Lawyers Share The Exact Moment They Realized Their Client Was A Monster
Being a lawyer is an incredibly important job. They are responsible for seeking justice and defending the rights of human beings. But it isn’t always easy, and anyone who works in criminal justice can attest to that fact. Building a case for a defendant can be complicated, to say the least. It’s a tedious process that sometimes tests the patience and beliefs of lawyers, as well as their clients.
Defense attorneys have an obligation to their clients to advocate for them and help get the best outcome possible. There are plenty of factors surrounding any given case that can make doing so difficult. Dealing with criminals on a daily basis can be taxing, but it can also sometimes be downright scary. Just take it from these lawyers who recently shared the exact moment that they realized their client was a monster.
#1 Chasing Children
A lot of years ago, I used to work as a solicitor’s representative. A 70-something-year-old man had been in jail for 15 years for an attack on a child. The solicitor and barrister worked on getting him released since he had been getting clean reports from just about everyone. The guards took him out of jail to a dentist and as he entered the waiting room, he saw two children and ran straight at them.
The guards stopped him. Three weeks later, at court, I was the one that set him down in a room to explain that he wasn’t at a hearing to be released, but so that he could be committed to a mental health secure facility for the rest of his life. He didn’t take that well, and I shed no tears. Anyone who acts that way towards children isn’t deserving of sympathy.
#2 Pay For The Window
I had a client who was accused of domestic violence. Essentially, he threw his girlfriend out of a second story window. He’s got a terrible history, but I guess a lot of my clients do as well. He wanted a plea deal, and I was not really prepared when he absolutely refused the no-jail offer from the state (keep in mind, there were like, five witnesses). Why? Because they wanted him to pay for her medical bills. What was his counteroffer? “I ain’t paying her bills. Tell them I’ll pay for the window.” The prosecutor was not happy.
#3 Saving Shards Of Glass
My general psychology professor worked for the state of Arkansas assessing criminals to see if they would qualify as criminally insane. He told us a story one time about a guy who would get glass shards and hide them underneath his skin, presumably to use at a more opportune time. He said his interview with the guy made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end.
#4 Serial Starver
I’m on the other side. I had a defendant who went to prison for starving three adopted children to the point that they needed weeks of hospitalization. She then got out of prison and married a guy with children so that she could start starving them, too. Listening to her interview where she attempted to justify what she did to both sets of kids disturbed me more than any of the other cases I’d worked on.
#5 Post-Employment Restraint
We had a client try and enforce a post-employment restraint against a 19-year-old receptionist after she quit and started working for a competitor. The reason? He wanted to “make her life miserable” because she wouldn’t be with him, a creepy 57-year-old man. His harassment of her was the reason she quit. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t take our advice to discontinue his claim and so we ended up sending him elsewhere.
#6 Baby Bargain
She tried to sell her baby. I found out during a hearing, in front of the judge.
#7 Quitting Over Cannibalism
I had a teacher in high school who was a former lawyer. We always asked him why he gave up his practice to start teaching. He finally caved and explained that his last case involved the defense of three people. Apparently, there had been a fourth. It was two couples, who while tipsy, decided to attack another woman. I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time.
As a lawyer, he said it was pretty open and shut, but he had to get his clients the best result possible, and he was exposed to all the horrid details, the pictures, and their reasoning. My teacher had such a far off look when he explained it that we could see it really got to him. He told us that he was pretty much traumatized by the entire case.
#8 Chew Toy
My mom is a lawyer. This is the story about how she quit being a public defender. When you are a public defender you don’t get to choose your cases. She got assigned a young man who, with the help of his girlfriend, had gotten a kitten from an ad in the paper. They then brought it home and gave it to their dog as a chew toy. So yeah. She said she needed a shower after every meeting with him. She canceled her PD contract after the case concluded.
#9 In The Corn Field
I’ve done a lot of prison legal aid. One time, I had a 17-year-old kid who was mildly cognitively disabled, due to brain trauma he sustained at the hands of his birth parents. He later ended up with a really wonderful foster care family and thrived. He was a popular kid in school, a hard worker, and a good athlete.
One night, he invited his girlfriend to meet up in a corn silo, which I guess was a thing that country kids did? The girl met him at the silo and they were hanging out inside. By his account, they were having a nice time and he was really enjoying himself, then for no particular reason, he hit her super hard and she became unconscious. He then went home as if nothing had happened.
#10 Dying For A Divorce
I had a divorce client, a husband, and father, who disowned his special needs son and tried to argue that he should get all of his wife’s retirement money despite not having worked for 12 years. He contacted me during the height of Hurricane Sandy (he was in the Bronx and me in Manhattan) saying he wanted to hold his wife in contempt for not paying him that day while the storm slammed NYC.
Several months later, since his divorce was taking a long time, he sent threats to myself and my wife, saying that he had hired an “executor” to end the two of us if his divorce wasn’t finalized in 60 days. I called the police and they said he left his premises one day earlier. Ironically, the divorce didn’t have to be completed because he ended himself before the judge signed the judgment of divorce.
#11 Fighting Over Fundraiser Funds
My first internship in law school was at a matrimonial law firm in a very wealthy area. Think millionaires and billionaires getting divorced. One of the first cases I worked on involved the parents of a victim of a high-profile school shooting. The parents were divorced and had been prior to the passing of the child, and they were now battling over who would get the victim’s compensation fund money.
These were incredibly wealthy people fighting over what was literal chump change to them and asking the public to donate to them as if they needed it. They were so clearly exploiting the passing of their child for money and it was honestly one of the most disturbing things I have encountered, ever. What kind of parents would do that?
#12 Frozen Funds And Foreign Citizenship
This woman wanted her U.S. citizenship, so she married an older man who was never ‘hands on.’ For example, when the man went to file taxes, he had someone do it for him. She made a deal with this person: they transferred his entire estate and accounts to her. But her citizenship hadn’t been fully established as this was roughly a week into the false marriage. All of the older gentleman’s money and assets were frozen because a foreign citizen ‘owned’ them. The case is still stuck in a legal abyss and I don’t know what happened later.
#13 Book To The Head
About two months ago, one of my clients picked up a statute book off the defense table and knocked me over the head with it during a probation violation hearing. That wasn’t a great day at work. I didn’t press charges—she was my client, after all—but thinking back on it now, I don’t know why I continued to help her after she did that.
#14 Children’s Cigarette Burns
A former teacher told me a story of when he was assigned by the court to defend a woman accused of child abuse. When he saw burns all over the kid’s arms, he knew she was clearly guilty but he still had to defend her. He said he’s never been so relieved to hear a client found guilty (and to actually lose a case).
#15 Jaw Breaker
The first and last family law case was assigned to me as a first-year associate. My client broke his wife’s jaw and said if they were home in Russia he would have ended her because he could pay his way out of prison there.
#16 No Employment For Spelling Error
As a law intern, I had to prepare a defense for a huge government corporation who had denied employment to a man who applied on compassionate grounds. It’s a government policy where if an employee passes during their term, then their nearest relative is entitled to get employment in the same company. This man’s father had passed away at 60 years old after working there all his life, and the corporation was rejecting it on a mere technical issue involving a spelling error in some of his ID documents.
#17 No Remorse
I had a family member who ended someone else’s life in the presence of a child. I had to testify against the family member which meant I also had to spend a lot of time with the defense. The attorney knew the family member was guilty but he was going to mount the best defense possible, and he did. Years later, I ran into that attorney and he told me, “The very first time I sat down with him, he looked me right in the eye and told me things I can’t tell you. I have been a PD for over 20 years and he scared me worse in the first five minutes of our meeting than any other client had ever scared me before.”
#18 The Gatorade And Gasoline Chase
There was this 15-year-old Haitian kid when I was working in the juvenile division. I remember his face even now because he had two distinct tattoos on it, with very bloodshot eyes. He was arrested after he ran into police chasing after a teenage girl with a Gatorade bottle. Turns out, the girl worked at a gas station and had called the police a week earlier because the boy was sitting outside staring at her.
He had come back a week later, walked into the store and stole a Gatorade in front of her without a word. He dumped it outside, pushed a patron away and poured gasoline in the bottle, then starting walking back towards the attendant. She freaked out and started running out of the store. He came in, picked up a lighter and started chasing after her.
He ran right into two patrol officers and got arrested. Just looking at him in court freaked me out, which was unusual, to say the least. He seemed completely empty inside, showed absolutely zero emotions and didn’t say a single word at any stage, even after sentencing. Five years later, I was watching the First 48 and saw the Haitian kid’s mugshot at the end, with the same tattoos, arrested for a home invasion without motive in Miami.
#19 Cruel To Grandma
I have a family member who used to work in the court system. One time, he told me that a kid pushed their grandma down the stairs and left her there, all while laughing and taunting at her when she screamed in pain. To clarify when I say young, I mean under 13 years of age. Yeah… I guess bad eggs really do exist. Also, I’m not sure how this case ended since I don’t think he was tried as an adult. But hey, that’s the courts for you.
#20 Overbearing Mother-In-Laws
Years ago, I worked at a criminal defense law firm. The lawyers I worked for were very selective of the cases they took on. Mostly, I felt sorry for those people and their families. There was one woman, though, who was pure evil. She tried to hire a hitman to end her son-in-law. Just looking at her, without knowing what she did, she set off this vibe of a manipulative control freak. Watch out for overbearing mothers-in-law!
#21 Double Jeopardy
After my dad got a client out of a double charge via an insanity plea, he visited the client in the mental hospital. The client laughed that he had fooled them all. This was in the ’80s, so there wasn’t any recording of the confession. My dad could do nothing due to there being no new facts in the case (double jeopardy). He never took on another criminal defense case again, and he ended up having a 30-year career in real estate law before becoming a judge.
#22 What A Gem
My grandpa was defending one of four people in a case involving the burglary of a jewelry store. During the trial, the store worker was speaking as a witness when my grandpa’s client leaned in and whispered, “I should have ended him.” Three of the four were found guilty… It made my grandpa realize just how difficult it is to give people the benefit of the doubt.
#23 Hiding Money From Husband
I was volunteering at a court-free family law assistance program when one of the clients straight up asked us how to hide money from the husband she wanted to divorce. That is illegal to do during a divorce proceeding and I told her if she did that, she would risk losing every dime of her hidden money to her husband. She didn’t want to hear it and kept trying to ask if there was a way to hide the money regardless. I got one of the actual attorneys in the clinic in hopes they could make the woman listen to reason. She was in the lawyer’s office for a while but I don’t think she ever actually listened to us.
#24 Sneaky Surveillance
I once had a client who took it upon himself to install surveillance software on the personal devices of employees. Once they left, he would monitor their emails and accounts in an attempt to extort or blackmail them. I was able to get him off and he now works for the insurance industry. I shudder to think what he does to people now. He would use their contacts to create circumstances that suited his agenda. An absolutely terrible human being that I can only hope someone finally brings to justice.
#25 Tragic Playground Incident
I represented a guy in a child custody case. He wanted me to hammer on the fact that the mother was unfit because her other child had been fatally hurt in a tragic accident on a playground. She was a totally decent person and I liked her way more than I liked my client. It was one of the toughest situations I had ever been in.
#26 Out Of Control
I once had a guy who was in trouble for crimes against children for the third or fourth time. When I told him that the prosecutor wanted to strike him out, he basically said, “Well, I obviously can’t control myself, so that’s probably a good idea.” I had to struggle a lot with the idea of letting him plead and take life without parole. In the end, I convinced the prosecutor that it wasn’t actually a strikeout, so he got something like 15 years instead. I still wonder what to make of that. By most standards, he was a monster, but he realized it and asked to be locked up where he couldn’t do it again. There’s some humanity in everyone, I guess.
#27 Pushing For Payment
I hate when my clients make me chase them down to pay me for the small percentage of hours I spend on their case that I actually bill for. Monsters.
My client was charged with manslaughter because a five-year-old girl ran out in front of his car when he was speeding on a residential road. The girl’s parents called him a predator, so he said their child was obviously trying to commit suicide to get away from her awful parents. I did not win the case. I felt empty inside for a few months after that case.
#29 Courthouse Happenings
My dad is a lawyer and he had a client who randomly decided to take a #2 in the urinal in the courthouse bathroom…
#30 Kidnapping The Assistant
My client told me he wasn’t guilty, but he was. Then, he kidnapped my assistant to ensure my legal aid.
#31 That’s A Rap
I was trying to get a well-known rap artist out of a terrible endorsement deal so he could work with another brand, but the more I spoke to him, the more I realized he was a scam artist and lied to everyone around him. In the end, I told the brand to drop him—he was just brewing a publicity disaster for a multi-billion dollar company.
#32 Covering Cancer Treatments
I’ve represented a lot of bad people for a lot of bad things. But my worst was a simple judgment enforcement client, who upon learning that the debtor was now in possession of a chunk of money through the efforts of a local fundraising group to cover her cancer treatments, demanded that I freeze and attach the account.
#33 Unaccompanied Visits
I got a letter from the prison service “strongly suggesting” that I, a young female solicitor, should not visit him unaccompanied.
#34 Inherent In The System
I’ve spent my career in property law. By and large, I would say that in civil law, you don’t meet monsters so much as realize that the real monster is often the law itself. Very early on, as a trainee doing a stint in employment law, I remember attending a meeting with a senior guy at some company that ran nursing homes.
Naturally, they employed loads of poorly paid, often female staff, and the main thing they were interested in was making sure that the workforce didn’t get unionized. They did not want to have to pay their staff more or improve their conditions. Not illegal, of course, and the people involved weren’t personally evil, but it was a classic case of “come see the violence inherent in the system.”
#35 Tough To Handle
My worst client was a woman who thought everyone was out to get her. She had a terminal illness and still acted like a total jerk. I represented her in three separate civil cases. She had gone through two lawyers already who dropped her. At one point, even the judge had talked to me in his chambers after a hearing to advise me on how to deal with her.
I realized she was a monster when I had to present her for direct testimony and cross-examination. She was probably one of the best witnesses I had ever presented. I had been dreading presenting her because her demeanor could subconsciously influence the judge’s mind. Surprisingly, she answered all the questions briefly and directly, she was empathic, and she handled the cross-examination like a pro. I almost felt sorry for her. It was like she was a totally different person on the witness stand. The way she was able to act convincingly like a decent human being, despite the fact that she was actually a bad person, showed me how much of a psycho she was.
#36 Guilty Grenades
This was after I left practice in the UK and temporarily went back to my home country to work for a bit. The client was a mobster. He threw two grenades under the car of a rival mobster. Police stormed his place with no evidence, warrant or reasonable suspicion. The dumb cops didn’t think to go through formalities before making arrests.
The client called me, so I showed up at the station. He was walking out a free man. During our chat, he told me he heard through the grapevine that the rival mobster’s adult son decided to be smart and give the cops an anonymous tip as opposed to letting his father deal with it. Three days later, I saw in the headlines: “RIVAL MOBSTER’S HOUSE EXPLODES IN MYSTERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES. FORENSICS SAY EVIDENCE AT SCENE INCONCLUSIVE.” I forwarded it to my client and he just replied with a winking emoticon.
#37 Brick By Brick
I got arrested when I was younger and wound up in county jail for a bit. When you first get transferred there from the police station holding, you end up seeing a judge who sets your bail. The whole thing is done from inside the jail and through a TV screen, so you never see the judge or your public defendant in person.
It was my first time doing this whole thing and I was sticking nearby this guy that went by Repo. He had been in and out of jail before. We were waiting for our turn in front of the judge and there was this kid ahead of us. They really didn’t care much about privacy so you could hear the whole thing if you were next in line.
This kid was barely 18-years-old and he had a rap sheet that was extremely long. They got to the current charge that he was in there for, which was allegedly smacking a brick over the head of an elderly man and robbing him. I was very surprised by that, but I was even more surprised at how Repo reacted to this.
Even though he had been in and out of the system for all sorts of crimes and had met a ton of other criminals, something like that was over the top for him, especially since this kid was so young. It’s pretty sad to think that this kid’s life was already that messed up at such a young age and was probably going to get worse from there.
#38 Tipsy Crimes
I have mostly avoided criminal defense but not family law. The worst case I had involved this surgeon with a narcissistic personality disorder. He divorced a public official who’d been bed-hopping with state-level politicians just before a statewide election. They reached an agreement, then he messed it up. Neither of them had any self-control.
They would text each other while tipsy in the middle of the night and he’d start screaming at me at 7:30 am. Her lawyer would file emergency motions about whatever he was upset about by noon. Months after we parted ways, he wrote me to demand all of my fees back. It was all so weird. I really didn’t know what the heck to do with that client.
#39 Custody Battles
I’ll go ahead and say it. When I practiced family law and criminal defense, I trusted and believed my criminal defense clients 100x more than my divorce clients. The worst monsters are the people who manipulate minor children for custody reasons. Luckily, I’m out of that area of law, and hopefully for good. It’s just too depressing to deal with that stuff.
#40 On To The Next
My dad is a lawyer. He told me the story of why he stopped being a criminal defense lawyer. He got a case with a couple of young Russian guys who were charged with securities fraud. My dad worked super hard on the case and got the guys a great deal with some probation, a fine, and some community service. All was good at that point.
Then, later that night, the guys treated my dad to dinner and on the TV in the bar was a news story about insurance fraud. One of the guys said, “Hey guys, security fraud is old news, let’s try that next,” and pointed at the TV. My dad came home to my mom and said, “I can’t do criminal defense anymore,” because he realized the people he was defending were truly bad people.
#41 Provisions Lost In Revisions
The client was a senile 90-year-old man. He wanted to sell land worth a little less than a billion dollars to some businessmen. Suffice it to say that there were many who wanted to take advantage of the situation. One such person, to my dismay, was our managing partner. The partner wanted to insert a provision that would have effectively funneled about 60% of the proceeds solely to him. You could see how his eyes gleamed at the mere mention of money. The provision “got lost in the revisions.” I was doing the revisions. I’m no longer part of that scummy firm.
#42 Tipsy In Court
I won a DUI case because the government messed up on something right before trial was to begin. When my client gave me a hug, he COMPLETELY reeked of alcohol. He had driven to court. I took his keys and called his mother.
#43 A Stolen Case
I represented a woman for a grand theft charge. I left her in my office to get some things copied before she left. After she left, I realized my sunglasses and car keys were stolen. I tracked her down in the lobby, told her I was not going to represent her anymore, and that I would call the police if she didn’t empty her pockets in front of me.
#44 Curing Cancer
One of my clients pretended to be a doctor so he could sell steroids. According to the government, he had numerous clients who were made to believe that his steroids would cure their cancer. They paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars and some of them passed away. I just thought that was pure evil. What a terrible, terrible human being.
#45 Monsters Don’t Change Duty
To be completely honest, it’s not about the offense; it’s about the person. I’ve had people accused of heinous crimes that I really kind of liked and thought well of. I’ve had people accused of shoplifting who have given me the heebie-jeebies and seemed like total psychopaths. Speaking from purely a criminal standpoint, having a client who is a monster doesn’t matter in terms of your duty to them. But it does make the job less pleasant. My worst clients have been people who are comfortable scamming others of their money.