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Idiot Plot / Ace Attorney

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The Ace Attorney series is really guilty of this (pun unintended). Most of the time your clients are in a pickle because they won't talk for whatever reason, even if it might get them declared guilty of murder.

  • In Case 1-5, Lana Skye is extremely uncooperative because she's afraid that if she talks, Damon Gant will have her sister arrested for murdering Neil Marshall. Just as the protagonists try to get her to crack... Gant pops into the court room and tells her not to talk, or else. Phoenix and Edgeworth already know what he's referring to, but the Judge apparently takes no notice of the fact that the defendant is being publicly threatened with blackmail by the chief of police, proving that the Idiot Ball has been superglued to his hands. Oh, and the thing she's being blackmailed with? It hinges on the plausibility of a scared fourteen-year-old hitting a grown man so hard that she knocks him upward and with enough force to leave him dangling on a decorative sword. (The first part did happen, but the second part still strains physics.) And that said man somehow wrote Ema's name on a vase that even morely-somehow flew into his arms from the impact rather than reacting to his life-threatening injury.
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  • The defendant of Case 2-1, Maggey Byrde, is implicated because the victim, Dustin Prince, apparently wrote her name in the sand. The problem is that her name is spelled wrong (Maggie instead of Maggey), despite the fact the two were lovers, and no one investigating notices this, despite the fact that the two were both police officers and their relationship was well known around the station. Also, Dustin died from a broken neck sustained in a fall, so he should not have been able to write the name in the first place. At least you can point all of these contradictions out in court, but it still requires the police to miss quite a bit to get as far as it did.
  • Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Case 3:
    • The titular protagonist must figure out how a magic trick is performed, not because it has any relevance to the case, but simply because the judge wants to know. Despite the fact that everyone else in the courtroom has figured it out, including your client and your assistant, no-one will help because "a good magician never reveals their secrets". One of the witnesses, at least, had the excuse that she was under contract to keep the trick a secret, along with hiding the fact that she was blind. Though one would think that being subpoenaed for a murder trial would trump the contract.
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    • The eyewitness who saw the crime would have saved everyone a lot of trouble if she had explained that she heard the crime take place earlier than everyone thought it was committed and at a time when the defendant had an ironclad alibi.
    • The case of the prosecution rests on the idea that Machi, a frail, fourteen-year-old pianist with no firearms training could fire a 45-caliber pistol without injury, despite the fact that it is constantly stated that the recoil would be enough to dislocate the arm of a grown man of average build (itself a laughably stupid assertion). Even worse, this fact comes up as a plot point later to uncover the real killer. (This is given a minor Hand Wave early on; the only reason such a flimsy case is going on trial is because the Borginian Embassy is pressing for a swift resolution to the case—an in-universe case of Executive Meddling. Likely someone in the Borginian government knew about the cocoon smuggling going on, and that the murder victim, Romein LeTouse, was investigating it.) The player also doesn't get to question how his client was supposed to move the body of a much larger man all the way from the dressing room to the stage.
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  • Gumshoe in Ace Attorney Investigations Case 4 gives false testimony and implicates himself because he refuses to admit that he shared a Swiss roll with the young Kay Faraday, who broke her promise never to take anything from strangers. He only cracks when Edgeworth not only deduces the entire sequence, but also the reason he wouldn't spill.
  • This carries over to Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney. It's revealed that Labyrinthia was created by the Storyteller as a means to heal his emotionally traumatized daughter after she believed she caused their entire town and everyone in it to burn up in a massive fire. Ignoring the fact that apparently therapy was out of the question, he somehow went from staging simple plays to help his daughter (which, by his own admission, were enough to get her to smile and react again) to building an entire town and hypnotizing its residents into thinking they were in Medieval Stasis and staging massive witch hunts, which were rigged to not let anyone actually die, but still should have been considered potentially triggery for the daughter (and certainly didn't do any mental health favors for the women and girls that went on trial). The part that tops it all off is that the Storyteller lets himself get so wrapped up in running Labyrinthia that he completely failed to notice that almost all of the town, manipulated by his own right-hand woman, believed that his daughter was the Great Witch Bezella and repeatedly tried to put her on trial for it, which was the very thing he started the whole thing to prevent. He at least admits that he made a lot of bad decisions, and it is implied that the British Government manipulated him into doing it.
  • Another example appears in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice. The first of two trials in the game's fifth and final case pits Apollo and Athena against Phoenix in a civil trial. Phoenix appears quite out-of-character until near the very end, when it's revealed that his client is holding Maya hostage to force his cooperation in the case. This plot is in itself a Recycled Script of the second game's final case, which placed Phoenix in the same scenario. The first time, it was only after he convinced himself to inform others of what had happened and accept their help that he was able to avert the crisis. In the civil trial, however, Phoenix simply behaves as if he didn't learn a single thing from the first time this happened, which to the audience causes him to appear as if he is acting completely out-of-character and causing an entirely unnecessary conflict between himself and his employees. In addition, Athena suffers from the same problem. Despite learning about Maya's kidnapping offscreen between court sessions, Athena simply decides to keep her mouth shut and leave Apollo -- and by extension the player -- completely in the dark. And then there's the fact that Dhurke, who knows better than anyone that Maya is in fact quite safe, refuses to let Phoenix in on it.

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