out during the trial that Peter Parker had deliberately falsified certain photos of Spidey that he sold to Jameson[[/note]], which, shockingly enough, prompts Spider-Man to insist on settling the lawsuit. This is absurd on multiple levels. First, the plaintiff can't add a defendant when the trial is already underway. Second, the plaintiff's lawyer can't add a defendant without his client's permission. Third, no one is going to bother suing Peter Parker, for the simple reason that he's judgment-proof; that is, he doesn't have enough money to pay any judgment you might get against him. Again, this one was pretty much just RuleOfFunny.
** When another of Jennifer's associates, Mallory Book, defends Samuel Sterns, the Leader, on criminal charges, the trial is in New York, even though many of the crimes Sterns is charged with, including nuking a town in Arizona, happened in other states. Under Article III, Section 2 of the US Constitution, ''and'' under the Sixth Amendment thereto, the trial of all crimes must be in the state and district in which the crimes were committed, meaning the government can only try the Leader in Arizona for crimes committed in Arizona. Plus, Book's defense of Sterns is that, as a gamma-altered individual, he is of diminished capacity. That would be fine, if and only if gamma alteration meant that Sterns either did not know right from wrong, or that he was under an irresistible impulse to commit his crimes. The problem is that two of Book's key witnesses, Jennifer Walters and Dr. Leonard Samson, are also gamma-altered, and both are moral, law-abiding citizens; Walters, obviously, is a lawyer and superhero, and Samson is a psychiatrist (and also occasional superhero). That doesn't mean Sterns isn't insane, but Book certainly hasn't proved it. Plus which, even if Book had succeeded, that would just mean that the Leader would just end up in an asylum for the criminally insane instead of in prison; the story was published in 2007, the same year New York abolished the death penalty.
** Around the same time Book was defending the Leader, Jennifer was suing Tony Stark for injecting her with power-inhibiting nanites that made it impossible for her to transform into She-Hulk. The problem is that, while she could theoretically sue for tortious battery, Stark would have an unbeatable self-defense defense: Jennifer, in her She-Hulk form, was beating him up at the time he injected her. At the very least, Stark would almost certainly have qualified immunity, since he was acting in his capacity as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. at the time. Stark would almost certainly win on dismissal or summary judgment, but the comic presents Jennifer as having a real chance of winning a big judgment.
** The more recent She-Hulk series, written by Charles Soule, is generally more accurate, since Soule is a lawyer, but not always. For example, in issue 9, She-Hulk defends Captain America against a wrongful death action based on alleged negligence by Steve Rogers in 1940, before he became Captain America. The problem is that [[http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=ccp&group=00001-01000&file=335-349.4 section 335.1 of the California Code of Civil Procedure]] establishes a two-year statute of limitations on actions for wrongful death in negligence, as in this case. The other problem is that even if the plaintiffs could still bring the suit, they would have to do so under the law as it was in 1940, and back then, California, like most states, still had a contributory negligence standard, not a comparative fault standard. In this case, the decedent's brother admitted that he was also partially responsible; since contributory negligence is a complete defense, it means that Rogers cannot be held liable at all.
*** To make matters worse, the brother's story, which seems to be pretty much the entirety of the plaintiff's case, is not testified to by the brother himself, because he's dead. Rather, a police officer who was with the brother when he died testified as to the brother's dying declaration, which he revealed what had happened back in 1940. The comic claims that this is acceptable because dying declarations are an exception to the hearsay rule. That is true, if and only if the dying declaration concerns the circumstances of the death. If a dying man says that so-and-so is the one who killed him, that is admissible under the dying declaration exception. If a dying man says that seventy-four years ago, his brother died partly through the negligence of Steve Rogers, that is not admissible.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* In Pixar's ''WesternAnimation/{{Up}}'', Carl is involuntarily committed to a retirement home after he whacks a guy over the head with a cane. The guy, at the time, had been struggling with Carl over his mailbox, despite Carl's repeated demands for him to let it go. While he may have had to pay some damages as a result, a single incident borne of an obvious misunderstanding wouldn't lead to commitment, though the CorruptCorporateExecutive who wanted Carl's house might have pulled strings. After all, tampering with the mail is a federal crime. He could be prosecuted for assault (unlikely) or sued by the man, but involuntary commitment to a retirement home is only something next-of-kin with power of attorney can do.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* 1997's ''Film/ConAir'' is probably one of the single most egregious cases of Hollywood Law ever devised.
** This was clearly self-defense, which Poe's wife could verify. He would probably not even have been charged.
** No judge in the U.S. has ever used a person's military training against them in cases like this.
** He would not have been tried in federal court, or sent to a federal prison, as this was not in federal jurisdiction.
* In ''Film/{{Daredevil}}'', the only scene of hero Matt Murdock actually acting as a lawyer that made it to the theatrical cut was of him seemingly seeking a conviction for a rape suspect. The catch? Murdock is a defense attorney, a fact emphasized by the voluminous material that was cut from the movie. So while, in RealLife, you MAY see a victim's advocate making submissions at sentencing in many jurisdictions, there's no way in hell that Murdock would have been making arguments in court and getting annoyed that the defendant was acquitted. Murdock ''could'' have been suing the guy in tort for the rape, but even in that case he ''still'' wouldn't be on the defense side of things. The comics' Daredevil is always a defense attorney-perhaps they didn't think that would be sympathetic enough?
* Kevin Lomax in ''Film/TheDevilsAdvocate'' is a Super Lawyer who has "never lost a case". We're told that in his early career he worked in the local district attorney's office and had a string of 64 straight convictions, and he "didn't plead out often". This would actually indicate that he's a ''terrible'' prosecutor. First, prosecutors get to choose their cases, so he could have a string of "sure thing" prosecutions. Second, prosecuting these cases to trial would clog up the court's docket when he should be making plea bargains with the defendants. Odds are, the bulk of his victories would have been mundane cases where the defendant was guilty as hell and took a deal. It's still possible the cases weren't so clear, though, which would give him a better reputation. At least they averted this trope when he says that he might be disbarred for refusing to continue defending his client. In the US, a client can fire his lawyer, and a lawyer can quit ''if'' it wouldn't substantially harm his client. An attorney can't just quit in the middle of trial for that reason. In reality, the judge would either deny Lomax's request to withdraw or declare a mistrial on the grounds that the Defendant had been denied a fair trial due to attorney misconduct.
** There are many real life prosecutors who claim to have "never lost a case". They do this by either dropping or pleading out the hard cases and only taking sure things to trial.
** Nancy Grace is a well known former prosecutor on television. Her claim to fame? They claimed she never lost a case.
* Charles Bronson in ''Film/DeathWish'' condemns the entire criminal justice system, as a comedy for thugs and a tragedy for good citizens. The evidence against criminals in these movies is ''always'' insufficient to convict, or even arrest, usually in contrived ways so he can be seen as justified in his vigilante rampages.
* ''Film/GoodWillHunting'' gets a bunch of things wrong. In the opening, Will is arrested for assaulting a police officer. This is a ''very'' serious offense that he tries to get dismissed by saying it was "self-defense against tyranny". The judge acknowledges that Will defended himself on an earlier charge of Grand Theft Auto by quoting a two-hundred year old case on the grounds of "free property rights of horse and buggy". Most likely it would have either been reversed or ignored in favor of more recent law. Anyway, the judge denies the motion to dismiss and puts him in jail. The MIT professor says that he "talked to the judge" and got his permission to have Will work for him as a form of probation. The professor is not a lawyer and therefore has no right to "talk to" the judge on Will's behalf. The Professor might have put up his bail to get Will released, but Will would still have to stand trial for the assault charge.
** That said, sometimes long-forgotten laws will be brought up and used again, though this is far more common for property rights vs. railroad tracks-type-issues than criminal cases.
** As for the Professor "talking with the judge," he might have used a personal friendship, MIT's clout or just his own attorney and shortened it when he conveyed this to Will. It's not impossible that it happened, they're just vague about how. It also doesn't mean the judge dismissed the charge, just that he would be in the Professor's custody. Will must have got a plea deal off-screen.
* ''Film/HotFuzz'' is an inversion - he plays completely by the book and is so good that he gets assigned to a sleepy little town because he makes all the other cops in London look incompetent. And even in this sleepy town he is so good he reveals a conspiracy. The film is an attempt by Creator/SimonPegg to have Britain have its own "buddy cop" films. Unfortunately, part of the reason these films are so popular in the States is the use of this trope.
* The ''Film/LethalWeapon'' movies which have far too many to count. The movies just operate under RuleOfCool and [[TheyJustDidntCare ignore everything else]].
* The ''Film/BeverlyHillsCop'' movie series are the same as ''Film/LethalWeapon''.
* ''Franchise/ANightmareOnElmStreet'': Part of Freddy's backstory is that he was arrested and convicted of being a serial killer who targeted children, then was released because his arrest warrant was signed in the wrong place. In the [[Series/FreddysNightmares TV spinoff's pilot]], it was because he hadn't been read his rights. Two invocations of this trope for the price of one incident!
* In ''Film/PacificHeights'', Michael Keaton engages in various outrageous illegal acts against his landlords, who are thwarted from any recourse by a system of indifferent police, judges and attorneys, as well as Keaton using [[OffOnATechnicality the Loophole]]. This movie was a nonstop sequence of Hollywood Law and later VigilanteExecution as the victims were driven to take the law into their own hands--which the police even stated would be the only real recourse.
* ''{{Film/RunawayJury}}'':
** Super Lawyer: Gene Hackman. He's evil, has a command center filled with computer screens, and apparently capable of quickly breaking into encrypted files.
** Dream Team: Dustin Hoffman and the two conspiring protagonists. In real life, it would mean serious prison time if caught (just as with Hackman's own attempted jury tampering.)
** DeusExMachina Lawyer: The Hero lawyer only wins because one of the Super Lawyer's employees betrays him.
* Played for laughs in both ''Reckless Kelly'' and ''Film/RockyAndBullwinkle'' in which celebrities are legally exempt from any laws.
* In ''Film/RevengeOfTheNerds,'' the antagonists commit various crimes against the "Nerds," but are told by police that it's "out of their jurisdiction;" since it's "college pranks--" even regarding outright crimes, including assault, battery, terrorism, and Malicious Destruction of Property; in response, the Nerds commit other crimes against the jocks in "revenge--" including one "Nerd," Lewis, raping a cheerleader by posing as her boyfriend (a serious felony). In reality, state laws do not recognize college campuses as sovereign boundaries or "no-man's lands;" however here, even felonies were entirely subject to judgment by Hollywood Law.
** Aside from the pranks, the football players burn down their own frat house and are encouraged to take over the freshman dorm, evicting the new students and throwing their belongings out the windows.
** Regarding the rape, the traditional law -- still the law in much of the US today -- is that tricking someone into sex by impersonation is not a crime unless the perpetrator is impersonating the victim's spouse. It would therefore depend on which state this took place in whether this was even a charge which could be brought at all, assuming the alleged victim wanted that.
* For a film based on real events, ''Film/TheUntouchables'' gets just about everything about Al Capone's trial dead wrong:
** The judge orders the jury switched with a jury next door. No judge has the power to call in a jury that the parties didn't select. Also, the new jury was brought in ''after'' the key prosecution witness had testified. Any Defense lawyer would ''love'' to have a jury that never saw the prosecution's evidence! The actual judge did switch the pool of available jurors when he saw evidence Capone bribed them, but that happened prior to the trial's start. In the movie's scenario he would have just declared a mistrial and they'd select new, uncorrupted jurors for a new trial.
** Income Tax Evasion is a Federal, not a State crime. The RealLife case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's office, not the Cook County District Attorney, and tried in United States Courthouse, not the Cook County Courthouse, by a federal judge.
** Capone’s lawyer also enters a plea change without his client’s request or consent. Apparently, the fact that Capone clearly does not want to plead guilty (via assaulting his lawyer) counts for nothing. In Real Life, a court cannot accept a plea that is not made with the defendant's consent; doing so would be thrown out on appeal. Likewise, any lawyer who tried to enter a plea without his client's consent would most likely be disbarred. In RealLife, Capone was convicted by the jury, rather than having a plea deal (there was no offer of one anyway).
* In the first ''Film/WaynesWorld'' movie, one police officer is infamous for performing cavity searches on random motorists. This is a serious felony, when performed without a warrant; while the movie, as usual, attempts to justify this under RuleOfFunny, it qualifies under the law as rape. ''WesternAnimation/BeavisAndButtHeadDoAmerica'' features a paranoid ATF agent who routinely orders the same thing.
* In ''Film/DoubleJeopardy'', Ashley Judd is framed by her husband for his own murder and serves prison time. When she gets out, she hunts him down and brags that she could kill him and get away with it because she's already been convicted of that crime and double jeopardy means she can't be prosecuted for it again. Problem is, she was convicted of ''that'' crime (that is, of "murdering" him at that specific time, in that specific place). Hunting him down to another city and killing him ''there'', ''then'', would be another crime entirely, and thus she could be justly convicted of it ([[{{Irony}} not to mention simultaneously clearing herself of the first murder]]). There's also the host of other crimes she committed, including burglary, theft, destruction of property, escape from custody, assault on a law enforcement officer, unlicensed possession of a firearm, transporting an unlicensed weapon across state lines, assault with intent to kill (all of them violating her parole, which would send her back to prison) and probably more, which could put her away for years themselves, perhaps even for the same time or longer than her original sentence.
** According to this film’s logic, someone convicted of robbing a bank can go back and rob it a second time and the police can apparently do nothing. And someone convicted of rape or assault can go back and rape or assault that person again with no penalty. It would be impossible to charge someone on several counts of the same crime at once as happens in ''the real world'' all the time.
* In ''Film/TheMightyDucks'':
** Lawyer Gordon Bombay is charged with DUI. His boss Ducksworth tells him that he has "talked to" the judge, who has agreed to "suspend the disposition of [Gordon's] case" and sentence Gordon to community service (coaching the titular pee-wee hockey team). It isn't at all clear what exactly the judge has agreed to-the judge can't impose a sentence unless the defendant has either pleaded guilty or been convicted at trial. Presumably Gordon plead guilty to this after Ducksworth told him of the deal.
** In an earlier scene, Gordon strikes a nerve with the judge by citing an appellate court case in which that same judge was overruled. But the case Gordon cites is called ''Minneapolis v. Higgins'', which is an implausible name for a criminal case (in Minnesota, criminal prosecutions are always titled "State v. [Defendant's name]".) The only way this name would make sense is as a civil case in which the city of Minneapolis had been sued, lost, and then appealed-the trial case would have been ''Higgins v. Minneapolis'' (though it would be "City of Minneapolis"). It wouldn't be precedent in a criminal case, however.
* ''Film/LawAbidingCitizen'':
** The judge rules DNA evidence is inadmissible against the criminals who broke into Clyde Shelton's home and killed his family, later explained as one of the crime scene technicians having contaminated it. According to the DA, the "Exclusionary Principle" rules out most of the other valid evidence against them. The Exclusionary ''Rule'' would apply to evidence the police obtain in violation of the suspect's legal rights and any "fruit of the poisonous tree" (i.e. other evidence obtained as a result of what's been ruled as illegally obtained, not evidence that was compromised or mishandled after it was collected).
** They should have been able to get both intruders convicted based on Clyde's testimony alone, even if the DNA evidence was contaminated. Ames seemed more likely to have rolled than Darby anyway, since he apparently didn't participate in the actual murders/rapes (though he would still be on the hook due to the FelonyMurder rule) and appeared upset by them (though whoever rolls on their accomplice first often gets the deal).
** While the City and County of Philadelphia are consolidated, which therefore gives the Mayor powers ordinarily wielded by the commissioners of other Pennsylvania counties, the District Attorney's office is independent. [=DAs=] in Pennsylvania are elected county officials, and the Assistant District Attorneys like Nick are county employees. The mayor of Philadelphia has no authority to fire an ADA, or promote an ADA to the position of county District Attorney.
* ''Film/OceansEleven'' ([[AdaptationDisplacement the remake]]). There is a fictitious Nevada Gaming Commission law in the film stipulating that casinos in the state are required to hold a minimum amount of cash on the premises, in the event that a high-roller strikes the grand jackpot. Not surprisingly, the title characters [[TheCaper hatch a plan]] to exploit this.
* ''Film/WallStreet'': While several actions noted as bad would count as immoral, the fact that the movie takes place a couple years before it was filmed means that several of the actions shown were [[HistoryMarchesOn not actually illegal during the film's time frame,]] despite Bud Fox's fears of losing his license or worse. In fact, Gordon Gekko most likely didn't break the law at all, but Bud Fox definitely broke the law by disclosing confidential information from his client (Gekko) to a competitor (Wildman) and using that information to cost his client millions.
** It's a bit of a stretch for this trope perhaps, but in the final shot Bud is shown walking up the courthouse steps in Lower Manhattan's Foley Square, presumably to his sentencing. However, he's walking up the steps of the New York County Supreme Court building—i.e., ''state'' court, when the insider-trading charges he would be allocuting to within are strictly ''federal'', and so he should have been walking up the steps of the Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse next door.
* ''Film/ChangingLanes''. Everything from leaving the scene of the accident to turning off credit accounts without cause by themselves would get a real lawyer disbarred, not to mention prosecuted. At the scene where two firm partners started colluding with Gavin to forge a signature on a document, any real lawyer will declare "You Fail Law Forever" and walk out, not just because they're breaking four different [[http://www.law.cornell.edu/ethics/aba/current/ABA_CODE.HTM ethical rules]], plus numerous laws, the senior partners are trying to cover up the mistakes of a junior associate...by breaking the rules themselves! Seriously, anybody who pens a movie about lawyers behaving badly could at least try to read the actual rules first.
* In ''Film/TheAddamsFamily'', Gomez challenges the (presumed fake) Fester's throwing his family out of the family estate and loses the case. While the court hearing is not seen apart from the verdict, the hearing is run by Gomez's neighbor, who rather obviously ruled against Gomez to get rid of him (being sick and tired of Gomez knocking golf balls through his windows), and in fact had been prepped to do so by Tully before the suit was filed. There is no way a judge with an easily provable association (positive or negative) with the plaintiff of a case would be allowed to judge that case in real life.
* In the remake of ''Film/MiracleOnThirtyFourthStreet'', when the villains move to have Kris Kringle forcibly committed, the entire commitment hearing hangs on Kringle's attorney proving that his client is not mentally ill at all. While that may have been the case when the original film was made, a Supreme Court ruling in 1975 states clearly that whether or not Kringle was simply mentally ill would be irrelevant to such a proceeding. The question would be whether or not he was a danger to himself or others. If he wasn't, he could believe he was Superman or Captain Nemo and it wouldn't matter. They couldn't commit him without his consent. He could still be charged (or more likely sued) for assault though. This is brought up and subverted in the original; the staff psychiatrist attempts to have Kringle committed based on his belief that he's really Santa Claus, but a geriatrician who works with Kris explains that this belief doesn't make him a danger to himself or those around him, so there's no need for such action.
* ''Film/TwelveAngryMen'': The entire case, in real life, would have ended in a mistrial the moment it came to light that #8 had bought the exact same type of knife as used in the murder specifically to use in the deliberations. His wandering around the defendant's neighborhood conducting his own investigation is also major juror misconduct. He could be charged should it come out.
** The judge (in the original film) does not say that capital punishment is mandatory in the case (as it was until 1963 in New York-the film came out in 1957), but that ''he'' would pass one if the jury delivered a guilty verdict. It wasn't up to him-he had no choice about it. The judge in the 1997 remake echoes the original line, stating that she will not consider pleas for leniency should the jury find the defendant guilty. However, nowadays the jurors decide what sentence the defendant should get too in capital cases after considering all the various aggravating vs. mitigating factors, following US Supreme Court rulings which struck down most of the capital punishment laws in the US. Without such a recommendation for death, the judge can't sentence the defendant to it. Given that change, this is nonsensical and legally meaningless (though it could mislead jurors, which thus might get any death sentence they passed overturned).
* In the HBO movie ''Mistrial'', a key witness, drug dealer Willy Sandoval, ends up not testifying against accused cop-killer Eddie Rios because he had agreed to testify in the first place because he had been arrested for drug possession, and had made a deal to avoid punishment in exchange for his testimony. Judge Friel, the presiding judge in ''Rios''' trial, rules that Detective Donahue's search of ''Sandoval'' was illegal, and thus excludes the evidence against Sandoval, forcing the prosecutor to drop the case against Sandoval, meaning that Sandoval ends up not testifying against Rios. Where to start with this? First, Judge Friel would have had no jurisdiction over the Sandoval case, and therefore no authority to suppress evidence against Sandoval. Secondly, Rios and his attorney would have had no standing to move for the suppression of evidence against Sandoval. Thirdly, there would have been no case against Sandoval, precisely because of the deal he made for his testimony, and thus no reason or opportunity for Sandoval to move for the suppression of evidence against him. Fourthly, even if the evidence against Sandoval got tossed by some other judge, Sandoval is a ''career'' drug dealer. Does anyone seriously think this would have been the last time he was in trouble with the authorities? He was a key witness in the murder of two police officers. Don't you think the police would have offered to let him walk on future drug offenses in exchange for his testimony?
* In ''Film/TheFugitive'', Helen Kimble's 911 call starts with her saying "There's somebody in my house", and her last words before dying, [[MistakenConfession "Richard... he's trying to kill me..."]], are treated as the most damning piece of evidence against Kimble. Helen was calling ''to'' her husband and begging for help, not identifying him as the killer. Richard knows this. If his lawyer couldn't convince the jury of it, or at least instill reasonable doubt, he's so shockingly incompetent he should be disbarred. Of course, going on the lam doesn't help, plus he commits lots of crimes along the way prior to his exoneration. As with ''Film/DoubleJeopardy'' above, he still might be going to prison for a long time over all of that.
** There was a lot more evidence than just the 911 call though. His skin under her fingernails, the lack of forced entry into the house[[spoiler: the intruder had keys]], a financial motive, and so on. Certainly enough to convict.
** During the climax, the police officer in charge at the scene orders the sniper in the helicopter to kill Richard the moment he gets a clean shot. There are strict rules about when police officers are allowed to use lethal force, and those orders, given regardless of whether or not lethal force was necessary to subdue the fugitive at that time because of Kimble's status as an alleged CopKiller, could be considered an order to commit murder. Especially since the shots fired ended up putting the Marshals on the ground trying to take Kimble in alive in fear for their lives. Then again, all of these instances would put forward the UnfortunateImplications that, since the real killer was [[spoiler:an ex-CPD cop, some elements of police have been tampering with the investigation and trial, and then had been trying to kill Kimble in order to vouch for their colleague]], whom they fully well knew was guilty.
* ''Film/PrimalFear'' acts like the insanity defense of accused murderer Aaron Stampler, if successful, would mean him easily getting out of a mental institution. This is highly unlikely-violent patients are, understandably, handled very strictly, as no one wants to be the one releasing a murderer who then kills again onto the streets. And the institutions for the criminally insane, which he would be sent to, are in fact often ''more'' confining than prisons.
* In ''Film/ATimeToKill'', Carl commits cold-blooded premeditated murder. He pleads temporary insanity (which is not a real defense-it's just insanity, temporary or not). The defense's closing argument does not mention insanity, but plays on the jury's emotions to convince them of justifiable homicide, after failing to prove insanity. [[http://www.albany.edu/scj/jcjpc/vol4is3/russell.html And that's just]] [[http://usf.usfca.edu/pj//articles/imagine_justice.htm the biggest example]]. Of course, they are not actually trying to prove insanity, and it's privately acknowledged several times that he knew exactly what he was doing. What they're trying to do is go for jury nullification, which no respectable judge would allow. Of course, the jury can still ignore his instructions, and once they acquit, no one can overrule them. It's very unlikely a RealLife judge would let him go through with his speech. However, in the book it's a juror who does the "imagine she's white" talk, while in the jury room, thus getting the rest to acquit. This could be punishable if it came out-jurors take an oath to follow the judge's instructions to consider only the evidence presented, so this might be considered perjury. Admittedly, it's pretty rare to actually prosecute such a case.
** In the book version at least, its pretty obvious that the judge knows exactly what the defense is doing but is letting them get away with it because he thinks the prosecutor should never have brought forward the charges either, while the prosecutor is far less concerned with the actual merits of the case than he is with the benefits to his hoped-for future political career he believes winning the case will give him. This differs significantly from the film, in which the judge appears to rule one-sidedly in favor of the prosecution at every turn.
** The prosecution also made a significant error when it placed Deputy Hastings (who had been accidentally struck by one of the assailant's bullets) on the witness stand and invited him to speculate as to the possible motives of the man who'd attacked him. At this point the defense was handed a gift-wrapped opportunity to pontificate at length about their client's anger and motivations on redirect, in a manner the judge couldn't stop even if he wanted to.
* In ''Film/BeverlyHillsCop'', there is a great deal of discussion of how they can legally search suspected drug trafficker Victor Maitland's warehouse, and whether it is possible to get around a need for a search warrant. At one point, Axel Foley tells Det. Rosewood that he can't come with Axel and Jenny into the warehouse, because Billy is a cop in Beverly Hills and therefore needs a search warrant, such that if Rosewood comes with them anything they find will be ruled inadmissible on the grounds of it being the fruit of an illegal search. The problems with this are twofold: first, any judge with a triple-digit IQ is going to hold that Axel was acting as an agent of the Beverly Hills police, and therefore apply the same standards to him as to Rosewood. Secondly, they don't need a warrant, because Jenny Summers, who is with them, is the manager of Maitland's legitimate business interests and has a key to the warehouse, which she uses to admit them. If the police are admitted to a place, such as a warehouse, and given permission to search there by a person who has been given access to the place by the owner, as Jenny has, then the search is reasonable on its face. That is, Jenny has the authority to consent to the search, and a consensual search does not require a warrant or probable cause.
* In ''Film/DreamLover'', main character Ray is committed to a mental institution when his scheming wife Lana makes him look crazy. He gets revenge by [[spoiler: luring Lana in to visit him and killing her, proclaiming that since she's had him declared insane, he isn't legally responsible]]. As with ''Film/PrimalFear'', that ''might'' be the case (although it's hardly a given). Even if an insanity defense were successful, though, he'd likely go right back into the hospital, and might never get released. Depending on the state, he might still go to prison anyway. Some have abolished the insanity defense, while others provide a "guilty but insane" verdict which means a defendant still gets incarcerated, but is treated in the prison psychiatric ward at the same time.
* ''Film/{{Fracture|2007}}'' has Ted Crawford (Creator/AnthonyHopkins) on trial for the attempted murder of his wife, who'd cheated on him. Due to various ploys, he has some of the prosecution's key evidence excluded and gets acquitted. Then, to make things worse, he decides to remove his wife from life support (who's in a coma since he shot her), as he's her next-of-kin. Young prosecutor Willy Beachum (Creator/RyanGosling) gets a court order to stop him, but hospital security prevents him from entering the room, and his wife dies. Beachum then finds some new evidence, and looks up exceptions to double jeopardy with which to file a murder charge against Crawford. The movie closes with Crawford on trial again, this time with the expectation that he'll get found guilty and justice will be served. First of all: security guards likely would get in trouble for stopping a person waving a court order.[[note]]Admittedly the court order wouldn't have held up once Ted Crawford fought it in court, something the film admits, but that's beside the point.[[/note]] Aside from that, the supposed exception to double jeopardy doesn't hold up. Attempted murder is a [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesser_included_offence lesser included offence]] to murder, meaning it merges with the other. Thus, if you're acquitted of one, it applies to the other as well. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collateral_estoppel Collateral estoppel]] also prevents a party from re-litigating the same facts that were decided on previously. ''The Volock Conspiracy'' blog discusses all this [[http://www.volokh.com/posts/1177883377.shtml# here]], including the fact that there was a lot more evidence against Crawford than was excluded which he could have been convicted on to begin with.
* ''Film/AndJusticeForAll'': It doesn't seem that Kirkland should be in danger of losing his license over telling the police his former client was probably the one forcing lit cherry bombs into people's mouths. Attorney-client privilege only applies to ''past'' crimes, and this was a crime the client fantasized about committing in the ''future''. In that case, attorneys are actually ''required'' to notify the police of what their client plans.
* ''Film/RedLights'': It's quite unlikely Leonardo would get arrested when his act is exposed as fake, let alone imprisoned. The scene [[ShoutOut is obviously based on]] the debunking of faith healer Peter Popoff by James Randi, and not only was Popoff not prosecuted, his followers were outraged with Randi for exposing him ([[KarmaHoudini Popoff]] is still going strong to this day). In the same way, if the people hoodwinked were unwilling to press charges (very likely) he obviously wouldn't go to jail. These cases are notoriously hard to prosecute in RealLife, though Randi offers to testify for the prosecution if they do, and has done so before.
* ''Film/TheButterflyEffect'': Evan wouldn't go to a regular prison, but county lockup, since he hadn't even been tried. The filmmakers knew this-[[RuleOfCool it was cooler filming in a prison though]].
* In ''True Believer'' (1989), James Woods plays Eddie Dodd, a former radical attorney who's sunken to defending drug dealers. He seems to defend them solely by arguing for jury nullification, citing the invasions of constitutional rights in the war on drugs, and saying they should find his client "not guilty" in protest. In reality, the prosecutor would immediately object when he started on anything except the evidence presented, and the judge would sustain. No respectable judge allows lawyers to argue for jury nullification in front of them. It's also somewhat unlikely his client would get a new trial due to just one eyewitness coming forward to say someone else committed the murder (and [[CloudCuckooLander a less than credible one at that]]). It's forgotten as well that, although he didn't commit the murder he'd been sent to prison for, he ''did'' kill another inmate during a staged death match. It's mentioned the prosecution will make a deal for that if he pleads guilty to both crimes early on, but then that's dropped when he goes to trial on the original murder charge instead. He gets cleared of that, but not for the prison killing. Presumably that charge was dropped too, but [[WhatHappenedToTheMouse it's never made clear]].
* ''Film/TheViolentYears'': So the grandparents of an orphaned child have to specifically petition the courts for custody, and the same judge that just presided over a murder trial can turn them down because he thinks they're neglectful and [[MoralDissonance a state orphanage is a better place for the baby than with an affluent family?]] In RealLife-even then-the judge would be overturned on appeal at warp speed, likely followed by a rebuke from the state judicial review board.
** The judge then advises that families turn to the church, neglecting the idea that there are religions other than Christianity, much less the separation of church and state.
** The judge also states that the man is an old friend, aka a clear conflict of interest that would never be allowed.
* {{Discussed}} in ''Film/NancyDrew'' by an actor playing a detective on a TV series set in the 1950s (Creator/BruceWillis in a cameo) who notes they have police in the show give Miranda warnings, which didn't come about until 1966.
* ''Film/DirtyHarry'' got hit with this bad when it came to Scorpio getting released from prison. Basically the only thing that would be inadmissible is his confession due to the fact that he hadn't been read his rights and had been [[JackBauerInterrogationTechnique tortured into giving it.]] Nothing else would be thrown out. Scorpio could've been arrested for assault, possessing a deadly weapon, and attempted murder. The evidence they found would be admissible under an "exigent circumstances" standard today, but at the time this had yet to be enacted by the courts. Scorpio also may not have had a constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures, given that he was squatting (the groundskeeper let him live in his shed, which isn't legal without permission by the stadium's owner). However, courts have held that even homeless people squatting in public parks have the constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures-the key is whether it can be considered their "house", even if they're squatting there, so that part's unclear.
* ''Film/PracticalMagic'': Without a search warrant, any evidence Gary collected would be deemed inadmissible in a court of law and thus could not be used against them. Not to mention that by repeatedly stealing Sally's mail, he is in fact committing a felony himself.
* In ''Goodnight for Justice'' and its sequels, John Goodnight, a 19th century US circuit judge in Wyoming Territory is shown presiding over even ''murder'' trials without a jury, in blatant violation of the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution. It's possible for defendants to waive this right (usually when they think a judge would be more sympathetic than a jury) but very unlikely that so ''many'' people did so.
* The 1987 film ''Rampage'' portrays the case of an accused serial killer using the insanity defense fairly realistically until the end, when the jury finds him guilty. New evidence comes to light proving he has paranoid schizophrenia, causing delusions his blood was poisoned and that he needed to kill people for theirs. His defense attorney says (accurately) that it can be used as a mitigating factor when the jury decides if he should be sentenced to death or life without parole. But then the film ignores this, with the jury recommending that he be committed to a mental institution based on the new evidence, when their only legal options were death or life, having already rejected his insanity defense (TruthInTelevision: the insanity defense is successful only about 25% of the time, and is used in just 1% of cases. In some states it's been abolished entirely). If they acquitted him by reason of insanity, then he would be committed (and, unlike the film's suggestion, most likely never be released). An appeal on the new evidence might be a possibility, but that's [[RuleOfDrama less dramatic]] ([[TheEighties 80's]] films apparently liked to show obviously guilty bad guys being [[OffOnATechnicality freed on "technicalities"]], even when legally impossible).
* In ''The Tortured'', a young couple seeks revenge on their son's murderer, abducting him on the way to prison and taking him to a remote cabin where they [[ColdBloodedTorture torture him]] in a slow, agonizing manner. In a {{twist ending}}, it turns out that the prison transport was carrying two different prisoners, and they didn't abduct their son's murderer but the prisoner with him, whom they mistook because of the (unlikely) resemblance they had plus the facial injuries he suffered from the crash, while the murderer got away. This prisoner was only incarcerated for tax evasion and embezzlement, however, so he wouldn't be going to the same prison as a murderer sentenced to life without parole, meaning he shouldn't have been in a transport with one (they don't send prisoners convicted of tax evasion to the same prisons as murderers), negating the whole plot twist.
* In ''Doc Hollywood'', the main character is taken to court for accidentally crashing into a fence on the property of a local judge, who tries the case personally. A judge cannot try a case in which he is the plaintiff or defendant, as that is an obvious conflict of interest.
* ''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101590/ Class Action]]''. First, [[NonIndicativeName the eponymous lawsuit]] is ''not even a class action''. A class action is when a group of similar plaintiffs combine their case as a class to sue particular plaintiffs. The movie's case is actually a wrongful death suit brought by a ''single'' plaintiff whose wife died when her car caught on fire following a rear-end collision. It revolves around whether the defendant automaker knew the cars were defective. The problem is that automobiles are products, and product defect cases fall under strict liability. That means that the plaintiff does not have to prove that the defendant did anything wrong-they only have to prove that the cars were defective and that they were injured as a result. Furthermore, it would be trivially easy for them to prove that the cars were defective, since the cars did in fact burst into flames. The plaintiff would almost certainly prevail on a ''res ipsa loquitur'' (the thing speaks for itself) claim: the car burst into flames, ergo the car must have been defective. As such, on the facts presented in the film and not disputed by either side the plaintiffs would almost certainly win on summary judgment, or even more likely the defendants would settle before the case got anywhere near trial.
* The main character in ''Film/FatalInstinct'' makes his living by arresting criminals in his job as a police officer then getting them off in his job as a defense attorney. Defending criminals he arrested himself is a conflict of interest. Fortunately, the film runs on RuleOfFunny.
* In ''Film/TheChase'', Jack Hammond is convicted of bank robbery after evidence that would exculpate him is excluded on the grounds that it was improperly collected from the crime scene by the police. This is an obvious absurdity: first, improper actions by the police can only prejudice the prosecution, not the defense. Second, mere errors in collection of the evidence would not normally raise constitutional (or statutory issues) that would lead to exclusion of the evidence. That is, if the evidence (blood left by the actual thief at the scene of one of the robberies) had been contaminated, that would not be grounds for its exclusion even if brought by the prosecution, unless the contamination left it completely useless so that it had no probative value whatsoever. The other side would be able to challenge the evidence, and the jury would have to sort it out.
* ''Film/TheTown'': It's very unlikely that in real life the Boston Police Department would continue their pursuit of Doug's minivan after Coughlin and Doug shoot up two of their cars with their carbines. In real life, the pursuit probably would have ended right there since the rules of pursuit dictate the police not attempt to stop the fleeing vehicle if doing so risks injury or death to the cops or bystanders, a chance that is made more likely when it's in the narrow one-way streets of the North End.
* In ''Film/BasicInstinct'', it is very likely that Catherine Tramell would have been ''immediately'' arrested and charged with murder one after her [[EveryoneRemembersTheStripper infamous interrogation scene]]. There's enough evidence already at that point in the movie that a judge would be inclined to issue an indictment: The victim was murdered mid-coitus in exactly the matter described in one of Tramell's novels. Tramell was known to be the victim's regular sex partner. The victim was last seen alive leaving his nightclub in Trammell's company; his body was found the next morning. That would be more than enough evidence to get to a jury in any U.S. state. Also, the videotape of the interrogation would likely also be admissible into evidence, and although Tramell denied the charge during interrogation, the jury would almost certainly see her for the cold-blooded and manipulative sociopath she very clearly revealed herself to be in that interrogation. Incidentally, the polygraph results would definitely ''not'' be admissible, because polygraphs are known to be unreliable. In fact, it is well-known that sociopaths can beat polygraphs very easily because they lie without shame or nervousness; the fact that she not only passes the polygraph, but does so with no blips whatsoever would just confirm that she's the sociopath that she so obviously is. Realistically, they would have arrested and charged her based on the evidence they had right then and there, and none of the murders that follow would have happened.
* ''Film/KramerVsKramer'': The book ''Reel Justice'' notes that Ted's fear of Billy having to testify if he appeals is ridiculous, considering that an Appeals Court does not hear new evidence, and ''nobody'' testifies as a witness. Also, the "tender years" doctrine (that mothers are better parents than fathers of young children) was on the wane by the late 1970s, when the film came out, thus it's unlikely a judge would still make that the sole basis of his decision.
* ''Film/WitnessForTheProsecution'': Surely a barrister of Sir Wilfred's experience could have gotten Christine's testimony for the prosecution disallowed by arguing that since Leonard Vole did not know she was already married, that would make her his putative spouse and thus spousal privilege would still apply.
* ''Film/TheVerdict'': The defense should have been able to win at the close of Galvin's case by making a motion for "judgment as a matter of law" (i.e. the judge ruling in their favor as no rational jury could find against them). However that doesn't happen, and then Galvin puts on his surprise witness Nurse Kaitlin Price, who shows Dr. Towler was indeed negligent. Judge Hoyle then incorrectly rules that her testimony is inadmissible hearsay, though it fulls under the "admissions" exception. Topping it off, the "best evidence" rule (that when witnesses testify to the content of a document, it must be produced) gets utterly bungled, as the document (a photocopy that Price brings in showing that she altered an admissions form at Towler's order to cover up his negligence) is ''right there in her hand''. Obviously it can easily be produced.
* ''Film/PresumedInnocent'': It's unthinkable that the police wouldn't search for the murder weapon because "if they didn't find it that'd make Sabich appear innocent." Not finding it hurt the prosecution no matter what. Of course, this was necessary to the film's plot, since finding it earlier would have insured Sabich's conviction and prevented the {{twist ending}}. On that note, the dismissal of the case is unlikely, as there was plenty of evidence against Sabich remaining after one key piece was successfully discredited by his attorney with the implication that it was fabricated. Dismissing the case solely on this basis was suspicious, not only due to that but because Sabich's defense attorney had told the judge they knew he'd taken bribes. Sabich's attorney insists the judge didn't rule for them because of this, but it's left nebulous. The dismissal could get overturned if the prosecution appealed the ruling, and Sabich might be tried again on the same charges.
* In ''Film/OtherPeoplesMoney'', Kate never suggests to Jorgy some of the most common anti-takeover defenses, notably the poison pill or the crown jewel defense. The film was released in 1991, and is presumably set in the late eighties, except that by that time the takeover movement of the eighties was waning in no small part because of defenses like the poison pill. Any competent corporate attorney at that time would have suggested those defenses to her client, but Kate never does. Probably the filmmakers knew this but decided that, one, [[ViewersAreMorons they didn't want to have to have Kate explain to the audience what a poison pill is]], and, two, if Jorgy had used either of those defenses that probably would have been the end of it and there would have been no movie. The whole point of those defenses, after all, is that they can pretty much stop takeovers dead in their tracks.[[note]]It's not quite that simple, but close enough.[[/note]]
* ''Film/LiarLiar''
** After Samantha Cole leaves Miranda's office following her introduction to Fletcher, Miranda tells Fletcher that Samantha's case is worth a lot of money to the firm, hinting that the firm is being paid a contingency fee since it's later revealed that a settlement offer has been made and refused, whereas if the firm were accepting a flat fee, the amount of Samantha's settlement would be irrelevant, and there would be no need to bring Fletcher in to replace the attorney who refused unethical behavior earlier in the movie. Attorneys are barred from accepting divorce cases on a contingency basis, unless it's a suit to recover past due alimony or child support.
** Contracts with a minor are considered voidable, not void ab initio. A minor who enters into a contract can choose to void it, but if she turns 18, she only has a limited window in which to declare the intention to void the contract. This window is usually six months-for marriage in California, it is two years. Past this window, the contract is considered ratified and must be executed. Given Samantha Cole's age at the time of the divorce hearing, both her marriage AND the prenup should have been considered ratified. However, even if the marriage were valid but the prenup not, her husband clearly states that he "didn't know she was a minor!" At this point he could probably get an annulment on the grounds of fraud, reverting Samantha to status quo ante matrimonium - i.e., legally in possession of none of his wealth.
** One scene is premised on the idea that the judge can't stop Fletcher from badgering a witness because "[[RuleOfFunny it's his witness.]]"
* ''Film/TheIncredibleHulk'' has multiple examples, all of which are Ross' fault.
** Ross decides that undergoing a government-funded medical procedure makes the person who did so the property of the government. This would probably be considered slavery under US law in reality.
** Ross justifies his hunt for Banner by declaring him to be responsible for the deaths and destruction caused by Hulk's initial rampages (something he might have a good case for). This provides a legal justification for tracking down and apprehending the fugitive doctor. Unfortunately, it also makes it blatantly illegal for Ross himself to be part of that manhunt, as the Posse Comitatus Act severely restricts (and in most cases, outright prohibits) the use of military personnel in law enforcement roles.
** After finding evidence that Banner is in Brazil, Ross blatantly ignores the fact that they have had an extradition treaty with the US in place for over forty years and sends in commandos to retrieve him instead of going through the established channels to have Banner arrested and shipped home. This would cause a major international incident that could be considered an act of war.
* In the 2009 version of ''Film/TheTakingOfPelhamOneTwoThree'', Ryder makes Garber confess to taking the bribe. People around him speak as if that is an actual confession, but no one brings up that this confession was made under duress - Garber would have a very solid case in any court of law to have that particular confession thrown out as evidence because if he continued to deny the allegations ''a man would have died'' - which is far worse than taking a bribe.
* ''WebVideo/CinemaSins'' points out one from ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'': "How can you order the removal of a dog without any investigation into whether or not it ''was'' in fact the same dog that did the biting? For that matter, how do you issue this order but then have the victim carry out the eviction?"
* In the ''Film/SmokeyAndTheBandit'' movies, Sheriff Buford T. Justice is under the impression that being in 'hot pursuit' means that he has the authority to pursue the Bandit wherever he goes. That's not how it works. That part of the hot pursuit doctrine does grant him the authority to chase Bandit over the county line (it was written so the police would not be hamstrung by red tape when dealing with criminals who immediately cross the border to another jurisdiction). He would not have the authority to continue chasing him all the way across that county and into the next, and the next, and the next, ultimately resulting in a chase across multiple ''states''. There is a point where Buford would be obliged to turn over the chase to people with either local jurisdiction for that region (the local sheriff) or simply a wider jurisdiction (state police or the FBI). Though that could also cause some difficulties, as at the beginning of the chase Buford didn't even have any proof that Bandit was doing anything illegal (he ''was'' hauling several hundred cases of beer that was illegal to ship in bulk to that part of the country at the time, but Buford didn't know that), he was chasing the man for purely personal reasons, making the entire pursuit illegal even within Buford's own jurisdiction.

* ''Literature/AlexCross'' novel ''Alex Cross's Trial'' by Creator/JamesPatterson. The book is about a white attorney, Ben Corbett, coming to his hometown of Eudora, Mississippi and investigating lynchings and the Klan at the command of President Teddy Roosevelt, putting the book's date range between September 14, 1901 and March 4, 1909. The book fairly drips with examples of this trope. Here are a few:
** In a town dominated by the Klan (which had been officially disbanded since around 1877 and which didn't exist in its modern form until 1915, but that's [[ArtisticLicenseHistory another issue]]) and in which the sheriff is a sincere member of the Klan, two "White Raiders" who have come to lynch an old black man and his granddaughter die--one by falling off the roof and the other by being stabbed in the back by the granddaughter. The granddaughter is not only not convicted of murder or manslaughter--she never even gets ARRESTED. It seems that Patterson forgot that self-defense is a plea the defendant makes in court, not an excuse for the cops not to arrest someone, and racist, Klan member cops would be especially unlikely not to.
** Ben Corbett's father is appointed judge in the trial of the three surviving Raiders (yes, they were arrested by the sheriff who's a Klansman and who believes in what they're doing). This makes no sense, as Judge Corbett seems pretty low on the judicial hierarchy. Corbett tries traffic cases. And small claims cases between neighbors. This is a case of attempted murder. Newsflash, Patterson: Corbett is a judge of a small-town CIVIL court, not the judge of a county or state CRIMINAL court. '''Corbett's court doesn't have jurisdiction.'''
** The sheriff tells another cop to read the surviving Raiders their rights. The concept of the Miranda rights didn't come into existence until the Supreme Court decision in the case of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miranda_v._Arizona Miranda v. Arizona (1966)]]. It's somewhere between 1901 and 1909. Miranda rights don't EXIST yet; Ernesto Miranda himself wouldn't even be born until the '40s.
** Ben, mid-trial, gets an idea: he and one of his friends will break into the photography offices of Scooter Williams, who takes pictures of every single lynching, and steal the photos and the negatives. Then he will bring the stolen pictures into court as evidence. This ignores several facts:
** Stolen pictures may be inadmissible. This may or may not be a handicap: most states didn't have a rule against this before Mapp v. Ohio, and even now it only applies to police or people acting as their agents. So they would be liable for burglary and theft, but the pictures could still be admitted.
** Even if they weren't stolen, the grisly pictures are horrible, yes, and they are certainly proof that lynching ''exists,'' which is what Roosevelt wanted Ben to find... but they aren't evidence of anything in ''this'' case. They DO prove that the men who went to the Crosses' house had ''attended'' lynchings. But they don't prove that these men went to the Crosses' to ''commit'' a lynching OR that they attacked the Crosses with intent to commit murder, and any first-year law student would argue as much...
** ...If the pictures weren't considered prejudicial to the jury and thrown out of the evidence list during preparations for the trial.
** And since the evidence lists are prepared before trial and are seen by attorneys for both sides, it's unlikely that the judge would accept new evidence mid-trial that the other side hadn't seen-even if the evidence was obtained legally AND proved that the defendants were guilty.[[note]]Before the 1920s, courts were a lot less picky about lawyers following these rules, even though the basic ruling had been around since 1789.[[/note]]
** Moody Cross (the aforementioned granddaughter and Alex Cross's ancestor) is called to the stand and perjures herself by saying that yes, the Raiders had a search warrant and she agreed to let them in, and my goodness, she doesn't know WHY they attacked after that. Ben thinks that this changes everything because now the official story isn't that the Crosses fought men who were performing their legal duty, but that the Crosses acted like good citizens and admitted the representatives of the law, who then attacked them. He seems unaware that:
** a) the stories the Crosses told and that the Raiders told would have been recorded in the briefs both sides filed with the court, so changing the story now would raise all kinds of questions about "Why are you changing your story? Were you lying then or are you lying now?"; and
** b) there is STILL no physical evidence that proves that the Raiders attacked the Crosses and not the Crosses the Raiders.
** When it's time for closing arguments, Jonah Curtis (the prosecutor) tells Ben to make the closing speech. Never mind that Ben isn't listed as an attorney for the prosecution, but as a prosecution ''witness'', and therefore has no right to make the speech.
* ''Literature/JenniferGovernment'' is chock full of this. Highlights include penalty clauses in murder for hire contracts being legally enforceable (even while murder itself remains a crime) and it being perfectly viable to sue a person for property damage incurred by being thrown onto the property by a fleeing criminal. {{Justified}} by being set in a world where big business has suborned almost all functions of government and law enforcement.
* In the Creator/GordonKorman young adult novel ''Son of Interflux'', toward the end of the book, one of Simon's crazy teachers shows up at a speech and, removing her coat, reveals what look like sticks of dynamite strapped to her body. When she detonates the "bomb", tinny music plays and a flag that reads "BOOM" pops out. When Simon's father indignantly demands that the police arrest the woman, they reply that there is no law against impersonating a deadly weapon. Except that there absolutely is such a law, in as many words-there are laws explicitly prohibiting making threats with fake bombs or other weapons.
* The bizarre tragicomic ending of Creator/MarkTwain's "From the London Times of 1904," where it's determined that even though the defendant has been shown not to have committed the crime he's been convicted of, the conviction cannot be overturned, but since the crime wasn't committed, he can't be pardoned. The former is based on a French legal precedent, but the latter is implied to be preexisting law, even though even in the nineteenth century, actual innocence was a common reason for a pardon, to get around the more tedious process of having a court decision annulled, although such petitions for clemency were sometimes not ''accepted''. The "precedent" cited was Alfred Dreyfus' conviction, which is unfortunately not fictional, however he ''was'' finally pardoned after the time this story was written.
* One case handled by Literature/LordDarcy has a man attempt to commit murder with black magic but fail because the intended victim was already dead at the time (Shot in self-defense by a woman the victim was attempting to rape). Darcy actually states that while the man obviously wasn't the murderer, it was possible to charge him for attempted murder since he had indisputably tried to do it, as per "Shoot The Dead Guy" above.
* In ''Eight Million Gods'', the main character's mother keeps trying to have cops track her down and throw her in an insane asylum. The character's mental condition is OCD. Specifically, a compulsive need to ''write horror fiction''. This is clearly not a condition that puts herself or anyone else in danger. In fact, it's arguably beneficial, since she's been making a living off of the royalties of the books her compulsion creates. It's implied that her mother gets away with this because she's a wealthy politician with lots of influence.
* In ''Regina's Song'', the Seattle Slasher is placed in protective custody but not actually arrested when the police find out who she is. This is because they are obliged to read suspects their rights on arresting them, and make sure that the suspect understands those rights, and since their suspect was completely incoherent at the time, they couldn't be certain she understood her rights. While the police are obliged to make certain that suspects understand their rights when they read them, police only need to do this if they intend to use any statements made by the suspect as evidence, and they didn't need to in this case. They had more than enough physical evidence to convict (the murder weapon with the killer's prints and the latest victim's blood all over it in her purse). In any case testimony that is lisped in a self-invented language nobody else speaks would not be admissible evidence in court, for the simple reason that nobody in the court would be able to understand a word the defendant was saying.
* In virtually every ''EncyclopediaBrown'' book, Bugs Meany tries to frame Encyclopedia for something, only for the other boy to prove that the accusations are bogus. Knowingly filing a fraudulent criminal complaint is a crime in and of itself, so Bugs' attempts to get ''the police chief's son'' arrested for crimes that never happened should have gotten ''him'' arrested and thrown into a juvenile detention facility by the end of the third book.
* In Literature/TheFountainhead Howard Roark is [[MotiveRant allowed to argue]] that his blowing up of a building ([[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking because his design for it had been changed]]) was justified and for the jury to acquit him (they do). No judge would permit him to argue for this, which is called jury nullification (ignoring the law even when the defendant is plainly guilty of violating it).
* In ''Literature/AnitaBlake the various vampires and werewolves and other supernatural creatures (except for demons) are all supposed to be taxpaying US citizens. Okay, fair enough. But then Jean-Claude regularly has people summoned to his presence by the expedience of sending a heavily armed thug (Anita) or a powerful vampire (Asher) to retrieve them, often against their will. That's kidnapping. But no one ever thinks to call the cops afterward.
** Likewise, the entire idea that a vampire or werewolf has to get "permission" from the local vampire lord or werewolf pack leader before moving into a new territory is also a violation of civil rights. One can imagine a vampire or werewolf who is new to the Saint Louis area, and who has been harassed and/or threatened because they didn't get approval first suing Jean-Claude or Richard Zeeman for their entire net worth because of civil rights violations.
* An invocation gets lampshaded in ''The Shadow Throne''. A nobleman begs the newly-crowned Queen to leave the company of the traitorous common-born Deputies-General to return to the side of her loyal nobles. The Queen acidly points out that as Queen, the authority to decide which side of a civil war are the traitors lies solely with her.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Any series set in Britain where someone "claims" the right of trial by jury. It does not exist in the UK. For some major crimes, trial by jury is mandatory (murder, rape, etc), but for many others, the prosecution will decide whether to prosecute in summary or solemn proceedings. The caveat to summary proceedings, where the role of finder-of-fact is performed by a judge, is that the court's sentencing powers are severely limited (hence why serious crime is tried in solemn proceedings).
* ''Accused'', a British TV show where each episode opens with a person on trial (not [[AlwaysMurder always for murder]], either) and then reveals through flashbacks how they got there, contains one example. In the second episode, it's a British soldier who served in Afghanistan. Problem is, the crime he's accused of occurred ''in'' Afghanistan on a British military base, against a fellow soldier, yet he's put on trial in a civilian court back in the UK. Any crime on a military base, committed by a soldier, ''against'' another soldier, would fall under military jurisdiction and be tried by a military court.
* ''Series/AllInTheFamily'': One episode contained probably Hollywood's worst misunderstanding of Miranda rights ever. And considering how badly Hollywood usually understands that subject, that's saying a lot. In that episode, Archie is mugged and reports the crime to the police. The police catch the perpetrator and read him his Miranda rights in perfect English after the arrest. However, they have to release him because the mugger didn't understand a word of English. As stated in "Common Examples" above, that's NOT how Miranda rights work.
* On ''Series/{{Bones}}'', {{Diplomatic im|punity}}munity is badly abused in two cases. In the first, a diplomat is threatened with being returned home to be prosecuted, in which case she'll be put in prison and killed by other inmates. To avoid this, she waives immunity. Too bad for her, immunity belongs to the state, not the individual, so she can't actually waive her own immunity. Later, villainous hacker Christopher Pelant falsifies records to claim Egyptian citizenship, without any mention of him actually having (fake) diplomatic status. Somehow, all Egyptian tourists are diplomats now.
* From the ''Series/BostonLegal'' page. Please note that David E. Kelley is a former lawyer, and as such, he chucked realism under RuleOfFunny.
** Even non-lawyers know that lawyers can't meet with judges ex parte, and that evidence has to be relevant to be admissible.
** Once the show brilliantly lampshaded and subverted this. When a judge asked why both parties in a case were being represented by lawyers from the same firm (an impermissible conflict of interest in real life, of course), Denny said "[[BreakingTheFourthWall It saves on guest cast]]".
** One episode featured the lawyers representing the estate of a soldier killed in Iraq, under a state law fraud theory in state court due to misrepresentations by the recruiter. Everything about this is wrong: the federal government can't be sued on a tort theory in state court, the federal government can only be sued for a tort like fraud under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the government is immune to tort suits surrounding military operations, the Feres Doctrine would bar the suit in any event, and the FTCA also exempts the government for causes of action that accrue overseas. All of these mistakes are in one storyline of one episode.
** Another one featured Alan's assistant refusing to pay her federal income taxes. She was charged criminally, and argued that she didn't pay because she disagreed with various government policies. Alan then asked the jury to return a not guilty verdict for that reason, and they did so. Perhaps needless to say, that's not a valid defense, such evidence would never be admitted, and Alan's argument would also not be permitted. There are many real life cases on this issue, because so many out there are eager to not pay their taxes.
** An entire trial in ''Series/LALaw'' was dedicated to ridiculing the idea of a tax-protester who refused to pay his federal taxes because of silly government programs like measuring cow-flatulence etc; the jury just told him the obvious moral (i.e. "preachy message") of the story: that "the little people" only had the right to vote against policies they don't like-otherwise they should just shut up and pay their taxes (that would be the law's position too).
** Carl Sack and Lorraine represent Nantucket, Massachusetts when they want to build a nuclear bomb for protection. Any real judge would throw that out of court instantly and then order the lawyers to be examined for mental reasons.
* Sam Puckett on ''Series/ICarly'' is arrested for assaulting an ambassador and gets off scot-free and never has to deal with the issue. RuleOfFunny obviously applies.
* ''Series/{{Columbo}}'' utilized the same Hollywood Law trope in every episode-- while also being something of a JerkAss: Columbo would basically disguise his surveillance of a suspect, by pretending to simply question the person as a witness-- ''nonstop'' throughout the episode. In this manner he would thus badger, harass and trick the suspect into revealing evidence that would eventually convict them. This is highly illegal, breaching many various civil and ethical protections against police abuse and harassment; however, even when suspects complain about Columbo's nonstop harassment in order to end it, this proved no avail, as Columbo would simply claim that it "proves" that the person is guilty, and that "he's touching a nerve." This made Columbo into more of a VigilanteMan than a policeman, since he was ''always'' right, and never incorrectly harasses an innocent person: however in reality, the law is not made to presume that the police are always right, but to protect the citizen's presumption of innocence. For evidence why this is necessary, you need only look at people wrongly convicted of murder, often due at least in part to overzealous police and prosecutors who are completely sure of their guilt.
** This fits the mold of most "cop shows," i.e. the police are always right, even when ''torturing'' suspects (e.g. NYPD Blue). The moral is that it's smart to trade liberty for security, since the villain always uses his rights to get OffOnATechnicality through LoopholeAbuse.
** Columbo also had a bad habit of tampering with evidence. The way he handled evidence, there was no chain of custody and most of what he would try to admit wouldn't be permissible in court because he would just walk around, pick something up, put it in his pocket, and keep it there until he was ready to share it with the murderer.
** In one instance, Columbo is visiting the suspect at his office. While waiting in the office for the guy to come in, Columbo takes a piece of gum out of the wastebasket. Later he shows it to the suspect, as well as the piece of bitten cheese from the crime scene.[[note]]The suspect has a very uniquely shaped canine. The impression shows up on both.[[/note]] Problems include: the wastebasket was in the office, and does ''not'' come under the 'garbage is public property' ruling; the trash has to be out at the curb, in a dumpster, etc. Also, any ''real'' forensic detective would have ''fits'' at Columbo hauling around a vital piece of evidence like that cheese like that, in a plastic bag, without even an evidence label. Broken custody chain of evidence = darn near impossible to use in court.
* An episode of ''Series/TrueBlood'' had this, where Sam is arrested because there was a girl with a gaping hole in her chest in his diner's freezer. Sure, this has happened before, which would make him a suspect, but there's no evidence that he actually did anything. To quote Videogum, [[http://videogum.com/archives/soap_operas/true_blood_a_bull_in_a_dress_w_083501.html "Well,]] you probably did it because you were the only person here when we showed up. Police work."
** That would be sufficient probable cause to justify an arrest-the bar is not set very high. Note that he's released after they don't find any more evidence implicating him.
* ''Series/{{Frasier}}'' often uses the trope of "the legal victim."
** In a famous episode, Frasier and Daphne are sued by jilted super lawyer Donny Douglas, for "breach of (marriage) contract" (Daphne's last-minute refusal to marry Donny) and "tortious interference in a private contract" (via Frasier's meddling). [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breach_Of_Promise_Of_Marriage Breach of promise of marriage]] is not grounds for a suit anymore in most jurisdictions. Washington state had also ended punitive damages in suits at the time Donny sought them in his. It also could only be applied against the man who broke his promise to a woman, [[TheUnfairSex never against a woman who broke her promise to a man]]. [[note]]Because women in the days when this tort began typically did not work, they were thus reliant on men for support, and so this amounted to a promise that they would care for them financially that was broken, which is cause to sue someone in similar cases to this day.[[/note]] Also, it is incorrect terminology, since Daphne had never actually ''entered'' into any contract. Donny, a lawyer, should have known he ''himself'' could be sued for doing that (it's called abuse of process). It's also not "tortious interference" for someone to urge a would-be bride to not go through with the marriage (which is not a contract by itself).
** Likewise on an earlier episode, Frasier was deliberately sold a counterfeit painting for $60,000, but is told the police "have their hands full with murders and robberies" so apparently they can't be bothered to investigate this. While it's stated that he ''could'' sue, Martin tells him that he'd end up losing more money than he paid for the painting that way. In reality the police tend to take fraud and grand theft ''very'' seriously, particularly against a rich and influential person such as Frasier, who's father-having connections due to being a former cop-likely could pull strings to get the case handled quicker as well.
** Martin, a former police detective, also recounts a MirandaRights example, where he lied about having fully read them when the suspect actually broke free mid-way through and he had to chase him down. As shown above, the failure to Mirandize does not make an arrest invalid, and even if it did, the interruption was the suspect's fault, so he had no need to lie about it at all. Martin also says he ''saw'' the suspect shoot someone, and so his MirandaRights would be utterly irrelevant.
* ''Series/LawAndOrder'':
** One episode had Jack [=McCoy=] team up with a judge to get a drunk driver convicted of multiple counts of second degree murder as part of the judge's crusade. Jack went so far as to blackmail a witness into being out of the country during the trial and suppressed all evidence that the guy was drunk off his rocker when he committed the crime, with the judge {{DeusExMachina}}ing on Jack's behalf all the way. Fortunately, during the trial, [[WhatHaveIDone Jack came to his senses]], and started to show the evidence that the guy was drunk (and so was guilty of Manslaughter, but not murder). The only reason the judge didn't report Jack's abuses in the trial was because he was in as deep. In that one, at least, they acknowledged that what [=McCoy=] and the judge were doing was wrong, and it's brought up several times later on as an example of [=McCoy's=] willingness to engage in improper conduct if he thinks he can get away with it (nowadays lots of drunk drivers ''have'' started to face murder charges, so they could do this legally if the episode were written more recently).
** In an older episode, a guy beats his girlfriend (with her consent) to cause a miscarriage and frame the rich lawyer they intended to sue, taking careful measure to ensure the fetus was under 24 weeks old so they could avoid going to prison. Ben and the others act like there is nothing they can do and have to use all sorts of legal loopholes, never mind the original couple conspired to commit blackmail, perjury, defamation, entrapment, and fraud.
** Too many examples to list, but whenever a judge [[OffOnATechnicality tosses out evidence against the defendant]] early on during a trial to make the case that much harder for the prosecution, though the defendant will always get their just desserts in [[JusticeByOtherLegalMeans one way]] [[VigilanteExecution or another]]. However, one prominent example comes to mind:
** "Hubris": a warrant is issued to search the suspect's apartment but the courier hasn't brought it yet. Knowing the suspect will get there before the warrant, Det. Green sticks a toothpick in his lock to keep him from entering. The courier arrives a few seconds later and the police bust in and seize a videotape of the murders. The judge tosses the tape since the police secured the area before they had the warrant (even though they had reason to believe he'd destroy the evidence and were well aware the warrant had been issued). Then the judge allows the defendant to do two things he shouldn't have: call an alibi witness to perjure herself and take the stand to testify on his own behalf. Not only were the tapes admissible to cross-examine both of them but the defendant was clearly guilty of perjury considering he was [[AFoolForAclient representing himself]] and had personal knowledge he was suborning perjury. It is also ''totally'' legal to secure a scene if there's a concrete possibility that the evidence will be removed, destroyed, or otherwise endangered before the search warrant arrives. What the police ''can't'' do is start poking around, looking in drawers and such, before the warrant arrives.[[note]]As an example, if the police had strong reason to suspect that a criminal had evidence on his computer, they could secure the location and prevent the criminals from touching it. They couldn't actually fire it up and look at the contents until the warrant arrived, though.[[/note]]
** In "Patient Zero," a man is charged with killing his mistress's child (dosing them with stolen SARS virus that she survived). His wife testifies that she was with him at the time, but breaks down on the stand and changes her story a couple of times. Outside the courtroom, she admits that she was deliberately playing the jury, and the jury returns a not guilty verdict because they can't be sure what the truth is. [=McCoy=] and Southerlyn watch the husband and wife walk out of court hand-in-hand, and are apparently so bewildered by their defeat that they completely forget they have an iron-clad case for perjury against the wife. Not to mention completely ignoring the handful of felonies the husband committed in getting the SARS virus to begin with.
** In "Gunshow," the season ten premiere, a gunman opens fire on a crowd in a public park, killing over a dozen people. Once arrested, he confesses to the police. The judge in the case, however, excludes the confession on the grounds that the suspect's ''mother'' had told Lt. van Buren that she was calling a lawyer for her son, and that the police therefore had no right to continue the interview, since the suspect's right to counsel had been invoked. The problem is that the suspect was '''not''' a minor, and, as such, his mommy could not invoke his right to counsel for him. If he was properly {{Mirand|aRights}}ized, and did not invoke his right to an attorney, nor his right to remain silent, then the police had every right to continue questioning him. The only reason for this was so that [=McCoy=] would end up prosecuting the gun manufacturer instead [[note]]never mind the fact they had been immunized from lawsuits by Congress at that point[[/note]] in one of the more {{Anvilicious}} (to say nothing of asinine) episodes in the show's run.
* ''Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit'':
** In "Crush", the DA forces detective Benson to arrest a teenage girl on child porn charges (for "sexting" pictures of herself) in an effort to coerce her into testifying against an attacker. When she does so, the DA attempts to drop the charges, but the judge overrules her and sentences the girl to several years in prison. While the end of the episode reveals that the judge was corrupt, this has two problems. First, the arrest was an obvious case of Malicious Prosecution, which is a felony, and was one of the few cases (it's a notoriously difficult charge to prove in most jurisdictions) in which it would be an open and shut case. Second, even in juvenile court, the judge has no power to do any of that.
** SVU has far more. Best one is evidence getting tossed because the man was part of a conspiracy with a lawyer and a thug and knew where the body was. Attorney-client privilege was used to toss it. Privilege doesn't work like that, especially if its a conspiracy a lawyer is involved with, and even more so if a third person who's not a spouse was privy to it as well. As was explicitly pointed out on the mothership, at least once.
** In "Popular", a nurse cites doctor-patient privilege in refusing to talk with Detective Stabler when she treats a middle school girl who claims her teacher raped her. Captain Cragen, Stabler's wife and even the victim herself give Stabler grief for bothering to ''do his damn job'' and investigate the rape; even Stabler treats the whole thing like he's breaking procedure because the privilege is so sacrosanct. Doctor-patient privilege does not cover evidence of a crime: when a medical professional comes across evidence of things such as child abuse, they are ''required by law'' to report it to the authorities. A clear-cut admission from their patient would leave them with no wiggle room whatsoever for neglecting their duty in this case.
** In "Manipulated", the detectives use a facial recognition program to compare a picture taken on the street to the DMV records for driver's licenses. The judge later throws this out, claiming that the technology was too inconclusive and all the subsequent evidence was tainted. A person has no privacy expectation in a picture taken on a public street or their driver's license photo, so comparing them to each other cannot possibly be a violation of the 4th Amendment. Without a violation, the tree isn't "poisoned" and the remaining evidence is acceptable. What's more, the unreliability of the technology bears upon its admissibility at trial, but they don't need the computer match at trial-once the computer found the picture, the detectives confirmed it by the eyeball test and the suspect's admission. Even further, they already knew of the suspect because he was the husband of the victim's boss and they had an easy argument for inevitable discovery (they would have recognized him from the photo given time).
** In "Presumed Guilty", even after it was revealed that Fin's ex-brother-in-law had been stopping the attack against Fr. Shea, he is still labeled a vigilante, and the ObstructiveBureaucrat DA says he had no business assaulting someone while on parole, but should have just called 9-1-1. In Real Life, the law recognizes the difference between vigilantism, which is illegal, and defense of a third party, which is not. If you see a crime, such as a burglary or vandalism in progress, and you assault the criminal, or you assault a criminal after a crime has been committed, that is vigilantism. If, however, you see someone being assaulted, you are well within your rights to intervene, even if you literally have to fight off the assailants. (N.B. In some jurisdictions, you had better make sure the person you are helping is actually the victim.)
* ''Series/{{Matlock}}'' turned the Cornered Stool Pigeon into a Beaten Dead Horse; in every episode, Matlock would simply corner the witness with new and unaccepted evidence, which he had not previously shared with the prosecution, and basically convict the person on the spot with some ridiculous DeusExMachina.
** There was even an episode called The Juror that was basically ''Film/TwelveAngryMen'' Matlock version.
* In ''Series/NorthernExposure'', a young Jewish doctor named Joel Fleischman (Rob Morrow) goes to medical school for free, in exchange for agreeing to practice in an Anchorage, Alaska, hospital for four years. However when the contract falls through and he is released from it, he then finds that the [[ReadTheFinePrint Fine Print]] sentences him to a four-year prison sentence, if he fails to practice for ''four'' years in the boondock town of "Cicily" instead (the legality of which is likewise confirmed by an AmoralAttorney). This is a classic case of bad research, in that such a contract is not only legally impossible, but would in fact constitute ''involuntary servitude'' under the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution-needless to say this is totally illegal. Insult is added to injury, likewise, when the doctor later learns that the contract somehow binds him to ''five'' years of practice, rather than four (actually a shallowly disguised plot device to extend the series). In addition, the doctor is threatened with death by a {{Vigilante}} who owned the contract, if Fleischman tries to break it. In actuality, the doctor could only be subject to civil suit for damages, as well as possible revocation of his medical license; and a death threat naturally is a crime by itself. While this would sway most people, the writers clearly chose to pursue Hollywood Law (as well as VigilanteExecution) as the first in a long series of many tropes which would later characterize the series.
** Actually, it's not at all clear that the doctor would even be subject to a civil suit for damages. Personal services contracts are notoriously difficult to enforce. ''If'' the contract had a liquidated damages clause that the court held not to be excessive, the plaintiff would be able to get those damages, but that would probably be it. Alternatively, they might be able to get restitution damages, that is, the return of the money spent on his tuition, but that would be about it.
* In a British example, an episode of ''Series/RumpoleOfTheBailey'' ended with a revelation after Phyllida Trant Erskine-Brown was going to "leave the Bar" if certain offers were made; she did so by becoming a judge. Cut to a scene of her presiding over a case and giving her husband Claude Erskine-Brown a hard time; a judge would not be allowed to preside in a case where her spouse is appearing (it's a conflict of interest). This is a rare example for ''Rumpole'', which was written by John Mortimer, an experienced barrister who knew all the ins and outs of the legal system; it's probably because Claude was a regular character and Phyllida had been a regular, and the sight of Phyllida presiding over the hapless Claude was [[RuleOfFunny too good a joke to miss]].
* Another British example is ''Judge John Deed''. Shall we count the ways?
** The eponymous judicial hero allows the jury to 'reconsider' their verdict on the basis of what the accused says just before sentence is passed. [[spoiler:They change their minds and let him go.]]
** Judge Deed is sleeping with a pretty barrister, has a barrister for an ex-wife AND a barrister for a daughter (eventually). All three appear before him, with not a single person mentioning the clear conflict of interest at hand.
** After realizing the [[GovernmentConspiracy whole establishment is out to get him]], said Judge begins a very public crusade to get the Home Secretary (a very senior politician) fired. In fairness, the Home Secretary is a complete ratbag who takes bribes from people who arrange the murder of a dangerous witness and make [[ProperlyParanoid at least two attempts on Deed's life]]. From outside ''Deed'' looks like Hollywood Law, from inside he looks like TheLastDJ.
** After deciding that a jury has been tampered with, Judge Deed [[spoiler:decides that they should have found him guilty and, without any investigation as to jury tampering at all, puts the suspect in jail so there can be a retrial.]] The defense barrister is completely ignored, even after saying the magic words of "habeas corpus" and asking for directions to the Court of Appeal.
* ''{{Series/Seinfeld}}'':
** The series finale; Good Samaritan laws do not work that way. There is so much wrong here we made a list:
*** They're to ensure someone who helps an obviously ill or injured person cannot be sued later for unintentional injury or death, as is the case in Massachusetts. Even the compulsory good Samaritan laws only apply to people who are injured or ill, not being threatened by a mugger. If anything, the Seinfeld cast should have been commended for getting pictorial evidence of the crime.
*** The punishment for violating a compulsory good Samaritan law is a small fine ($100-$300) with no jail time, and, as already explained, stopping a mugging is not covered by any real Good Samaritan law. In fact, the arresting officer states "within reason". Random strangers stopping any crime, much less a mugging, is not reasonable, ''especially'' when a police officer is at the scene the entire time.
*** Regardless of how the Good Samaritan law itself is written, bringing in dozens of "character witnesses" to recount every misdeed the defendants have ever committed is still ''incredibly'' illegal under U.S. law. [[note]]Character witnesses can only called in if the defense tries to use the defendant's character as a defense, which is not the case here.[[/note]] The writers probably knew this and simply exaggerated the idea and played it for laughs.
*** The police officer that arrested them only did so by watching the entire robbery, '''doing nothing about it''', and then arresting four bystanders/witnesses to a violent crime with video evidence, for not doing '''his''' job, even with a completely fictional representation and gross exaggeration of actual laws.
** Interestingly, Massachusetts has a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duty_to_rescue "Duty to Rescue"]] law (often incorrectly referred to as Good Samaritan Law despite being completely unrelated), '''''but''''' it is ''explicitly'' a duty to ''report'', not a duty to aid. [[note]]Chapter 268, section 40 provides "Whoever knows that another person is a victim of aggravated rape, murder, manslaughter or armed robbery and is at the scene of said crime shall, to the extent that said person can do so without danger or peril to himself or others, report said crime to an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable." [[/note]] Since a police officer was at the scene almost immediately, they are not responsible to do anything. On top of this, Duty to Rescue laws are often ignored by lawmakers, law enforcers, courts and the general public, so any conviction for violating one is extremely unlikely.
** In ''The Bottle Deposit'', Newman and Kramer try to return bottles in Michigan for the higher deposit. Michigan prohibits out of state bottle returns, and limits returns to $25 a piece, though this is probably justified since Kramer and Newman weren't thinking beyond getting the bottles there.
** Also in "The Bottle Deposit", Jerry's insurance company refuses to acknowledge his car was stolen on the basis that he willingly surrendered the keys, meaning he has no financial recourse if his car is not recovered. The police investigating it certainly think it's a theft. Then again, insurance companies are infamous for making up the most ridiculous reasons to avoid paying out a claim.
** In "The Bris", after a suicidal mental patient jumps off the roof and lands on George's car, the Hospital Administrator refuses to pay for repairs and even chastises him for trying to "profit from a tragedy". The hospital is entirely at fault for the accident (roof access should be restricted just like razor blades should be confiscated), and George is well within his rights to demand they pay, even filing a lawsuit. In fact, he could provide testimony in court for the patient's family should they file a lawsuit. Of course, in this case, the administrator could have just been trying to weasel her way out of paying, and George was cowardly enough to buckle under her intimidation and not attempt an actual lawsuit, especially since she gave him the impression that doing so would make people see him as a heartless monster.
* ''Series/VeronicaMars'' had many of these, especially in Season 2. When Duncan had to kidnap his daughter? Not a chance in HELL the grandparents could have gotten custody away from the biological father, even if he hadn't been from a gazillionaire family - well, maybe a CHANCE, as 2/3 of the remaining gazillionaire family members had been investigated and/or tried for interfering in the murder investigation of their daughter, because they believed their son, the father, was guilty due to a medical condition which causes uncontrollable, unpredictable and violent blackouts. Also, the mother was also from a gazillionaire family and big in their church. The trial of Aaron Echolls at the end of season 2 had the defense attorney asking about Veronica's sexual history and confidential medical info, then directly introduce hearsay from an absent 3rd party (directly, as in the lawyer ''himself'' told the jury that the absent person had said X).
** RealityIsUnrealistic. California evidence law was the first to be codified and differs in several ways from most states, especially when Proposition 8 in 1980 made a lot more fair game. If sexual history is relevant, even just to show bias, it's allowable so long as not to prove consent to a rape. Hearsay from an absent 3rd party may also be used on cross-examination to a witness, provided it meets certain qualifications. However that's usually a stupid idea as attacking character of a witness allows the defendant's character to be attacked. But bringing in Veronica's medical records should've brought a mistrial and sanctions (if not disbarment) against Echolls' lawyer, as those are wholly confidential.
* In ''Series/TheDrewCareyShow,'' Mimi Bobek originally gets a job with Drew's company, by threatening to sue for "discrimination" if they refuse to hire her for wearing clown-like makeup and clothing on the job, claiming that it's "discrimination against her appearance." However, such laws only pertain to a person's ''natural'' appearance, not the way a person ''chooses'' to look-and clown make-up and clothing are obviously chosen, not natural. And, in the US, laws don't protect discrimination on the basis of general appearance (i.e. you look like a clown, you're not going to get a job-that's perfectly legal and understandable). There's a limited number of protected characteristics (race, religion, gender, etc.) that are the only ones you can't refuse to hire based on. Or if it's something protected by the Constitutionally-protected RuleOfFunny (never mentioned ''which'' constitution).
* ''Series/{{CSI}}:'' "Invisible Evidence": a patrolman stops a car for a broken tail light, arrests the driver on an outstanding warrant and a CSI finds evidence of a murder in the trunk. The judge tosses the evidence because neither the patrolman nor the CSI applied for a warrant to search the trunk. The 4th amendment is exempted whenever a person is being arrested in their car (covering the patrolman) and anytime a car is impounded, the police have to inventory its contents (the CSI).
** Slightly different now; the Supreme Court in Arizona v. Gant rules that a "search incident to arrest" at a car can only be conducted if the search is likely to turn up evidence of the crime the person is being arrested for. You can search the car of someone being arrested for DUI for alcohol bottles but you can't if you're arresting him for reckless driving for example. IF the police SEIZE the car however, an "inventory search" can be conducted at the impound lot on the grounds that the police don't want to be accused of stealing something from the car if the perp is let go.
** Of course as it turned out [[spoiler:when the CSI team reinvestigate the case, searching for evidence that ''will'' be admissible, they discover that the driver was innocent - he was being framed by the car wash employee, who planted the bloody knife in the back seat and smashed the tail light so he would be stopped.]]
* The fourth season of ''Series/{{Lost}}'' had "Eggtown", in which the flash-forwards followed Kate's murder trial. For every one aspect of the law it got right, it got three or four wrong. For a comprehensive list of all the blunders, see its page on Lostpedia. Just to start with, it takes place in California, for an ''Iowa'' murder she's accused of, and goes off from there.
** Another big one: Kate's mother suddenly has a change of heart and refuses to testify against her, which somehow destroys the prosecution's ''entire'' case. Even if she can't be convicted of her father's murder anymore, how does the loss of this testimony have any impact on all the ''other'' crimes she committed?
* ''Series/TorchwoodMiracleDay'' has the governments of the world (including the US) making major changes to the legal system almost overnight as a response to the [[DeathTakesAHoliday Miracle]]. Some of these laws are clearly unconstitutional, yet no one takes notice and nothing is heard from the Supreme Court. As an example, they [[spoiler:burn people who may be conscious alive]], which is a violation of the 5th Amendment (deprivation of life without the due process of law) plus the 8th Amendment (i.e. cruel and unusual punishment), while Oswald Danes also gets the rule on double jeopardy wrong. You can't be ''tried'' more than once for the same crime. No one said your death sentence cannot be ''executed'' twice (many first attempts failed in the old days, e.g. if the rope broke). His claim for this being "cruel and unusual punishment" would only be accepted if they could not find a method of execution that wouldn't cause him undue pain. And if they couldn't, all ''that'' means is they couldn't attempt to execute the sentence again-it would be commuted to life, but he certainly wouldn't be set free.
** Particularly since the procedure for most death sentences contain the phrase "until dead", which covers failed attempts.
* In an episode of ''Series/LittleHouseOnThePrairie'', Judd Larabee is accused of burning down Jonathan's barn. A judge is called in to preside over the case. When he arrives, he appoints Charles as the jury foreman even though Charles is the best friend of the victim. He then assigns Charles with the task of selecting a jury. Throughout the case, the judge scolds people for wasting the court's time when they try to present evidence. When the jury deliberates, they have 11 jurors who say Larabee is guilty and one juror who thinks he's not guilty. The judge then orders the one juror to stand up and explain why he thinks the man is not guilty before dismissing him from the jury. Then, he replaces the juror, but only after asking the replacement what his verdict would be. No one objects or finds any of these actions to be unusual.
* ''Series/RaisingHope'' has convicted serial killer Lucy's conviction and death sentence commuted/expunged due to police taking what was considered excessive action during an escape attempt after she was electrocuted. First of all, the court system CAN'T commute your sentence because of a guard's actions in prison, especially murder convictions. Only the state governor or US President can commute sentences. Death row prisoners who almost escape don't make the top of the list, as you'd expect. Second, Lucy should have been left strapped into the electric chair until declared legally dead-she shouldn't have been able to even try her escape.
* Short-lived FOX legal procedural ''Justice'' (2006) centered around a criminal defense firm and their cases, somehow managing to avoid many common pitfalls. It took one move for all credibility to go flying out the window: ''the prosecution calling the defendant to the stand to testify.'' Neither the judge nor the legal team objected, but every student of US history did.[[labelnote:Why?]]The defendant in a criminal case can never be compelled to testify under the 5th Amendment (the right against self-incrimination). Defense attorneys may have their clients testify, if the defendant has no choice and/or has material information, a solid alibi, etc., but that decision is always weighed against how badly the defendant's credibility can be destroyed by the prosecution on cross-examination. Since a lawyer cannot argue a client is not guilty if the client has admitted that he ''is'' and no lawyer will ever allow a witness to be asked a question they don't know the answer to (e.g., "Did you do it?"), the safest and most common move is to keep the defendant from testifying, no matter how much they want to, as it's more likely the defendant will somehow screw it up, alienate the jury, and/or make things worse, when all the defense attorney has to do is create reasonable doubt. Even if a defendant were set to testify at their trial, they would ''never'' be called by the prosecution as no defendant can be a witness ''for'' the prosecution (i.e., a witness against themselves). If they take the stand during their defense, the prosecution has the right to cross-examine them as a witness, but that's it. Even if a defendant pleads self-defense or insanity, they still are not a witness for the prosecution and will testify in their own defense ''after'' the prosecution has finished. If the prosecution knows the defendant will testify, due to the nature of the plea, the prosecutor will call witnesses and experts to build an argument that renders a defense claim null (e.g., a forensic expert). This is another reason why insanity pleas are much less common in real life than in court: if a defendant pleads insanity, it becomes a character trial, and the prosecution gains access to the defendant's psychological records (i.e., the defendant loses doctor-patient privilege). This is why the prosecution dropped their motion to have James Holmes's notebook (given to a therapist, under privilege) released-Holmes is expected to plead insanity, at which point the prosecution will have full access to all material documenting his state of mind. And now you know.[[/labelnote]]
* In the ''Series/BlueBloods'' episode "To Tell the Truth", Danny and Erin have difficulty convincing an eyewitness to testify against a gangster. To remedy this, the cops leak his location to the underworld, then [[WeWait wait for the gangsters to strike]] before swooping in to "rescue" him.
** In "Critical Condition", Jamie and his new partner, Sosa, stake out a park bench and wait for someone to take a bag of stolen goods. Jamie squirms over what he views as "borderline entrapment." In reality it would only qualify if they convinced someone to take the bag-just leaving it out there is completely legal.
** In "Old Wounds", Erin Reagan prosecutes a case where her ex-husband is the defense attorney, when in reality that would never happen, because such would be a conflict of interests. This also happens in other episodes, all without any comment.
** In "Protest Too Much", a young couple rob a bank, accidentally shooting a man in the process. Detective Danny Reagan is on the case. As the FBI agents investigating this point out, it's a federal crime to rob a bank, which includes any crimes committed during the course of that (even when the shooting was done by an off-duty NYPD cop's gun-he was at the bank and got disarmed by the bank robbers) meaning it should be an exclusive FBI investigation. The NYPD might not even be on the case at all.
** In "Unwritten Rules", police detective Danny gets upset with his prosecutor sister Erin when she won't press charges on a suspect identified as killing a police officer during an armed robbery because the eyewitness, an elderly woman, is shaky on it being him and she doesn't think she'll hold up. While it would still be enough to arrest him, she says to let him go. Later they tell the suspect there's another witness against him, and offer him a plea deal where he'd only do seven years in prison. Danny then "let's slip" the fact that this witness ''didn't'' identify him, and the suspect backs out at once, which is all part of their plan. He's then arrested due to the confession he signed to get the plea deal. While police and prosecutors ''can'' lie to a suspect, this does not apply to the terms of a plea bargain, and self-incriminating statements made on the promise of a deal cannot be used against them if it falls through. Very few people would make plea deals otherwise.
** In "Justice Served" its suspected that lawyer Angelo Gallo was shot because he dropped his client, a mob boss, who thought he would tell the police about killing a witness to make the case against him go away because supposedly "attorney-client privilege ends" when their business relationship does. Not even close-it applies to ''all'' past criminal activity clients admitted to (unless the lawyer themselves was party to it). Later on it turns out that Gallo knows the details of the contract killing his client ordered, which he gives to police. It's not made clear whether he knew about this before or after the crime had occurred, however. Assuming the latter, none of this information could be used against his client.
*** In the same episode, Jamie's partner officer Edit "Eddie" Janko is [[AttemptedRape almost date-raped]] in her apartment. She's reluctant to come forward out of fear she'll appear weak in front of fellow (particularly male) officers. Finally he convinces her to press charges. Rather than hand it off to the detectives who handle such crimes, however, Janko personally arrests the man who attacked her. This is a massive conflict of interest, as she's the one who's complaint they're arresting him on to begin with, a fact that any defense attorney would make hay out of.
*** On a side note, it's very unlikely Danny, a homicide detective, would be allowed on the jury in a murder trial by the defense (though he ends up on their side).
** In "Custody Battle" Frank is questioned over the fact that his daughter Erin, a prosecutor, was assigned to review the death of a suspect in the custody of his department. Frank is rightly asked if she can be objective, considering that a negative finding will reflect poorly on him as police commissioner. However, like the examples above with Erin prosecuting cases where her ex-husband is the defense attorney, it's a conflict of interest to investigate matters than even tangentially have to do with a close relative, and she'd have to recuse herself.
* In an episode of the legal drama ''Equal Justice'', the attorney for a physician charged with assisted suicide does not dispute that he did it, nor does her client. Rather, they argue, as the prosecution says, that "the law is wrong." Problem is, that's jury nullification, and in reality the prosecutor would object right there, as it's unethical for a lawyer to argue that, rather than simply defending it. This one is a staple of many {{courtroom drama}}s.
* On at least two episodes of ''Series/DueSouth'', confessions for murder are forcibly extracted at gunpoint. Said confessions would be totally worthless in court, no matter how many people witnessed it (any competent defense attorney would simply claim that their client would have been willing to say just about anything if it would get their accuser to put the gun away, assuming the judge didn't just rule that a confession made under obvious duress is inadmissable in the first place). On one occasion the person holding the gun was herself a police officer, and should have known better (not to mention gotten in a lot of trouble for doing it in the first place).
* In ''Series/OrphanBlack'', it's believed by everyone involved that [[spoiler:human clones secretly created using a patented biological technique are legally the slaves of the patent holders, who can do anything they want to them]]. The multiple problems with this are explained in detail at the work page, but let's just say here that [[spoiler:intellectual property law]] does '''not''' work like that. It might be explained away as the bad guys taking advantage of the characters' legal ignorance to intimidate them, but one of the protagonists is an [[spoiler:academic biologist]] who really ought to know this stuff.
* ''Series/BreakoutKings'' had a lot of this. First of all, the US Marshals' Service does not have the authority to reduce a prisoner's sentence by one month, or at all. This may seem shocking, but prison sentences are actually legal rulings imposed by courts of law, and cannot be altered by an agency of the executive branch (the US President could theoretically commute their sentence or pardon them ''if'' they're convicted of federal offenses, but see here-[[note]]It's not that a deal of some sort to shorten a convict's sentence could never happen at all, but it would be much more involved than what is depicted on the show.[[/note]]). Secondly, the Marshals' service is part of the federal government, meaning that it has no responsibility or authority over state prisoners, but at least one of the convicts on the team, Shea, was in a state prison-Ossining, or Sing-Sing. Also, many of the runners the team chases are shown escaping from state prisons (Marshals take over when a state prisoner flees across state lines, but not before).
** Also, in the episode "SEAL'd Fate" in season 2, the plot turns on a private military contractor firm that was hired to carry out covert ops by the US government, one of which turned out to involve the commission of war crimes. At the end of the episode, the runner, who was an employee of the company who broke out to expose the company's culpability, was taken out of the Marshals' custody by the CIA. The CIA is barred by statute from arresting anyone on American soil, or conducting any kind of operations whatsoever domestically. Also in that episode, the Marshals were locked in the company's offices when the runner broke into the building; after this, the Marshals just walk away. Again, shockingly, it's actually a crime to imprison law enforcement officials (or anyone actually, outside some obvious exceptions) against their will. For some reason, the marshals act like there is nothing they can do about this. That whole episode was obnoxiously idiotic.
* ''Series/PersonOfInterest'':
** In the season four premiere, Reese (in his new persona as a detective), doesn't bother with filling out the paperwork justifying his shooting a drug dealer because he didn't fire ''his'' gun. Even though the circumstances behind the shooting are easily justifiable (the guys he shot were trying to rob and kill him), this is a no-no. It doesn't matter if a cop shoots his attacker with his own gun or the perp's gun, what matters to the department is that the cop shot somebody, and that has to be legally justified-every officer is put on leave until Internal Affairs clears it.
** In "Wingman", Reese stops a suspect through shooting him in the knee (as is his signature). It's different now, Fusco points out, because he's a detective. Their captain rightly chews him out, but no one mentions that the NYPD could be sued, not to mention the injured suspect filing an excessive force complaint, quite possibly even a civil rights violation. Also, since Reese has already done this ''three times'' in a month, he should not even be back to work since Internal Affairs would have taken away his gun and he'd be on leave until cleared (not likely in this case) as it says above.
** What makes both of these really egregious is that in earlier seasons it was played more realistically - Carter lost her detective's shield between the second and third seasons because a DirtyCop stole the evidence that justified a shooting she was involved in before IA arrived to investigate.
* ''Series/TheGoodWife'': Peter's first day back in the State's Attorney's office comes with this insane declaration: no plea bargains. Something better than 95% of all cases are pled out before a trial these days, independent of jurisdiction. This is in part because it's much less work to not have to fight a case out in front of a jury. The show itself is consistent in showing how much work is cut off for both sides when a plea is taken. So, while saying on one hand that the amount of hours the staff can work is being cut, he enforces a new policy that would exponentially increase the amount of work needed.
** In "Dark Money", the firm has some evidence excluded because it was obtained from illegally hacking into a computer. However, the exclusionary rule applies only to illegally obtained evidence the government (or someone working on their behalf) collected and attempts to submit for a ''criminal'' case. They are not government employees, and this was civil. The judge could therefore not exclude this, though he ''would'' likely inform the police and they might face charges.
* One of the plot arcs in ''Series/ModernFamily'''s fourth-season finale, "Goodnight Gracie", which follows the whole cast to Florida in the wake of Phil's mother's death, has Mitchell accompanying Gloria to court to answer an old charge against her ... and deciding he likes getting back into the courtroom, so he winds up representing just about everyone else there. While the episode figures into his character arc because it leads him to conclude he wants to get back into litigating cases in court again, it's extremely unlikely that a Florida judge would let a lawyer from California, presumably not a member of the Florida bar, just up and represent clients before her. An out-of-state lawyer can be allowed to represent a client temporarily (called ''pro hac vice'' or "for this purpose") but it would be very likely only one at a time.
* ''Series/WonderWoman2011Pilot'':
** Claiming someone engages in illegal activities without proof is called slander and could easily get someone sued. Wonder Woman calls a press conference to announce this, fully acknowledging her lack of proof, and yet suffers no consequences. She also admitted to the entire world that she has broken the law to stop a crime she can't even prove was committed.
** Doesn't even touch the detective's blatantly illegal (not to mention stupid) advice to WW that if she breaks into the villain's lair, the police will be able to investigate it because it's now a crime scene. Yes it will be, for a crime ''that Wonder Woman committed'', and ''the police let her do''. The only way this works is if Wonder Woman already has blanket immunity to prosecution, which opens a whole new can of worms that's even more terrifying, but would be sadly consistent with everything else we see. Also, if she's deemed to have been an agent of the police in doing this, any evidence they find will be suppressed.
** Worse, matters legal get ''significant'' attention in this series (it is DavidEKelley writing it, after all). It all serves to keep before us ''exactly'' how illegal every single thing Diana does is, even as the plot treats her like everything she does is right. She ''literally'' commits more crimes than her enemies.
** The show seems to think that because Wonder Woman is not officially connected to any law enforcement agency, she is above the law.
* In the fifth episode of ''Series/TheFlash'', "Plastique," the army, under [[ComicBook/CaptainAtom Gen. Wade Eiling]], shows up early in the episode to take over the investigation from the Central City police. This is of course a blatant violation of the Posse Comitatus Act, which forbids the use of the US Army to enforce the laws of the states (unless authorized to do so for a specific situation by an Executive Order or act of Congress).
* ''Series/ThePractice'': Show creator Creator/DavidEKelley, despite himself being a lawyer, gets lots of details wrong (or perhaps discards them for [[RuleOfDrama dramatic purposes]]). Many examples exist, but particularly egregious is "Line of Duty", where Bobby Donnell learns from his prosecutor girlfriend that the police will be raiding a drug house-one which his drug dealer client runs. So he warns the client to get out, but instead said drug dealer client decided to shoot it out with the police, and an officer is killed. After the police discover what he did, Bobby is charged with being an accessory before the fact. In his defense he argues that his legal duty to represent the client covered warning of an impending arrest. The judge agrees. Not even close. Though attorneys must zealously represent all clients, this has to stay within the bounds of the law. Unsurprisingly, warning a drug dealer he was about to be arrested isn't legal.
* The trial in series 2 of ''{{Series/Broadchurch}}'' has by the broadcast of the second episode been criticized for its great inaccuracy, mostly to increase the drama. Most glaringly multiple witnesses sit in the audience of the murder trial, but the defense bullies Mrs Latimer and Ellie to an extent that would be severely reprimanded in real life, and [[spoiler: the killer's confession is dismissed far too easily]].
* ''Series/HowToGetAwayWithMurder'': The main student characters are all first year law students. In the United States, first year law students aren't allowed to work more than twenty hours per week if they're full time students - it's a rule in place by the American Bar Association to allow the students to focus on their educations. Obviously though, following that rule would lead to less drama for the show, so TropesAreNotBad.
* ''Series/NoOrdinaryFamily'': Teachers aren't allowed to arbitrarily change grades on formal exams from B to F without providing some pretty strong evidence. Doing that and officially entering it into the system (almost certainly without following procedure) is a crime just as serious as hacking. It's like lawyers don't exist or something...
** It's also pretty safe to say that teachers do not have the ability to arbitrarily hand out and take away scholarships.
** George claims he's responsible for the crimes of a gangster due to [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicarious_liability vicarious liability]] as he screwed up a previous case when the guy got {{off on a technicality}}. This only applies to a superior being responsible for the acts of their subordinate (most often employer-employee). George is a prosecutor, and may be rusty on civil liability or just making a metaphorical point, but what he says isn't accurate either way.
* ''The Slap'', at least in the American version, involves a criminal prosecution in New York City of a man for slapping a misbehaving child, which slap resulted in no permanent injury. Two police detectives are assigned to investigate the case, an Assistant District Attorney brings charges, and two separate judges allow the case to move forward without dismissing the case out of hand. In real life, the idea that the NYPD would waste the time of not one but two detectives to investigate the slapping by an adult of a misbehaving child where there was no actual injury, or that a New York ADA would actually prosecute in such a case, does not pass the laugh test. If it did happen, almost any judge would dismiss the case as a waste of the court's time. Note also that the series makes no mention of a grand jury, which the defendant has a right to in New York; it is unlikely that you could find twelve jurors, even out of twenty-three, the maximum allowable size of a grand jury in New York, who would vote to indict in a case of this sort. If he ''were'' prosecuted, most likely it would only be for a misdemeanor assault, where grand juries are not required. Misdemeanor assault in New York is punishable with up to a year in prison and/or a fine of $1,000. The parents might sue him as well.
** Indeed, in a subsequent episode, there is much discussion of a civil suit, with experienced lawyers talking as if the plaintiffs would have some chance of winning a significant judgment. In reality, damages in an intentional battery case are limited to 1) economic damages, i.e. medical costs and lost wages, 2) non-economic compensatory damages, e.g., pain and suffering, and 3) punitive damages. Since the victim suffered no real injury, there were no medical expenses, and, as the victim was a child, no lost wages, there can be no economic damages; the parents claimed psychological damages requiring therapy, but it is unlikely that they could prove such damages. Since the injury was just an open-handed slap to the face, pain-and-suffering damages would not amount to much either. Pain and suffering are impossible to quantify precisely, but lawyers have been known to ask juries how much money they would demand before agreeing to undergo the same injury; maybe you'd get a couple of hundred dollars for that. As for punitive damages, those ''can'' be extremely high, but a) trial judges will usually reduce them if they seem excessive, and b) the Supreme Court has stated in strong dicta that punitive damage multipliers in excess of single digits are violations of substantive due process, meaning that any punitive award in substantial excess of the compensatory damages would be overturned as unconstitutional. As such, the most the plaintiffs could get would be a couple of thousand dollars[[note]]which the defendant could easily afford[[/note]], assuming the jury was willing to give them anything. Given such a small possible recovery, it is unlikely that they could have found a lawyer willing to take the case.
* ''{{Series/Extant}}'': When the Sheriff of Vaspar Island refuses to search for Ethan because he is a Humanich, John punches him in the face. However, instead of facing charges and jail time for assaulting a police officer, he only spends a few hours in a holding cell before being released. While no one ''has'' to file charges, it's pretty unlikely he wouldn't. [[CaptainObvious Police don't like people punching them]].
* ''Series/AmericanOdyssey'': In New York the age of consent is 17, so the 21-year old guy worrying he's just committed statutory rape with a 17-year old girl needn't be.
* In ''The Royals'', it is eventually revealed to the whole world that Liam and Eleanor are not the children of King Simon, meaning that Queen Helena had an affair; it is then revealed that she and Prince Cyrus deliberately arranged the revelation to prevent Liam from becoming the regent after Simon is nearly killed and left in a coma. There are two problems: first, the show seems to ignore the fact the Helena has just been publicly exposed as having committed high treason. Second, the show acts as if this will somehow stop the abolition of the monarchy that Simon had set in motion. If anything, further scandal attaching to the monarchy, and the fact that the publicly beloved King Simon was no longer heading the family, would if anything make Parliament more likely to pass the bill for the abolition referendum that Simon had called for. The regent does not actually have the power to veto bills passed by Parliament; the king or regent only signs them out of respect for tradition. Shockingly, the British monarchy is just a figurehead with no real power.
* ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'': In "Many Happy Returns" one character explains his theory that Sherlock was a Juror on a murder trial in Hamburg, Germany. Germany does not employ a jury trial system for any criminal or legal case. While there are lay judges and professional judges rendering verdicts in a number of criminal cases, the episode portrays the system as an American style jury system, which is factually incorrect.

* ''Radio/OurMissBrooks'': In the episode ''Hospital Capers'', a lawyer (a literal ambulance chaser) gets Mr. Boynton to sign a contract hiring him as counsel-the contract features a hefty penalty if Mr. Boynton chooses to terminate his representation. When Miss Brooks visits the lawyer, he hands her ever larger magnifying glasses to [[ReadTheFinePrint read the contract's fine print]]. {{Lampshaded}} when the lawyer admits to Miss Brooks that he's been disbarred in several states.

* ''Theatre/TheMerchantOfVenice'': The main plot is that Shylock the Jew has obtained the right to a pound of Antonio's flesh if he does not repay his loan. This is upheld in a court of law, despite the fact that in Elizabethan times, and to this day, you cannot make a contract that gives you the right to commit murder. This is possibly justified in that the trial takes place not in England but in Shakespeare's rendition of Venice, whose primary function is to serve as an exotic setting rather than a factual depiction of the city and its people.
** Also, Shylock {{handwave}}s this, by saying that he has no intention to kill Antonio, merely to take his flesh. If Antonio expires in the course of Shylock's doing so, Shylock argues this he is not liable as both parties entered into the agreement willingly and presumably aware of the possible consequences.
** Portia (in disguise) turns this around on him by saying yes, he can take his pound of flesh, but can't shed Antonio's blood in doing so, thus nullifying the contract. Shylock is also convicted of attempted murder for seeking it to begin with, has his property confiscated, and must convert to Christianity to avoid capital punishment.
* ''Theatre/TrialByJury'' disregards the rule of law in favor of the RuleOfFunny. Every single character is in violation of the law or ethics at some point-including the judge, who during his introductory song freely admits that he's guilty of the very crime the defendant is accused of. Even the ''court usher'' tries to defame the defendant.
* No one would argue that Ayn Rand had a solid knowledge of American courtroom procedure, and her play ''The Night of January 16th'' proves that when it is announced that the bodies of the victims have been found ... and the judge lets the trial continue.
* ''Theatre/InheritTheWind'': There are so, so many instances of this (however much of it's actually TruthInTelevision (the entire trial was staged).
** Also, Brady badgering Rachel (though that may have been allowed because the town adores him).
** This is a minor one, but in the play, Rachel goes up to the stand from the audience. A major no-no.
** One example is actually removed from the play. The judge intentionally and cynically screwed up the sentencing procedure to get the result thrown out on a technicality (the jury were the ones supposed to decide the amount of fine, not him) thus allowing the Tennessee Supreme Court to avoid the constitutional issue entirely and thus prevent the overturn of the law.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/LANoire'' allows the player to search countless homes and businesses without once requiring a warrant.
** In the final case on the Patrol desk, Captain Donnelly asks Cole to interrogate the suspect in hopes of obtaining a confession...even though Cole has had zero training in doing so.
** During the Arson Desk, Biggs tries to get Cole to drop his AlwaysMurder suspicions by explaining that the overwhelming majority of arson cases are just insurance scams. Suffice to say, in reality the motivations for arson are more varied, from murder to revenge to hate crimes.
* The entire ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' series has a grand time zigzagging through this trope, going off of how much fun/difficult it makes the current trial. Usually the characters have no problem at all rummaging through people's stuff, but there's at least one instance where Phoenix won't let Maya read a letter in someone's apartment (never mind that they've poked through plenty of books, letters, and notes in other investigations). It's also unclear exactly whether or not the defense is allowed to poke around crime scenes. The characters usually make themselves right at home, but in ''Rise from the Ashes'', Phoenix tries to keep Ema from attracting the attention of the detective on duty. In the trials themselves, the defense and the aide can get held in contempt of court for asking a witness to make absolutely sure she got details right in her testimony (a reasonable thing to wonder, given that she ''had'' misled the court earlier, and as it turns out, ''she was still lying''), but the prosecution ''never'' seems to get in trouble for harassing, screaming at, threatening, whipping, or throwing things at the defense or the judge. Perhaps most infamously, the witnesses constantly change their stories and blatantly lie multiple times, but somehow never get in trouble for perjury. Some of this is justified in that the games were loosely based off of the Japanese legal system, which is somewhat different than the American one (no jury for starters) and the American version tries to further {{handwave}} it by setting it in the distant future, but it's still pretty goofy.

* In ''Webcomic/CtrlAltDel'', based on Lilah's word, they were going to cavity search Christian after she indicates him as a terrorist in an airport. They don't seem particularly concerned about the implications of filing a false police report, nor pissing off someone who has demonstrated a willingness to spend lots of money to satiate his own petty whims.
* In ''Webcomic/{{xkcd}}'' the Black Hat Guy is being vetted for the position of Secretary of the Internet. [[RuleOfFunny Congress sentences him to death.]] Guess they brought back the ol' bill of attainder.
* ''Webcomic/SomethingPositive'' [[PlayingWithATrope Plays with]] a variant of the Shooting a Corpse example-[[BreakTheHaughty Kharisma]] spends months trying to murder Avogadro (with his consent, as part of a bet), only for him to die of natural causes. [[SubvertedTrope She winds up being found guilty of his murder anyway]], since she has left copious evidence from her various attempts and [[TooDumbToLive admitted to trying to kill him]]. That being said, even as the comic covers her trial and appeal the fact that she ''is'' guilty of ''multiple'' counts of attempted murder seems rather understated.
** In fact she was guilty of attempt to commit assisted suicide...

[[folder:Web original]]
* ''Website/{{Cracked}}'': Discussed in [[http://www.cracked.com/article_18385_7-bullshit-police-myths-everyone-believes-thanks-to-movies_p1.html 7 Bullshit Police Myths Everyone Believes (Thanks to Movies)]], and [[http://www.cracked.com/article_18815_the-5-most-wildly-illegal-court-rulings-in-movie-history.html The Five Most Wildly Illegal Court Rulings in Movie History]] point out many instances of this trope, including many listed here, such as Film/TheUntouchables, Film/PrimalFear, Film/ATimeToKill, Film/TwelveAngryMen, and Film/MiracleOnThirtyFourthStreet. Note that not all of the examples are correct, though.
* ''WebVideo/ToBoldlyFlee'' has WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic placed on house arrest not only before he has been convicted, not only before he has been charged, but ''before the applicable law has even been passed''.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/HarveyBirdmanAttorneyAtLaw'' breaks just about every legal rule there is, but [[RuleOfFunny it's not exactly meant to be taken seriously by anyone.]] This was called attention to at one point; Birdman's passionate use of the insanity defense in the Devlin case actually moves the jury to tears and seems to ensure a win, but Der Spusmacher then tells Birdman that he can't use an insanity defense because it isn't a criminal trial.
* In a ''WesternAnimation/JimmyNeutronBoyGenius'' episode, the titular character (who is ten) is thrown in an adult jail and forced to work on a chain gang after being accused of a crime, before a trial. Even more ridiculous, his friends are arrested and thrown on the chain gang simply for realizing (out loud) that Jimmy wanted them to smuggle him escape tools, despite not acting on this or even having an opportunity to.
* In ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'', the titular characters and Princess Morbucks have both spent time in a jail for adult males despite them being little girls.
* ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'': This is most relevant in the end of Season 2, Episode 32, Part 3: "Dexter Detention."
* ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'': Porter C. Powell was able to use his money and power to free Henry Masterson. Despite Masterson going on national television, declaring that he would blow up the Solar Power Plant, wiping out the state of Michigan, which would have killed at least several million people. Powell also talked Masterson's way out of punishment for his crimes in that episode. Regardless of the validity of his argument about a robot's rights, Masterson lied to the police about a Decepticon attack and nobody said anything about arresting him for that. Masterson remained on Sumdac Enterprises' payroll until Isaac Sumdac returned and fired him.
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' has never made any claims to realism, but the episode "Peterotica" deserves special mention. Put briefly, Lois's father Carter Pewterschmitt lends Peter $5.00 (that he kept at the bottom of a jar filled with salt and razor wire) to publish Peter's erotic writings. Peter uses the $5 to make photocopies that he sells and credits Carter as publisher. One reader gets into a car accident when he decides to take his shirt off while driving and listening to a book on tape version, then sues Carter and sends his lawyer to his house to seize all of his assets because Carter is liable as publisher. In actuality, in the eyes of the law, it's the driver's own damn fault, and he can't sue anyone for his accident. Even if he could, moreover (and assuming they got past the skillful lawyers that a rich man like Carter no doubt could hire) you can't just seize people's assets in a civil case without lengthy legal processes.
* In ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' Poison Ivy was once disallowed from going to jail simply because she was apprehended by Batman, not a cop. Even if that were to apply in that particular case in that particular universe, there's all the ''other'' times she's escaped prison for all the ''other'' crimes she's committed (and she's not always caught after she commits a crime, even though gathered evidence implicates her.) Incidentally, in some older stories, Batman has the same legal standing as a police officer, albeit one in tights and a cape. He could also have made citizen's arrest in any case.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/DudleyDoRight'', Dudley finally catches Snidely Whiplash, only for Nell to insist on defending him in court. The episode has numerous absurdly obvious legal errors (this being a comedy program, it was likely that at least some of these were intentional).
** First, even though Nell apparently had a first-rate legal mind (from reading all the law books in the Mounty Post from lack of anything else to do), she had never taken the bar exam, and thus could not serve as a barrister.
** Second, Dudley was the judge. Even if a serving police officer could act as a judge, there is no way the arresting police officer would be assigned to said case. And this wasn't the only potential conflict of interest in the participants in the court. The prosecutor was Inspector Fenwick, who was directly involved in the arrest, and was also the judge's immediate superior and the defense attorney's father. The judge had been openly courting the defense attorney for years. And the defense attorney was one of the regular victims of her client's crimes. Basically you have sufficient conflict of interest to draw the validity of the verdict into question by allowing any two of them to participate in the same trial.
** Third, Dudley overruled all of Nell's objections just so that the prosecution could win the case, without even considering whether or not he had grounds to. This would get a real judge censured, and any conviction overturned.
** And finally, Nell ultimately gets Snidely off through a ridiculous SocietyIsToBlame speech in her closing statement (basically claiming that if there had been some sort of program to help people who have a compulsive need to tie stuff together back when Snidely was a child, his habit would never have escalated to the point where he started tying women to railroad tracks).
*** Mounties actually ''did'' [[TruthInTelevision preside over trials]] in the remote parts of a few Canadian provinces, but not where they were also the arresting officers. Judges have always been unable to hear cases in which they are also witnesses, as that would be an obvious conflict.
* The episode of the ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS5E20TheBoyWhoKnewtooMuch The Boy Who Knew Too Much]]" centered around Mayor Quimby's nephew being tried on an assault charge. The entire jury was made of major cast members, such as Homer, Apu (Who at the time was not yet a US citizen), and Principal Skinner (whose presence is a plot point, because it means that Bart can't admit that he witnessed what really happened without admitting that he was skipping school to a school official). Part of the process to ensure jury impartiality is to ensure that none of the jurors are personally connected to the defendant, the plaintiff, any witnesses, or ''each other''. No sane judge would impanel a jury where everybody knows everyone else. Plus witnesses are bribed right there in open court, and [[RuleOfFunny no one cares.]]
** {{Lampshaded}} on one point. The judge acknowledges that re-opening the case when she does is grossly unconstitutional, but she 'just can't say no to kids'.
** And it still might be an example, since re-opening the case due to new evidence which could have changed the original verdict is usually permitted.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* OlderThanFeudalism: The Roman Republic had a very detailed legal system, but unfortunately many of the lictors, assessors and praetors were so corrupt or hungry for patronage that the system could often be bent. Thus, Roman trials often ''were'' the thrilling XanatosSpeedChess portrayed by Hollywood. The famous trial of Gaius Licinius Verres by Marcus Tullius Creator/{{Cicero}} is a brilliant example:
** To begin with, the people of Sicily moved to have Verres tried for extortion (his tyrannical misrule of Sicily was notorious). Verres, putting his stolen money to good use, contracted Quintus Hortensius Hortalus to represent him, widely known as the [[TheAce finest lawyer in Rome.]] The citizens, [[OhCrap feeling rather apprehensive about this]], spoke to an unorthodox but rising star of the Roman bar, Marcus Tullius Cicero.
** Verres and Hortensius used all sorts of procedural tricks in order to delay the trial. These delaying tactics gave Cicero only nine days (nowhere near enough time) until the trial would be adjourned for the upcoming holidays and games of Pompey the Great. After that, the current judge, the [[DaChief honest Marcus Acilius Glabrio]], would be replaced by an ally of Hortensius', who would be sure to throw the case out. Furthermore, Hortensius and Verres had the support of the ''optimates'', the patrician wing of the Senate. Just to make doubly sure, [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill they also bribed the entire jury to find in Verres' favor.]]
** However, Cicero was also capable of [[PayEvilUntoEvil using this trope to his advantage]]. He journeyed to Sicily, and with the help of a mob of angry Sicilians, totally illegally stole and copied all of Verres' records. He used his own money to bring over a hundred witnesses, and, on the day of the trial, brought every single one of them into the courtroom (again, illegally) to intimidate the patrician jury and impress the praetor. Before the trial began, he had them go into the winesinks and bathhouses of Rome and spread stories of Verres's sliminess before the plebeians.
** It was the form in those days to make incredibly lengthy opening and closing speeches. Hortensius was infamous for using the "Asiatic style", a long thrilling LargeHam performance lasting several days, complete with [[MilkingTheGiantCow florid hand gestures]] and ManlyTears. Cicero would be expected to do the same in his opening speech, thus using up a large chunk of his available time. Thus, Verres and Hortensius had pulled off a XanatosGambit: either Cicero tried to fight the case, ran out of time and humiliated himself, or bowed out and let Verres off. Fortunately, Cicero was better at the whole [[TheChessmaster intrigue game]]. He [[TakeAThirdOption took a third option]]: he made ''no speech at all.''
** Cicero, again bending the rules, [[SimpleCountryLawyer simply presented his case without any introduction]]. He ruthlessly cross-examined Verres, who, not the sharpest tool in the box, ended up incriminating himself. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Verrem Cicero's legal beat-down]] was so severe that at one point the plebeians stormed the courtroom in fury, and the bribed jury was so shamed by this and so [[EvenEvilHasStandards appalled by Verres' corruption]] that Verres was forced to flee to Gaul before the trial had even ended. [[TropesAreTools Tropes Are Not Bad]] indeed.