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WARNING: Unmarked spoilers for who the killers are, and other stuff that's important to the case.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

  • In the very first case, Frank Sawhit murders Cindy Stone in a state of panic after she returns home while he is ransacking her apartment. Frank knows he is in deep shit now.
    You'd Expect: Frank to run away and go into hiding for a while until the heat cools down.
    Instead: He tries to find someone to pin the murder on and decides to place it on Larry Butz. Not only does Phoenix Wright take the case since he's Larry's friend, but Frank also has to testify as a witness and he proves to be an extremely Bad Liar. Phoenix quickly deduces that Frank is the true killer and successfully pins the crime on him.
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  • Later on, in the same case, after Phoenix reveals that the clock was 'three hours slow', Sahwit's last defense is asking him how he knew the clock was going slow the day of the crime, claiming that if he can't, he has no case.
    You'd Expect: Phoenix to point out simply that his discrepancy of the actual time to the clock lines up perfectly with his belief of the time with the actual time of death. And even then, demands he gives a real explanation of the other things stacked against him, such as how he knew the statue was a clock or how he really thought the time was one A.M. if not the clock.
    Instead: Phoenix never thinks to bring this up and has to get saved by Mia so he can bring up the actual reason, even if it was pretty easy to deduce without it the clock was slow, or, in that case, fast, at the crime scene.
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  • In the cases 1-2, 1-3 and 1-4, Phoenix has gotten hold of evidence that will 100% prove that the person he suspects is the killer.
    You'd Expect: Phoenix to keep his mouth shut about this and take the evidence to a safe place - like his office.
    Instead: In all three of those instances, he confronts the suspect outside of court, in an unofficial setting with no witnesses, and then presents the evidence and tells them how he can nail them for the crime. As a result, he gets accused of the murder himself, almost killed by The Mafia, and tazed by the suspect, respectively. Made fun of here.
  • In the second case, master blackmailer Redd White has circumstantial information and evidence found about his blackmail schemes by Phoenix who is in his office accusing him of being the murderer. Just before, he has already proven that he can influence the chief prosecutor such that he can get out of testifying solely due to his blackmail and has already cleaned out all the truly incriminating evidence that Mia has found against him.
    You'd Expect: That Redd would continue to use his blackmail to keep himself out of testifying in court since Phoenix doesn't have any actual decisive evidence pointing to him as the murderer and use the same to have Phoenix arrested.
    Instead: Redd decides that since Phoenix refuses to stand down to his threats, he'll prove just how much better he is by browbeating the chief prosecutor into putting forward Phoenix as the real murderer despite all evidence found so far outright contradicting this and then personally testifying to this in a public court where he can't threaten to blackmail people into submission since blackmail itself is a serious offense. Phoenix, a rookie but still talented defense attorney easily rips apart Redd White's careless testimonies which he doesn't even try to match up with the established facts from yesterday's trial.
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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney — Justice for All

  • In the first case, Winston Payne is investigating the death of policeman Dustin Prince, and discovers that Dustin apparently wrote the name of his killer in the sand just before he died. However, the autopsy report reveals that Dustin died from a broken neck as a result of a fall.
    You'd Expect: Payne to realise that Dustin would most likely be paralysed from the neck down, and therefore incapable of writing anything down. Even if he would have still had motor functions after the broken neck, the autopsy report also points out that Dustin died on impact. Thus, Payne would disregard what Dustin "wrote" as an attempt to lay a false trail.
    Instead: He treats it as valid evidence. Makes one wonder why he's still employed.
  • In case 3, Moe Curls is called up as a witness to the murder of the ringmaster and, during the proceedings, makes several wisecracks and puns while on the stand. This counts in of itself but, when he starts giving actual testimony, he'll continue these jokes when pressed on certain spots.
    You'd Expect: The Judge and Franziska to both keep the blame on Moe himself. He's the one making these cracks anyways. It's not anyone else's fault but his own that he felt these jokes were necessary when Phoenix is just trying to get information out of him that the entire court needs.
    Instead: Both the Judge and Franziska blame Phoenix for straying from topic, because of him apparently pushing this witness too far and penalizing him. Phoenix even lampshades this himself.
    Phoenix: (Why am I responsible!? I'm not the one with the corny jokes.)
  • In case 4, Maya has been taken hostage by an assassin as 'insurance' that his client will be acquitted of a 'job' the assassin did for him. Phoenix and Edgeworth are working together to stall the verdict as long as possible — Phoenix reluctant to get 'Guilty' for obvious reasons; Edgeworth equally reluctant to get 'Not Guilty' because he knows the client is guilty as sin. At a pivotal moment, Edgeworth finds a way to get the assassin himself to testify in court, via radio.
    You'd Expect: Edgeworth would never be so foolish as to expect the assassin to give information that could damn his client. Doubly so since a man who'd already taken a young girl hostage to get an acquittal would never hesitate to lie on the stand.
    Instead: Edgeworth directly asks the assassin to tell him the name of his client. The assassin rambles pleasantly about how the client-assassin relationship is sacred — and then names an innocent (but plausible) person as the one who paid for the hit.
  • On Franziska's entire Whip It Good personality, using her whip on the defense, the witnesses and the judge whenever she pleases, with witnesses such as Lotta even complaining about it.
    You'd Expect: The Judge to call Franziska out on it for bringing a weapon such as that into court, yet alone using it, especially on him and penalize her, if not outright remove her from the courtroom all together.
    Instead: He never penalizes her for it. Not even once! It's one thing to have a bias toward the prosecution, and another turn a blind eye to every terrible thing they do.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney — Trials & Tribulations

  • In the backstory, Iris starts dating Phoenix while pretending to be Dahlia to get her hands on evidence that her sister needs, but eventually falls in love in him. After several months of a happy relationship, but without any success in getting the evidence, Dahlia gets impatient, tries to kill Phoenix, and when that fails, unsuccessfully frames him for murder. Iris finds out that Phoenix was devastated after what happened and wants him to be happy.
    You'd Expect: Iris would realise that Phoenix is hurt because he mistakenly thinks that the girl he loved tried to kill him, and tell him the truth. Surely he wouldn't feel worse about the fact that his girlfriend lied about her identity, but otherwise loved him, than by the thought that she tried to murder him for some stupid necklace.
    Instead: She thinks he will be better of not knowing anything about her and disappears from his life for the next five years.
  • Case 3:
    • Furio Tigre offers to waive client Glen Elg's $100,000 loan if he gives him a highly valuable computer virus which he created, which Tigre can use to pay off his own debts to the mob. Elg then meets Tigre at a local restaurant to hand over the virus, but hears that day's winning lottery numbers on his radio, and begins shouting about how he's won $500,000. This creates a problem for Tigre, who urgently needs the virus, which Elg (apparently) now has no need to hand over.
      You'd Expect: Tigre to persuade Elg to give him the virus anyway, pointing out that he could keep the whole $500,000 for himself and do a lot of gambling with it (Elg being a compulsive gambler). Alternatively, he could just kick the crap out of Elg and take the CD containing the virus by force, since Elg wouldn't really be able to go to the police over the matter, as he would incriminate himself for creating the virus to begin with. In either case, you'd think Tigre would at least find out what Elg intends to do with the money and the virus.
      Instead: While Elg is celebrating his win, Tigre poisons his coffee with potassium cyanide, causing Elg to immediately die when he drinks from the cup. Tigre then uses the restaurant's owner, Jean Armstrong (another client deep in debt) to help carry out an elaborate plan to frame a waitress for the murder, then impersonates Phoenix Wright in court to get the waitress jailed. Surprisingly enough the plan actually works for a while... until the case is taken to a retrial, and further idiocy from Tigre in the courtroom exposes him as the true killer.
    • At the end of the second trial, Phoenix has presented a bottle with Tigre's fingerprints on it, and claimed that it once held the poison that killed Elg. It's a lie, and Tigre knows this.
      You'd Expect: Tigre to ask what proof Phoenix has that his bottle once held the poison, and then watch as Phoenix's lie is revealed.
      Instead: Tigre proceeds to describe in detail the real poison bottle, thus proving himself to be the killer. He actually proves his own guilt, which is very rare in-universe.
      You'd Then Expect: Tigre to think of some last-ditch excuse for how he would have known about the bottle, such as saying that Jean told him about the details of the case, or he actually did see Maggey putting the poison in Elg's coffee, but mistakenly thought it was just sweetener and didn't want to admit that he missed an opportunity to save Elg's life. Under the Ace Attorney universe's court system, the onus is on the defense to disprove any theories put forward by the prosecution and/or witnesses, and the fact that Phoenix is presenting fake evidence proves he's out of options.
      Instead: Tigre resorts to ineffectually threatening Phoenix, and then undergoes a Villainous Breakdown.
    • In the case's first trial, despite having a completely different build, complexion and accent from him, Tigre manages to put together a very good Phoenix disguise, with the exception of Phoenix's attorney badge; Tigre's is made of cardboard, and barely resembles the real thing.
      You'd Expect: Someone to notice this and realise that as far as they know, this attorney's a fraud.
      Instead: Tigre is allowed to represent the waitress in court, and he subsequently puts her on death row for a crime she didn't commit. In the second trial, Phoenix even lampshades how idiotic it is that anyone would be tricked by the fake badge. To add insult to idiocy, the one guy who recognises Tigre as a fake (Godot) doesn't tell anyone else, solely because he doesn't want to be involved in cases that don't involve Phoenix.

Ace Attorney Investigations 2

  • Case 5:
    • To ensure that Patricia Roland gets cleared of all charges at her trial, Blaise Debeste not only tries to dispose of the decisive evidence against her, he decides to arrange the kidnapping of John Marsh, the adopted son of the presiding judge, in order to blackmail her into giving Patricia an acquittal.
      You'd Expect: That the kidnappers would be able to recognise their target. It shouldn't be too hard for them, given that Blaise could easily give them a physical description of John, and that John's a reasonably well known child actor.
      Instead: They end up grabbing Blaise's son Sebastian, a guy who looks absolutely nothing like John. To add insult to idiocy, the only thing they do to identify their target is ask if he knows Justine, despite the fact that there would be loads of people who fit this description; her friends, fellow judges, the lawyers in her trials, and so on. Blaise only manages to get any leverage on the judge after someone else decides to kidnap John, completely by coincidence.
      It Gets Worse: Because Sebastian was due to prosecute at the trial, he's replaced at the prosecutor's bench by the far more competent Franziska von Karma, who is persuaded by Edgeworth to help stall the trial until the evidence Blaise tried to get rid of can be found. Sebastian's kidnapping also allows Edgeworth to rescue him and give him a much-needed confidence boost, resulting in Sebastian Taking a Huge Level in Badass and utterly NAILING his father for obstruction of justice. As a result of all this, Patrica's conviction is all but assured.
    • After he returns to the trial, Sebastian presents a piece of old newspaper Blaise used to dispose of the evidence. Further examination reveals a handprint with the word "DEATH" spelt out on the fingertips, just like the motorcycle gloves Edgeworth found in Blaise's garage.
      You'd Expect: Edgeworth and Sebastian to immediately connect the handprint to Blaise's gloves.
      Instead: Edgeworth wastes time calling for a fingerprint analysis, which predictably turns up nothing, other than the fact that the handprint's from a glove. Blaise immediately calls the two of them out on their stupidity, and it's one of the few times in the game where he makes a valid point:
      Blaise: Just think about it, y'know. When handling important evidence...what kind of idiot wouldn't use gloves!?
    • Simon Keyes has just committed murder of a (fake) president on the roof of the Grand Tower, and knowing that his plans for the night would be ruined if a dead body was discovered there, he moves the corpse to a nearby warehouse. Of course, he can't just leave the body there either, so he makes plans to get rid of it.
      You'd Expect: Him to just dump the body in a lake or the ocean, or anywhere else where someone's less likely to stumble upon it. Or hell, just throw the body from the roof of the tower; at best it'll be ruled a suicide, and at worst the police may suspect foul play, but the body will be too badly pulverized to get any useful clues from.
      Instead: After seeing John Marsh cause an accident at a nearby film lot, he gets the idea of dumping the corpse at the accident scene to frame John for the murder. There is no reason whatsoever for him to do this; John was never part of Simon's original plans, and neither was anyone discovering the body of the man he killed.
    • Edgeworth and co. have discovered Simon's involvement in both this case and the other events of the game, and are confronting him over them. Just like Simon planned, the body was discovered along with "evidence" that John was the killer.
      You'd Expect: Simon would try and convince everyone to treat the murder as an accidental death. After all, John's admitted to causing the accident in the first place, and it would explain the body's condition and the manner of death. Most importantly, the case can be closed without it being connected to him at all.
      Instead: He claims to have sent John a letter that prompted him to commit premeditated murder, and practically orders the assembled investigators to arrest him for it. This is despite the fact that one of the investigators is John's adoptive mother, and that it's his word against that of John and his mom. Unsurprisingly, this doesn't work out for him.

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney

  • The game's third case begins with Romein LeTouse, a music agent and, as it later turns out, undercover Interpol officer, being shot dead with an extremely powerful revolver, the kickback from which is said to be enough to severely injure anyone who fires it without the proper training. The body then temporarily goes missing, but is eventually found with the unconscious Machi Tobaye, a (supposedly) blind 14 year-old pianist who speaks no English.
    You'd Expect: Someone, anyone to realise that there's just no way that Machi could have committed this murder. Even accounting for the fact that he's not actually blind, it'd have been difficult at best for him to move the body, and flat-out impossible to use the gun. At most, he may be (and was) the murderer's accomplice, and even then there's any number of explanations as to how he could have ended up with the body.
    Instead: Machi is immediately charged with the murder of LeTouse. No-one ever disputes the feasibility of what he's being accused of, and it's not until it's proven that LeTouse was killed at a time when Machi had a solid alibi that anyone seriously starts to doubt his guilt.
  • The game's last trial:
    • The flashback to Zak Gramarye's trial from seven years ago. Phoenix is accused of using forged evidence after it is revealed that one of his pieces of evidence, a diary page supposedly written by the deceased, was in fact created by an art forger a few days before the trial.
      You'd Expect: Phoenix to point out that he only took on Zak's case the day before the trial, and therefore wouldn't have had any time or reason to commission a piece of forged evidence. Or, failing that, at least opine to the Judge about how much the truth means to him, and how he'd never resort to forging evidence just to win a trial.
      Instead: Phoenix just assumes the judge won't hear his explanation, doesn't defend himself, and is subsequently disbarred.
    • On the second day of Vera's trial, Apollo essentially accuses Kristoph Gavin of commissioning the forged evidence that got Phoenix disbarred, on the basis that he had planned to get himself hired as Zak's attorney, and was prepared to do anything to win, knowing that he would get a huge amount of prestige if he got Zak acquitted.
      You'd Expect: Gavin to point out that, by that logic, Phoenix is just as much a suspect as he is regarding the forgery.
      Instead: It never occurs to Gavin to do this.
    • Apollo later claims that Gavin is the real killer, and that he sent a poisoned stamp to Drew Misham, the victim. The idea was that when the victim used the stamp, it would kill him. Gavin then claims that he couldn't be the killer because he had no way of knowing when Misham would use the stamp, therefore he couldn't have planned the murder.
      You'd Expect: Apollo or the Judge to point out that this is irrelevant, since either way, Gavin sent something to the victim with the intent of killing him with it. Just because Gavin couldn't have planned the timing doesn't mean he didn't plan to kill Drew Misham.
      Instead: Both Apollo and the judge buy this line of logic, and Apollo's case is only saved thanks to Klavier Gavin, Kristoph's brother, pointing out that Kristoph is bluffing.
    • During Phoenix's investigation into the events of seven years ago, Zak is revealed to have had the real diary page all this time.
      You'd Expect: Him to admit this in court, taking the heat off of his lawyer who's currently in the frying pan for supposedly forging evidence.
      Instead: He runs off and becomes a fugitive, never mentioning the diary page until later.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney — Dual Destinies

  • In the third case, Professor Aristotle Means has just committed murder and has the perfect plan to pin the crime on his student, Juniper Woods. He creates a fake crime scene, manages to dispose of the body without any detection, and creates a credible alibi for himself. On top of all that, he intends to get himself appointed as Juniper's defense attorney, just to make sure that she gets convicted.
    You'd Expect: Means would just let things run their course at this stage. Even though Means couldn't fully complete his plan because Athena volunteered to be Juniper's lawyer before he could, he's still created a crime scene that has an entire academy of law students and staff totally fooled.
    Instead: Means outright tells one of the witnesses to lie to the investigating attorneys about a piece of forged evidence, knowing full well that a) the witness could testify to this fact, b) the defense could deduce that the evidence is fake, and c) the detective could link this false evidence to him and determine that he's the actual culprit (all of which happens).
  • From the fourth case: a space mission director is informed of a potential bomb plot a few days before a rocket launch. It is probably similar to the attack from seven years ago that led to the death of one of his crew members (and gave post-traumatic stress disorder to another). Despite his pleas, the government refuses to listen to him and cancel the launch.
    You'd Expect: He would feign some unexpected repairs or technical difficulties with the rocket to delay the launch. Or break protocol and cancel the plans anyway, privately explaining the situation to the current crew and disregard his job security in place of saving lives.
    Instead: He plans to save the crew on his own by switching the actual launch site with one that was retired as a museum, but only tells the plan to one of the astronauts and a few other staff members, while drugging the other astronaut into having no recollection of the actual events. The bomb goes off resulting in costly damage, while the perpetrator escapes and manages to kill one of the crew anyway. The drugged crew member (coincidentally the one suffering from PTSD) is then charged with his colleague's murder.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney — Spirit of Justice

  • Prior to the start of the game, Nahyuta Sahdmahi, then a member of the Defiant Dragon rebels, becomes a prosecutor in the hope of reforming the corrupt justice system of Khura'in from within. Unfortunately for him, Queen Ga'ran discovers his intentions and starts blackmailing him into becoming her lackey by threatening his mother and little sister.
    You'd Expect: Nahyuta to try and inform the rest of the Defiant Dragons of his situation, with the suggestion that they rescue his family and take them somewhere outside of Khura'in, where Ga'ran can't touch them. Dhurke, the leader of the Defiant Dragons, just so happens to be Nahyuta's father, an absolute Papa Wolf and, as revealed when he meets Apollo in the present day, an expert when it comes to prison escapes.
    Instead: Nahyuta just resigns himself to being Ga'ran's lackey and becomes complicit in the deaths of dozens if not hundreds of innocent people by perpetuating the corrupt status quo until near the end of the game's last case.
  • In the second case, in an attempt to prove that Trucy knew about the studio's prank (which would mean her apparent actions were intentional murder rather than an accident), they bring forth a typed note of instruction left backstage demonstrating knowledge of the prank with Trucy's signature at the bottom.
    You'd Expect: Apollo to stare at Nahyuta for a few seconds and then say "Who in God's name would type a note, and then sign it?", point out that such an action would be highly time-consuming compared to just writing the whole note by hand, and then immediately produce the trick carbon paper clipboard Apollo already knows Roger Retinz used to fake Trucy's signature on another document.
    Instead: Apollo says nothing, apparently stumped by how Trucy's signature could possibly get on a document she didn't write, and lets the court day end there, causing public opinion to turn extremely sour against Trucy until the next day.
  • Then there's how Trucy's signature got on that note in the first place, though that fact isn't relevant to this example: Trucy is signing a contract for her TV appearance. From Apollo's reaction, it seems like she's doing so without the benefit of council:
    You'd Expect: Being the business manager of a company that employs lawyers, the two Juniors being at hand, Trucy would consult with one of them to see if there are any glaring traps.
    Instead: She signs away, putting the firm on the hook for $3,000,000 if something goes wrong... which it does.note 
    Granted: The aforementioned Lawyers are Criminal Defense Lawyers and probably wouldn't know much about Contract Law. However, they could give basic legal advice while buying time to get a proper Contract Lawyer.
    Alternately: As the business manager and her own agent, Trucy should have an accounting firm on retainer, who themselves could have hooked her up with a Contract Lawyer.
  • In the third case, after Datz's testimony is proven to be nothing but lies, Nahyuta suggests that Maya plotted a complicated scheme involving disguising a statue as Lady Kee'ra and stabing Inmee from behind to make it look like Kee'ra did it.
    You'd Expect: Phoenix to point out that Inmee ran towards Lady Kee'ra, something Maya couldn't possibly predict and without it the plan to make it look like Lady Kee'ra did it would be impossible since he would see her from distance. In addition, if Maya HAD moved up behind him, her footsteps would have been picked up in the Divination Seance.
    Or at least: Point out that Nahyuta has absolutely no evidence backing up his theory. And since Datz was there and his testimony was a bunch of lies, he could very well disguise himself as Lady Kee'ra, making him just as much of a suspect as Maya (although he at least had the alibi of being unconscious at the time, which was proven).
    Instead: He does nothing as the judge accepts Nahyuta's theory as a fact. Only the discovery of another body and subsequent need for a second trial saves their necks.
  • The game's fourth case. Nahyuta is investigating the murder of Taifu Toneido, who was found suffocated to death in his room. While at the crime scene, he notices a message spelled out with Karuta cards that implicates Bucky Whet as the murderer.
    You'd Expect: It to occur to Nahyuta - or anyone involved with the case, really - that a man being suffocated to death probably wouldn't be able to spell out a dying message with cards, if he even decided to prioritize that against fighting off his attacker.
    Instead: Everyone bar Simon treats the cards as damning evidence. When the case goes to trial, it turns out, surprise surprise, that the cards were rearranged by the killer after Taifu's death.
  • The DLC case's backstory. A surgeon is set to operate on his own fiancée and his fiancée's brother after both are involved in a car crash. The fiancée begs that the surgeon operate on her brother first, despite her own injuries being far more severe.
    You'd Expect: The surgeon disregards his fiancée's request, and operates on her first. Her intentions are certainly selfless, but she's the one in the most danger of succumbing to her injuries, so she should receive treatment before the less-critically-injured patient.
    Or At Least: For the family to hire a second surgeon so both of them get lifesaving treatment at the same time. It's not like they're strapped for cash, given the size of the mansion they're living in.
    Instead: The surgeon does as his fiancée asks, he stays on as the only surgeon, and she dies. And the surgeon proceeds to harbor a huge grudge against her brother for something that only came about because of him.
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