Entertainment
11.8k readers

Ways the Courts & Legal Systems Are Nothing Like the Movies

11.8k views17 items

So... You've just emerged from the comforting, air-conditioned darkness of the movie theatre, and you're feeling inspired. Finally! A movie that's shown you what you should be doing with your life. You're going to be a lawyer, and find the evidence the cops were too dumb to pick up on, shocking the courtroom in the third act of the trial. Or maybe you're going to go home to build a suit of weaponized armor and fly around the world, fighting villains. Or, you're determined to drive in a manner that is both faster and angrier than usual, pulling off lucrative heists and then retiring to an obscure country, far from the reach of The Law.

Well, guess what? Legal systems in real life are NOTHING like the movies. You can't do any of these things, and most of them will end with you moving into a room with a view through iron bars. For, as you will soon see, cinema has a very warped sense of legality in this world. There are countless ways real life courtrooms are different from movies and of all the things Hollywood embellishes, court cases and the legal system in general might get the worst treatment.
Photo:
  • Double Jeopardy Can't Be Used to Commit Another Crime

    Photo: Paramount Pictures
    Nice try, Ashley Judd. Having been convicted (wrongly) of killing her husband in Double Jeopardy, Judd's Libby uses the titular legal loophole, which bars being tried for the same crime twice, to actually go and kill her (still living) husband with immunity. However, murder is murder, whoever the victim might be, and if it's clear Libby executed a human being, she's going straight back to jail, without passing Go.
  • The Victim of a Crime Doesn't Have the Power to "Drop the Charges"

    Photo: Hasbro
    For some reason, victims of crimes in movies seem to have all the power to prosecute their offenders, or not. However, t's actually the prosecutor who chooses whether or not to prosecute. While the victim's feelings and cooperation can sway this decision, the amount of evidence present is a far greater influence.
  • Bad Guys Can't Be Imprisoned Indefinitely Without Trial

    Photo: 20th Century Fox
    Yes, Magneto is dangerous and can manipulate metal and needs to be confined to a plastic prison for the safety of humanity. But the law grants ALL citizens the right to a fair trial, even mutants. You can't just throw the man in a Tupperware and vacuum-seal him forever.
  • Civilians Must Have a License to Carry Weapons

    Photo: Paramount Pictures
    Remember at the end of Iron Man, when Robert Downey, Jr. proudly declares, "I AM Iron Man!" Yeah, that would be the point at which the cuffs would get slapped on him. Believe it or not, private citizens can't own suits that fire live rockets. You have to have a permit just to carry a handgun. You also have to have a license to carry concealed weapons, so sorry Wolverine, you'll need to hand over those knives - what do you mean, they don't come off?