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Kangaroo Court / Comic Books

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  • All-New X-Men: When various alien organizations learn Jean Grey is alive again, they seek to prosecute her for her future self's actions as Dark Phoenix
  • Asterix: In the trial scene in Asterix and the Laurel Wreath, everyone involved is so certain that Asterix and Obelix will get sentenced to be thrown to the lions that the prosecutor and the defense decide to use the trial to practice their oratory rather than actually try the case. After a while, Asterix has to step in and take over for the prosecutor (he actually wants to get thrown to the lions, as part of a plan to get close to Caesar as he oversees the executions) to get the trial to end.
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  • Batman: Two-Face has a penchant for setting these up, first doing it to Batman around the time of Knightfall and explicitly denying him any sort of defense, where the "trial" was an excuse to demand answers from him and to berate Batman. He also subjects Commissioner Gordon and Renee Montoya to this in Batman: No Man's Land. The latter manage to get off by naming Harvey Dent their defense attorney.
  • Diamondback really didn't have much hope for acquittal in the trial the rest of the Serpent Society gave her for betraying them to Captain America (she was only dating him) although Asp, Black Mamba, and Anaconda voted to acquit. Seeing as King Cobra offered "clemency" if she double-crossed Cap (she refused) that may have been his intent all along. (She was saved from execution by Cap and Paladin, and this was one of the most biggest influences towards a Heel–Face Turn.)
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  • A visual joke (having an actual kangaroo preside over the court) was used in Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!.
  • Underground Comics author Ted Richards did a recurring strip "EZ Wolf's Kangaroo Court" where a kangaroo judge doled out karmic justice to societal offenders like TV programming executives and millionaire self-help gurus.
  • Bufkin's trial in Oz in Fables. As Bufkin was the resistance leader against the Nome King, the Nome King was never going to pass any sentence other than death.
  • In The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #23, Lord Harry, the self-proclaimed ruler of Wretched Hive island in the South Pacific, arrests a film crew who were accompanying Indy on his latest jaunt, a plans to dispose of them quickly to cover his theft of an archeological treasure:
    "Yer a fine soundin' bunch o' jailbird lawyers. You all get your chance at the trial...First thing in the morning...And then we'll shoot you!"
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  • The Kree Empire in Marvel have a weird idea of what a trial is. When Ronan the Accuser was first sent to judge the Fantastic Four for destroying the robotic Sentry-459 (which they perceive as a criminal act, apparently) the "trial" is simply him declaring them guilty and attacking them. However, he gets his ass handed to him, and seeing as he's the best Accuser they have, they're much more cautious in dealing with the heroes from then on. (Which eventually leads to the Kree hero Captain Mar-Vell arriving on Earth.)
  • Most of the trials faced by the Untouchable Trio in Knights of the Dinner Table fall into this category. They are usually excuses for B.A. inflict some humiliating punishment on the characters, such as having runes of shame branded on their buttocks.
  • Lucky Luke faces those sometimes, but one of the most jarring happens in Lucky Luke VS Joss Jamon, where Joss is the victim, Luke the accused and Joss's friends the court personnel. And just to add an extra layer, the jury was made up of well-known outlaws (one of Joss's henchmen, Billy The Kid, the Dalton Brothers, Jesse James and Calamity Jane.note ) One guess as to the verdict. Fortunately, the verdict is aborted as this motivates the townsfolk enough to start an uprising.
    • Another happens in The Tenderfoot, where the titular character, a new ranch owner, is accused of murdering a local. Everyone but Luke, the tenderfoot, and his butler are convinced that he's guilty - the defense lawyer introduces himself with "What are you guilty of?" - and the whole trial is just to determine when he'll be executed. It requires Luke bringing in the very much alive "murder victim" and revealing the whole ordeal as attempted fraud to set things right.
  • The drow judge who orders the heroes arrested in a Nodwick strip clearly has no interest in an actual trial, claiming to have already found them guilty in absentia of the wanton destruction of Lolth's Spider-Ship. (Which they were guilty of, btw; the previous story wasn't exactly the typical dungeon crawl...) Ironically, the judge could be bargained with and let them go after offering someone Lolth would be interested in knowing, given her "solitary existence". (Who? Spider-Man!)
  • Red Sonja finds herself before one in the Red Sonja: Berserker one-shot after maiming two young hotheads who mistook her for a prostitute and then attacked her. One of them was the son of the justicar who sat in judgement on her.
  • In the 2019 Shazam series, when the Shazam family find themselves in the Wildlands, home to Funny Animals, they are immediately captured, accused of being personally responsible for every example of Humans Are Bastards, and sentenced to the arena. The judge is, of course, an actual kangaroo.
  • This is the only court available in Sin City, given the thoroughly corrupt legal system in general. As an example, the police threaten Marv's elderly mother to coerce Marv into confessing so he can be sent to the electric chair.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) has a literal Kangaroo Court: two kangaroos (namely, Hip and Hop from Sonic Spinball) were the judges. During the "Mecha Madness" arc, Sonic proposed a plan to have himself roboticized using a Neural Overrider to retain his free will to destroy Robotnik's empire from the inside, only for the plan to be overruled by the others; subsequently, Sonic was sneak-attacked by Nack the Weasel and brought to Robotnik to be roboticized without the overrider. After being restored, Sonic was promptly put on trial because the Freedom Fighters believed that he deliberately disobeyed orders and went through with his plan; Hip and Hop themselves outright told Sonic that if it were up to them, Sonic would have already been banished from Knothole. Antoine acted as the prosecutor and did everything he could to ensure Sonic's conviction, badgering Amy and questioning witnesses in a way that made Sonic seem undeniably guilty, only for Sonic to put Antoine on the spot by revealing that Antoine had left his spot at Knothole's jail, allowing Nack to escape and bring Sonic to Robotnik in the first place, with Antoine being too preoccupied planning his own coronation party to notice that Nack was gone. Even after Antoine admits his guilt, Sally explicitly states that it's Sonic's trial, with the judges declaring Sonic guilty. Nonetheless, Sally agrees to give Sonic a chance to prove himself innocent, which he does by capturing Nack and dragging him back to Knothole. Later on, Geoffrey St John is put on trial for betrayal when he shot Sonic with a tranquilizer dart in the special zone, left him for dead, and freed Ixis Naugus so that he could become king. Despite Geoffrey's claims, Antoine's arguments convince Hip and Hop to declare Geoffrey guilty. Unfortunately Naugus, who became king of Knothole by that time, overturned the ruling with his power, allowing Geoffrey to get off scot-free.
  • Spider-Man:
    • It was strongly implied that the judge who convicted Joe Robinson of withholding evidence after Tombstone's arrest had been bribed by The Kingpin. (Most everyone realized that a three-year prison sentence for such a crime given to a man with a clean record was pretty excessive, and when it turned out Joe had been sent to the same prison as Tombstone himself, the motive for this was pretty obvious.) Joe was eventually granted a Presidential pardon with the aid of a government prosecutor who, as it turned out, was the younger brother of an inmate whom Joe had befriended.
    • During The Clone Saga, Judas Traveler brought Spider-Man to the Ravencroft Asylum where he put the hero on trial with himself as the judge, Carnage as the prosecutor, and various other inmates as witnesses. (As Spider-Man commented, "All that's missing is the Queen of Hearts yelling 'Off with his head'!") Traveler, being the Chessmaster he is, later "acquitted" Spider-Man and wiped the memories of the event from everyone involved except the hero.
  • Superman and Supergirl stories have several examples:
    • Superman was the victim of one in the aptly named "Trial of Superman!" arc. An intergalactic tribunal sentenced Superman to death for the crimes of his ancestor Kem-L, who invented the device that prevented Kryptonians from leaving their planet as it destroyed itself.
    • Zigzagged in the New Krypton arc. When Supergirl brings Reactron to Kryptonian justice, her mother Alura coldly informs him that he'll be judged, found guilty and executed. However she intends to put him on trial rather than lynching him, unlike most of the Kryptonians. However during a preliminary hearing a judge questions the trial's legality since Reactron hasn't been extradited lawfully, and Alura dismisses his concerns. When a lynch mob breaks into the building though, she protects Reactron.
    • In Red Daughter of Krypton, secondary character Sheko became a Red Lantern because she was a judge on a planet where kangaroo courts were the rule, the concept of justice had been turned into a joke, rich and powerful people got away with anything, and when she tried to make her job fairly, she got shot.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Vol 1: Ghorkos, Dread Master of Phobos, inner moon of Mars, is holding a trial for Steve Trevor where Steve "will be shot if he tells the truth, hanged if he lies, but can name his own execution if he pleads guilty". When Steve chooses Wonder Woman to be his lawyer since no one in Phobos will defend him, the prosecutor, unable to outright prohibit her from doing so, sets an Impossible Task to "prove her fitness to practice law on Phobos" and says she'll be killed if she accepts the challenge and fails. Upon Wonder Woman's advice, Steve says "You're going to hang me!". Hanging is the punishent for lying and it cannot be done without turning Steve's statement into the truth. Shooting is the penalty for telling the truth and it cannot be done without turning Steve's statement into a lie. Because the statement won't be considered a guilty plea either way, he's acquitted.
    • Judgment In Infinity: The Adjudicator sets out to judge humanity's worthiness, his test subjects pass his tests, and he still decides to destroy Earth, making clear that he had already decided his sentence beforehand.
  • Diabolik's trial was one of these-but in a variation, not only he was guilty of almost everything he had been accused and more (as Clerville's justice system didn't know yet of most of his crimes, and still don't know of many of them), it was by complete accident: the prosecution only had the (correct) guesswork of inspector Ginko that the individual was indeed the rumored criminal known as Diabolik and guilty of multiple crimes but no evidence aside for some strange devices similar to the ones used in crimes (rightly) attributed to Diabolik plus some plastic masks (explaining Diabolik's rumored ability to take anyone's appearance), a biased and psychologically fragile witness (Elisabeth Gay-his lover, who'd indeed go insane upon finding out he was about to break up with her), and him confessing he had murdered Walter Dorian (a man who happened to look like him) and taken his identity in another country, but one of the crimes he was charged for had terrified the entire country to the point the public, the judge, jury, and even the defense attorney subconsciously just wanted this ended and him made unable to commit further harm, resulting in the defense just making a weak attempt at an Insanity Defense, the jury declaring him guilty on little evidence, and the judge sentencing him to death.
    • This became a plot point in a later issue, as by then the only thing keeping the State of Clerville from abolishing death penalty was Diabolik's death sentence-and right when Diabolik had been arrested again and was about to be executed without his lover and accomplice Eva Kant being able to break him out in time an activist used this to try and have Diabolik retried and sentenced to life in jail (because, sham trial or not, Diabolik still remained a thief, smuggler, scammer and mass murderer), only for the judge to deny a retrial because by then the evidence had been discovered. Thankfully for the reputation of Clerville's judiciary, it turned out that the judge was actually Eva Kant in disguise, who had finally put together a way to break Diabolik out and needed him out of his breakout-proof cell to make him escape. Once freed the judge still denied a retrial, and while we don't know the opinion the activist admits it was sound.


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