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Kangaroo Court / Live-Action Films

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  • ABCs of Death 2: In "C is for Capital Punishment", the man is sentenced to death by a court of locals who have no authority to do so. The 'jurors' are even identifies in the credits as 'the Kangaroo Court'.
  • A flashback in Airplane II: The Sequel shows how Ted Stryker was framed for the crash of the prototype lunar shuttle, even though it was transparently caused by faulty wiring. This sets up the plot of the film, where he must save the passengers on the real thing.
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  • In the Hallmark adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, Alice says to the Queen that she won't stand by and let an innocent man be condemned. The Queen calmly replies, "Why not? It happens all the time!"
  • In Allegiant, the defendants' guilt isn't the issue (the truth serum reveals that) but the judges are blatantly biased against them and show no mercy. All of them are shot immediately. This is why Tris decides to break Caleb out and flee the city.
  • The Deltas' disciplinary hearing in Animal House. Vernon Wormer, dean of Faber College, wants to remove the Delta fraternity from campus due to repeated conduct violations and low academic standing. Since they are already on probation, he puts the Deltas on something he calls "double secret probation" and orders the clean-cut, smug Omega president Greg Marmalard to find a way to get rid of the Deltas permanently. The probation hearing is very much a sham; one charge against the Deltas is entirely made up.
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  • The court martial in Breaker Morant. Morant and colleagues are used as scapegoats and executed so the British military can close the book on the embarrassing incident. Morant's 'trial' and execution of a Boer prisoner also falls under this category; their prisoner's trial consisted of Morant and his officers holding a drumhead court-martial that lasted only a few minutes, deciding he was guilty among themselves, then executing him on the spot.
  • Bridge of Spies: During the trial of accused Soviet spy Rudolf Abel, the judge has no interest in being impartial and deliberately commits judicial misconduct; when Abel's attorney notes that evidence from an illegal search should be rendered inadmissible, the judge allows it to stand, disregarding a prior Supreme Court decision that states even a foreign alien is entitled to the same right to due process as an citizen. This trope is then extended all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where Abel's appeal is rejected by a 5–4 vote. In the Real Life case, however, the evidence was allowed as it has been found with a search incident to arrest, as the US Supreme Court had ruled is permissible.
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  • When George is accused of murder in Canyon Passage, he is tried by a miner's court that has no legal standing: something Jonas, the town's lawyer, keeps pointing out. He is found guilty anyway, and only escapes a lynching when Logan helps him escape.
  • In Captain Blood Hanging Judge Lord Jeffreys refuses to let Peter Blood defend himself properly during his trial, and instructs the jury to "bring in a verdict of 'Guilty.'" Also Truth in Television not just with Lord Jeffreys court (known as the Bloody Assizes for good reason) but British courts generally at the time - defendants weren't even allowed to have lawyers or speak in their own defense.
  • In Cube Zero, all the people thrown in the Cube have been selected after show trials condemning them for crimes "against their country and their God", i.e. opposing the dictatorship. Jax even holds a mock trial before Wynn where he just passes down the sentence.
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, after Bane takes over Gotham, a kangaroo court is implemented to sentence Gotham's elite and corrupt. All who stand before the judge are automatically determined to be guilty and are given a choice between two punishments, death or exile; both choices turn out to be the same thing. The kicker? The judge is Dr. Crane.
    • In a cut line of dialogue, Scarecrow throws the main line of the Dent act back in Gordon's face, implying that Gotham courts in the Time Skip between Dark Knight and Rises were just as much of a kangaroo court (albeit with less drastic consequences) when it came to dealing with criminals.
  • In Death Of A Soldier the American soldier stationed in Australia who had been going around town killing women to "steal their voices" was given this kind of trial in the most blatant of fashions. Every objection by the prosecutor was sustained by the judge, while every objection made by the defense was overruled. However, this was a case when the defendant really did do the crime, it was rushed to ease tension between the soldiers and the townsfolk. The defense attorney was trying to push for an Insanity Defense (see above under "steal their voices"), but the judge shut down every attempt to raise the issue.
  • The Death of Stalin: While nobody disputes the fact that Beria has done any number of things that could justify executing him, the "court" that sentences him to death is little more than a lynch mob of men equally guilty of crimes against humanity who barely bothered to write the charges down.
  • In Gory Gory Hallelujah, the actors are put on trial in a blatantly rigged way, with made-up numbers, no jury, and Frame Ups of crimes committed before they were ever born. The trial is also terrible behind the scenes, being used as a land grab of one of Jackville's citizens.
  • In Hart's War, a black airman accused of killing another prisoner at a German POW camp figured he was getting tried by such a court due to his being black. It turns out that the trial is merely for distraction purposes, to draw attention away from a plan for prisoners to sneak out of the camp and blow up a German munitions plant the Allies thought was something harmless.
  • A Hidden Life: Franz's "trial" from what's seen is a farce, with the chief judge hurling abuse and his own defense counsel standing by mutely, then trying to make him submit. This is of course what most dissidents' trials were like under the Nazi Party.
  • The Hour of the Pig: The Ponthieu court has strong elements of this with its animal and witchcraft trials, though this is all Truth in Television.
  • Idiocracy. The defense attorney objects to things his own client did that are unrelated to the case and the entire trial is really a televised entertainment venue.
  • The Island (1980): After being knocked out by the pirate on his boat, Maynard awakens to find himself tied to a tree and being tried by a pirate court for the murder of the pirate.
  • The Informer: A pretty rushed ad-hoc IRA tribunal hurriedly assembles in a basement to try Gypo Nolan for informing on a comrade to the British.
  • In the Name of the Father: The judge in the Guildford Four's trial was openly biased against them, and the jury probably was too what with the climate at the time. At the sentencing the judge lamented the fact that Gerry Conlon hadn't also been charged with treason, which still carried the death sentence, and thus he couldn't be hanged. Of course, the police had framed them to begin with by forced confessions.
  • Nicholas Ray's anti-authoritarian western Johnny Guitar criticized Wild West posses and vigilantism as nothing more than self-righteous lynch mobs with no regard for due process or habeas corpus, with frontier justice being little more than a case of mob hysteria:
    Johnny Guitar: A posse isn't people. I've ridden with 'em, and I've ridden against 'em. A posse is an animal that moves like one and thinks like one.
    Vienna: They're men with itchy fingers and a coil of rope around their saddle horns, lookin' for somebody to hang. And after riding a few hours they don't care much who they hang.
  • Land of the Blind: When the rebels storm the palace, Thorne gives the dictator "Baby Max" and his wife a show trial of perhaps ten minutes. He's the judge, while one of the others is the prosecutor. Naturally, he gives them both the death sentence and carries it out himself.
  • In the film version of The Last of the Mohicans, a British officer references this when discussing the title character by saying "This man is guilty of sedition. He must be tried and then hung."
  • Legion 1998: Aldrich is sentenced to death for desertion after he cancels a commando mission. Considering Flemming's view towards war this sentence was a show trial. Also, the other convicts were sentenced to death for crimes such as going AWOL and computer hacking.
  • The trial of the criminal underworld against the suspected child murderer in M bears all marks of a kangaroo court. The main "judge" is wanted on three counts of second-degree murder, the "jury" and audience (leaders and members of various criminal organizations in the city) are about to lynch Beckert right as the police step in - spurred to action less because of Beckert's killing children, but more because the police investigation hampers their own business. The only people arguing on Beckerts behalf are Beckert himself and his "lawyer", another wanted criminal who at least takes his job to heart.
  • The Order runs one in The Mating Call, in which they dispatch floggings as punishment for stuff like beating your wife.
  • The townsfolk of Monty Python and the Holy Grail summarily think a woman is a witch simply because she looks like one (even though they dressed her up like it). They ask Sir Bedevere's permission to burn her, but Bedevere insists on physical proof the woman is a witch.
  • National Security: The court which tries Hank for Police Brutality appears to be purposely geared towards convicting him. The "jury of his peers" is mostly made up of black jurors with only one timid white guy. However, the evidence is also pretty damning, despite the fact that the tourist video doesn't actually show that it's Earl being beat up. Also, no medical experts are being called as witnesses, who should have immediately stated that the horrible bruises are not due to blows from a nightstick but bee stings. It's pretty much stated by the higher-up cops that they need a show trial to calm down the African-American community in order to avoid a race riot. The DA is initially reluctant to pursue the case. Hank does get off fairly lightly, at least according to Earl, being jailed for only 6 months.
  • Dan Aykroyd's crazy judge presides over this kind of court in the movie Nothing but Trouble. One of the characters recognizes that his court is operating by pre-Magna Carta English law, which really did give judges this kind of power. And God help you if you're a banker... However, when a group of hip hop artists appear before him, he quickly waves all charges, stating that they're performing a service for the common good.
  • In An Old, Old Tale (a Soviet Adaptation Amalgamation of several tales by Hans Christian Andersen, including The Tinder Box), the King, on the soldier's trial, tells him "The kingdom is small, so I am the prosecution, the defense and the judge. I demand your death as the first, find no mitigating circumstances as the second, and sentence you to death by decapitation as the third".
  • Paths of Glory: A military tribunal refuses to let the defense enter evidence, refuses to let the defendants elaborate on the circumstances that forced them to retreat, does not keep a trial record, and exists solely to sentence three enlisted men to death so the generals in charge of a failed attack are not blamed for it.
  • In Petticoat Planet, Steve is convinced he is facing one of these when the mayor has him tried while standing on the gallows. Ultimately averted when the punishment turns out to be a $40 fine and a citation from the sheriff. They hold the trials on the gallows because the acoustics are so good.
  • The "trial" of Connie & Raymond Marble in Pink Flamingos. Divine holds a "kangaroo court", asks Cotton and Crackers for their biased testimony, and sentences the bound and gagged Marbles to death for "first-degree stupidity" and "assholism". Divine sarcastically offers them the opportunity to speak on their own behalf, but they're of course gagged and they move straight to the execution.
  • Implied in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. A child asks to see the hanging of the pirates, to which his father tells him that its the trial that is occurring soon, the hangings are actually going to occur later (noon, more specifically), and when the Judge (who is actually a disguised Jack Sparrow) sentences Gibbs to life imprisonment, the court attendees boo at the decision, as they wanted to see a hanging, and promptly start tossing food.
  • In Public Enemies, right after we see the Dillinger gang carry out a bank robbery, we are introduced to BOI director J. Edgar Hoover, who is in a committee hearing seeking the doubling of his agency's budget. Unfortunately, the man in charge of the committee, Tennessee Senator Kenneth McKellar is a big Hoover-hater (Truth in Television at that, according to the book the film took most of its source material from). McKellar humiliates Hoover into admitting that he has not participated in the arrests of any of the over 200 felons that his agency has captured or killed, much less the investigations around them. Hoover gets frustrated enough that he says, "Well I will not be judged by a kangaroo court of venal politicians."
  • The trial before people are sent into Punishment Park only serves to offer dissidents (authors, activists, pacifists, draft dodgers, protest singers, feminists and poets) - who might speak out against American policies - the Morton's Fork of either an unreasonably long incarceration or a run through said Park - hunted by riot police, National Guard and other law enforcement officers, all intent on seeing them dead. The chance of any being acquitted is nil, with those who protest loudest getting the longest sentences.
  • Red Nightmare: Jerry Donavan is given a Kangaroo Court where the court must be reminded to present its evidence. After being found guilty, the court adds to the indignity by denying Donavan a firing squad.
  • In Shoot-Out at Medicine Bend, Maitland and Clegg are subjected to one following their arrest on trumped-up charges. Clark tells Sheriff Massey he wants a fair trial followed by a hanging. The trial is conducted in their cell, the witnesses are not required to testify, and their so-called lawyer withdraws their plea of 'Not Guilty' and instead throws them on the mercy of the court.
  • So You Think You're Not Guilty: A blind man testifies as an "on the spot eyewitness" in Joe's traffic violation trial, and the jury cheers the prosecution.
  • The Star Chamber: The titular court of vigilante judges naturally. Its self-appointed members decide based on the prior evidence whether a defendant who got Off on a Technicality was guilty (they always vote yes on this) and sentence him to death, all in secret of course, with a hitman to carry it out.
  • Kirk and Bones' Klingon trial in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. They did get a Klingon "lawyer", Worf's Identical Grandfather, who was really on their side; but the court didn't pay much attention to him or anything. They were framed, so it might have gone that way anyway, but they had no possibility of winning. The novelization noted that everyone was surprised when the judge actually sustained one of the defense attorney's objections.
  • In The Stoning of Soraya M., the trial against the titular character is a farce where the outcome was essentially decided in advance by a corrupt council using forced testimony. Soraya is not even allowed to be present for it.
  • Judge Turpin's trial of Benjamin Barker in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. In fact, all of Turpin's trials would appear to be like this (such as the one that had an eight-year-old boy sentenced to hang), but Barker's is especially egregious, especially since Turpin specifically wanted him out of the way so he could have his wife for himself.
  • In Swashbuckler, Antagonistic Governor Lord Durant removes the Lord High Justice, appoints himself to the position, and then sentences the previous Justice to imprisonment of an indeterminate period to be served at the Governor's pleasure.
  • A literal one in Tank Girl, (as in it is presided over by actual kangaroos) although they eventually trust her and ally with her.
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7: Judge Hoffman's bias against the defendants is obvious from the moment he gavels the court into order; any attempt by the defense to try and introduce a modicum of fairness is punished with contempt of court charges. The trial itself was brought by the Nixon administration against the advice of the US Prosecutor who is assigned to it because the former Attorney General determined that there was no case. But the miscarriage of justice becomes absolutely undeniable when Seale is beaten, chained and gagged in court. Even the prosecutor is shocked.
  • In the climax of Pink Floyd's Rock Opera The Wall, Pink puts himself on trial in his head, with the witnesses being the various people who hurt him or he hurt throughout his life and the judge being a giant talking buttocks in a powdered wig. Oddly enough, this proves to be a very good thing - the judge's sentence is "TEAR DOWN THE WALL!", opening him to the world again. Although tearing down the wall might not be such a great idea after all, since the movie implies it's what finally drives Pink completely insane.
  • One script of Who Framed Roger Rabbit had a literal kangaroo court - Judge Doom's own jury. Every kangaroo held a letter from "Y-O-U A-R-E G-U-I-L-T-Y-!". This was included in the junior novelization of the movie.


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