Three of the Strangest Criminal Defenses Ever Used

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Sure, there are some completely legitimate criminal defenses that can at best help get a sentence reduced or even dropped, or at least allow the defendant’s side of the story to be aired.

But sometimes, criminal defense attorneys and their clients can get a little bit — in a word — creative. Here are a few of the weirdest criminal defense cases you’ll ever hear of.

Because of the Ouija Board.

Six military intelligence soldiers on an apparent mission to destroy the Antichrist were picked up in Florida by police and charged with desertion. In their defense, the group’s leader, Vance Davis, said that Ouija Board spirits told them to desert because they needed to save the world from an impending cataclysm. Of all the criminal defense cases out there that tried “the devil made me do it,” this has to be one of the oddest.

Because of Her Premenstrual Syndrome.

Sandie Craddock, a 29-year-old barmaid, claimed she murdered her coworker because of her PMS. Of all the weird criminal defense cases out there, this one is perhaps one of the most surprising, because the judge actually accepted her lawyer for criminal defense’s argument that PMS was a mitigating factor. A review of the defendant’s diaries revealed that each of her 30 past convictions and suicide attempts happened around the same time of her menstrual cycle. She was found guilty of manslaughter, and ordered to take a progesterone treatment.

Because the Parrot Saw Richard Do It.

In 1993, Gary Joseph Rasp was accused of murdering Jane Gill, his business partner. Oftentimes in criminal defense cases, testimony from witnesses is submitted, so his defense attempted to submit to the court testimony from Gill’s parrot, which was reportedly heard repeating “Richard, no, no, no!” Rasps attorney took this as evidence that a person named Richard was the real murderer. The judge, however, disagreed, and sentenced Rasp to life in prison.

Criminal defense lawyers, like domestic violence attorneys, can help their clients have their side of things heard, but as these criminal defense cases show, it’s usually best to stick with the facts.

If you know of any other strange criminal defense cases, feel free to ask in the comments. Read this for more.

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