Real Lawyer Reacts to South Park Chewbacca Defense

Real Lawyer Reacts to South Park Chewbacca Defense

Why does Chewbacca live on Endor?! IT. DOES. NOT. MAKE. SENSE.
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Ever heard of the Chewbacca defense, it’s a parody that became a real thing. LOOK AT THE MONKEY.

If you’re dealing with copyright issues yourself IRL, check out my very own https://copyrightcourse.com Learn all of my tips and tricks to fight demonetization and bogus copyright claims. 

Here’s my review of the Seinfeld finale that also features a Johnny Cochran parody: https://youtu.be/lhg3hW3K_KA

Check out Adam Neely’s video on Dark Horse: https://youtu.be/0ytoUuO-qvg

Wikipedia sums it up perfectly:

“In a jury trial, a Chewbacca defense is a legal strategy in which a criminal defense lawyer tries to confuse the jury rather than refute the case of the prosecutor. It is an intentional distraction or obfuscation.

Because a Chewbacca defense distracts and misleads, it is an example of a red herring. It is also an example of an irrelevant conclusion, a type of informal fallacy in which one making an argument fails to address the issue in question.

The name Chewbacca defense comes from “Chef Aid”, an episode of the American animated series South Park. The episode, which premiered on October 7, 1998, satirizes the O. J. Simpson murder trial—particularly attorney Johnnie Cochran’s closing argument for the defense. In the episode, Cochran (voiced by Trey Parker) bases his argument on a false premise about the 1983 film Return of the Jedi. He asks the jury why a Wookiee like Chewbacca would want to live on Endor with the much smaller Ewoks when “it does not make sense”. He argues that if Chewbacca living on Endor does not make sense—and if even mentioning Chewbacca in the case does not make sense—then the jury must acquit.

In the Simpson murder trial, the real Johnnie Cochran tried to convince jurors that a glove found at the crime scene, alleged to have been left by the killer, could not be Simpson’s because it did not fit Simpson’s hand. Because the prosecution relied on the glove as evidence of Simpson’s presence at the scene, Cochran argued that the lack of fit proved Simpson’s innocence: “It makes no sense; it doesn’t fit; if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” was a refrain that Cochran also used in response to other points of the case.”

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I get asked a lot about whether being a practicing attorney is like being a lawyer on TV. I love watching legal movies and courtroom dramas. It’s one of the reasons I decided to become a lawyer. But sometimes they make me want to pull my hair out because they are ridiculous.

Today I’m taking a break from representing clients and teaching law students how to kick ass in law school to take on lawyers in the movies and on TV. While all legal movies and shows take dramatic license to make things more interesting (nobody wants to see hundreds of hours of brief writing), many of them have a grain of truth.

This is part of a continuing series of “Lawyer Reaction” videos. Got a legal movie or TV show you’d like me to critique? Let me know in the comments!

All clips used for fair use commentary, criticism, and educational purposes. See Hosseinzadeh v. Klein, 276 F.Supp.3d 34 (S.D.N.Y. 2017); Equals Three, LLC v. Jukin Media, Inc., 139 F. Supp. 3d 1094 (C.D. Cal. 2015).

Typical legal disclaimer from a lawyer (occupational hazard): This is not legal advice, nor can I give you legal advice. Sorry! Everything here is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Nothing here should be construed to form an attorney client relationship. Also, some of the links in this post may be affiliate links, meaning, at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. But if you click, it really helps me make more of these videos!

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59 Responses

  1. LegalEagle says:

    Make your own [sigh] “Stinky Britches” on Skillshare! Get 2 months of unlimited learning on Skillshare for FREE:  https://skl.sh/legaleagle17

    • SupaDanteX says:

      I’m actually kind of sad your sponsor wasn’t Indochino, or another clothing sponsor, just so you could have made the segue: “But you know who doesn’t have stinky Britches? Today’s Sponsor!”

    • m norton buswell says:

      Objection! What we actually need is a clip reel of you rolling your eyes at cartoon justice.

    • hellasow says:

      @Paul B He was found liable in civil court that good enuf for it not to be allegedly. Oj can’t successfully sue to prove something the opposite…

    • Derick Chafton says:

      What a fraud. You know I see right through you. Fake liar trash human lawyer scum

    • NinjaNezumi says:

      !OBJECTION! look up the lawsuit against Ghostbusters and Huey Lewis’ I Want a New Drug, just a couple of bars and Huey Lewis got Ray Parker Jr to settle out of court. So yes, it only takes a couple of bars to establish copyright, because those songs sound NOTHING alike.

  2. Jon S says:

    “The second trial makes no sense at all.”

    That does not make sense! If the second trial does not make sense, you must acquit!

    -Johnnie Cochran, probably

  3. Vontos' Magic Murder Bag says:

    15:00 Ironically this is what happened to OJ Simpson when he lost in civil court.

    • zatoth13 says:

      The funniest moment of which was he wrote a book detailing his ordeal concerning the murder, the victims’ families went to court, seized the book and all rights and promptly edited the book as to what they believe he actually did. OJ kept trying to hide assets and the families’ lawyers kept digging them up, including him making a fake company using his kids’ names to hide income.

    • boiledelephant says:

      @zatoth13 Wow. Incidentally, that book is the thing that convinced me on the entire matter- of course we’ll never be sure, but all of the “he obviously did it!” arguments were very circumspect and vague. But then he wrote a book called “(If) I Did It” (with the ‘if’ colour-separated). I couldn’t read that as anything other than bragging smugness. I can’t imagine an innocent person ever, ever pulling a stunt like that. It just wouldn’t make sense. (Oh shit I said the thing)

    • zatoth13 says:

      boiledelephant I think that was the book

    • 160tried&true says:

      South park even said that in this episode that the chewbaka lawyer got OJ off

      I think that was one of the jokes of the episode someone as guilty as sin got away free because they had a good lawyer

    • zatoth13 says:

      160tried&true OJ got off based on what I will call “Matlock Effect”. My argument on the show Matlock is that Matlock is not so much a great lawyer as the police and prosecution are incompetent. In almost every Matlock episode, the accused is hurled into court on the flimsiest of evidence and this is even before DNA. In OJ’s favor, the police did indeed mishandle evidence, too much faith was placed in the DNA evidence and the prosecution handled the case as first year law students on a Judge Judy episode. If I had been on that jury, I most likely would have found him “not guilty”. Judge Ito bears a lot of the blame for losing his grip on his court room. The bloody glove incident threw so much doubt into the guilt of OJ that you could not rule out it was possibly another person. By contrast, the families’ lawyers in the civil case were more aggressive and thorough.

  4. Justanotherconsumer says:

    Objection!

    Can a lawyer be held in contempt for extreme nonsensical conduct?

    Specifically, if someone actually tried, verbatim, the Chewbacca defense, would they be held in contempt?

  5. Eric M says:

    “He’s from Kashyyyk, obviously.” Is the greatest thing you have ever said!

  6. Daniel Harrison says:

    ya dude mentioned Adam Neely, he’s got my respect

  7. maximaldinotrap says:

    Cochran: If Chewbacca lived on Endor you must accquit

    Me: He lived on the Millenium Falcon, must not accquit.

  8. ØD P-R says:

    Kyle: We’ll get my dad to be Chef’s lawyer!

    Cartman: Yeah! He’s Jewish!

    Devin: Okay, that might sound insane…

    Me: :O

  9. DETGREENMAN says:

    You should react to Futurama season five episode four. It’s where a Zoidburg Goes in front of the supreme court for eating a flag.

  10. Daniel Tobin says:

    Chewy was only on Endor for like two days. He didn’t live there, that lawyer was wrong

  11. joel mavity says:

    The Season 1 Psych episode “Cloudy…Chance of Murder” should be graded for legal realism.

  12. SuperMarshall 2.0 says:

    Can you cover the trial of Green Lantern on ‘Justice League’?

    • Sooner Admirer says:

      @phofire77 How though? They got rid of their lawyer problem long ago.

    • Chris McWilliams says:

      Given that it’s an alien court it would be hard to be sure if something was wrong or just different. I guess they could do a disclaimer along those lines first but it feels like it would muddy the waters.

    • MtnNerd says:

      @Chris McWilliams He did a Star Trek episode

    • HansLemurson says:

      That episode was ridiculous. They didn’t even check to make sure that the alleged crime had even taken place! Isn’t that what the discovery phase is for?

    • Anonymous Person says:

      @HansLemurson Plus the alleged crime was just a freaky accident, but they were treating it like it was premeditated murder.

  13. KittySnicker says:

    Objection! How about the conflict of interest with Johnnie Cochran representing adverse parties in the same matter??

  14. Forrest Drouin says:

    Trial of Tim Heidecker! I wont stop asking for it

  15. Robbie Jay says:

    Is anyone still waiting on Legally Blonde… or is it just me.

  16. Soopermoose Gaming says:

    Everyone is overlooking the most important detail here, NO ONE live on Endor as it is a GAS Giant planet. The Ewoks live on the Forest Moon “OF” Endor.

  17. Marcus Skerratt says:

    OBJECTION: The news caster said it was the 15th day.

  18. A Person says:

    Why is Ryan Reynolds giving me a lecture on law

  19. Blokewood3 says:

    In the Batman animated series episode “Joker’s Millions” the joker hires Johnnie Cochran, who proclaims “if a man’s filled with glee, that man must go free!” It worked.

  20. Dutch29 says:

    Now next up is the Harassment Panda episode and all of the lawsuit cases in it.

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