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Playing With / Kangaroo Court

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Basic Trope: A sham proceeding headed by a Hanging Judge.

  • Straight: Judge Alex Hangman decides that Betty is guilty of murder, without any evidence, and throws her into jail for 15 years with no parole.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Alex punishes Betty by having her shot to death by an angry mob.
    • The trial is held at the gallows, and Betty already has a noose tied around her neck when it begins.
    • Betty is charged with the murder of Charles, who clearly died of a heart attack on live TV. Alex still decides that Betty is guilty.
  • Downplayed:
    • Alex decides Betty is guilty of shoplifting, with no evidence, and gives her a $20 fine.
    • Alex convicts Betty of murder even though the evidence is somewhat shaky. However, Claire, who is most definitely innocent, was tried along with Betty and acquitted. Alex makes it clear if Betty were obviously not guilty, he'd acquit her as well.
  • Justified:
  • Inverted: Betty killed someone, but she is acquitted by the judge and declared innocent despite evidence to the contrary.
    • Betty sits through an entire fair trial up until the guilty verdict for a crime she doesn't even recognize the concept of. She interupts it and declares she has had enough of these arrogant mortals and teleports off. The trial is thus a farce not because of rulings but because it has no power over Betty.
  • Subverted: The trial seems staged to Betty, but it is not—it simply follows the rules of a very different legal system.
  • Double Subverted: But even by that system's standards, it is horribly unfair.
  • Parodied:
    • The presiding judge, jury, clerks, and all spectators at Betty's trial are actual kangaroos.
    • Betty tries to defend herself, but the judge and jury use Insane Troll Logic to convict her anyway.
    • Alex's court openly brags about its absurdly high conviction rate.
    • Alex believes Betty is guilty just for having a lawyer.
    • Advertisement:
    • Alex 'tries' Betty after she's imprisoned or killed for her alleged crime.
  • Zig-Zagged:
    • There are fair judges as well as corrupt ones.
    • Alex alternates between evaluating each claim based on evidence, letting defendants off based on no evidence, and condemning defendants based on no evidence.
  • Averted: Alex is a fair judge.
  • Enforced:
  • Lampshaded: "Hey, did you realize that the number of convictions has risen five-fold after Alex was appointed as a judge?" "Yeah, I wonder why..."
  • Invoked: Somebody wants Betty out of the way and uses a lot of money to make it so.
  • Exploited:
    • Betty, aware of impending verdict, decides to make a complete ass of herself during the trial, to the point that the court has only two options: Convict Betty and let her basically use this freedom to incriminate and insult everybody involved because she's already being punished, or let her go so she won't talk.
    • Carl, knowing Alex will rule in his favour, slaps Betty with a Frivolous Lawsuit.
  • Defied: Betty exposes the judge before the trial so that a non-hanging judge could preside.
  • Discussed: "I may be innocent, but Alex is presiding at my trial. I don't think this will end well."
  • Conversed: "Is this show just making a joke about its format, or is it commenting on instances of this happening?" "Whichever, it's a shade smarter than most other legal shows."
  • Implied: Betty's trial takes ten minutes.
  • Deconstructed:
  • Reconstructed:
    • After a thorough investigation, somebody noticed that the effect was actually positive to a point, and the government reinstates Alex but assigns only very specific cases to him wherein another judge would legally let a guilty party go.
    • Carol gets over her fear of reprisal and examines the original case further. It turns out that Betty is guilty of what she was accused of and she — as well as Alex's killers, who committed a crime, after all — get the sentences they deserve for a legitimate reason.
  • Played for Laughs: Betty is a Hate Sink who, among other things, loves to inflict Disproportionate Retribution over 'offences' that never even occurred. While they do have enough real dirt on her to give her the desired sentence anyway, the heroes decide it'd be more fun and karmic to put her through a mock trial that uses Insane Troll Logic to convict her of bizarre things.
  • Played for Drama: Betty's unfairly-delivered unfair sentence ruins her life.
  • Played for Horror:
    • Alex gets Betty to confess by exploiting her phobia(s) in a way that threatens to kill or injure her.
    • Alex himself is actually an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Plot Foundation: Betty is given a show trial to signal a Halfway Plot Switch from light comedy to grim drama.

I won't have examples tried at the main page! That's a Kangaroo Court they run!

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