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Top 10 Most Shocking Courtroom Moments Caught On Tape

Top 10 Most Shocking Courtroom Moments Caught On Tape
VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild WRITTEN BY: Don Ekama
These courtroom scenes will shock you! For this list, we'll be looking at the most startling instances of chaos caught on camera in the supposed establishment of law and order. Our countdown of the most shocking courtroom moments caught on tape includes Melissa Harvick Attacks Judge, Judge Tracie Hunter Dragged Out of Courtroom, Judge Brawls with Public Defender, and more!

Top 10 Most Shocking Courtroom Moments Caught On Tape


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Shocking Courtroom Moments Caught On Tape.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most startling instances of chaos caught on camera in the supposed establishment of law and order.

Which of these courtroom moments shocked you the most? Let us know in the comments below.

#10: Melissa Harvick Attacks Judge

The judge’s bench holds significant power within a courtroom and, as a result, should be treated with respect. But in July 2011, a Wayne County, Kentucky woman named Melissa Harvick crossed the line when she threatened a judge and attempted to physically assault her. Harvick was in court for a domestic violence hearing, presided over by Judge Jennifer Edwards. During the proceedings, Harvick repeatedly interrupted her estranged husband and was charged with contempt of court. Just as she was sentenced to 10 days in jail, Harvick lunged at Edwards, but was immediately restrained by the deputies. She received additional criminal charges, including terroristic threats, intimidating a judge and resisting arrest.

#9: Ricky Hand Throws Waste at Attorney

We’re gagging just thinking about this one. Defendant Ricky Hand had allegedly orchestrated a series of armed robberies in the town of Ohio, Springfield. He pleaded guilty to seven criminal charges and was handed a 40-year prison term, which he clearly was not pleased with. Instead of simply voicing out his displeasure, Hand took a more extreme step. He pulled out a plastic bottle containing his own feces from his arm sling and threw the contents at his attorney. It didn’t take long for deputies to tackle and restrain him. For his filthy actions, Hand faced charges of harassment with bodily substance for each person he hit - a total of five counts.

#8: T. J. Lane’s Egregious Lack of Remorse

In February of 2012, T. J. Lane, a student at Chardon High School in Ohio went on a rampage that claimed the lives of three students and injured three others. Lane initially pleaded insanity, but later admitted guilt to three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of felonious assault. At his sentencing hearing, Lane donned a white T-shirt with the word ‘killer’ written across it and smirked as the victims’ families spoke. As if that wasn’t shocking enough, when asked to give a statement, Lane flicked his middle finger at the families and mocked the memories of their loved ones. He later received a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

#7: Judge Tracie Hunter Dragged Out of Courtroom

Ohio judge Tracie Hunter found herself on the wrong side of the law in October 2014 when she was convicted of having an unlawful interest in a public contract. The court found that Hunter had abused her position by giving confidential documents to her brother to help him retain his job. As a result, she lost her own job and law license, and was sentenced to six months in jail. Hunter reportedly went limp upon hearing the sentence, and was dragged out of the courtroom by one of the deputies. She would later file a formal inmate grievance, claiming that the use of force dehumanized her and worsened a pre-existing medical condition.

#6: Judge James Convery’s Derogatory Remarks

This surveillance video came from a courtroom in Essex County, New Jersey. Attorney Ivette Alvarez was representing her client in a divorce case overseen by Judge James Convery. When Alvarez’ client couldn’t produce his Social Security statements, Convery expressed skepticism, leading Alvarez to mention that she hadn’t received her own Social Security statements either. This prompted a racially insensitive remark from the judge. Alvarez, a former president of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, left the courtroom in disbelief and subsequently filed a complaint against Convery. Following an investigation by the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, the judge was reprimanded for his behavior.

#5: Keison Wilkins Fakes a Heart Attack

The best way to avoid prison is by refraining from crime. The second best way? According to this Ohio defendant, just fake a heart attack. In June 2008, Keison Wilkins faced multiple criminal charges, including felonious assault, and decided to represent himself during the trial. On the second day, while questioning a witness, Wilkins expressed signs of discomfort and suddenly collapsed to the floor. It appeared that the defendant-slash-attorney was having a heart attack. Despite the apparent distress, medical assessment showed that Wilkins was fine. His antics proved dead on arrival, as he was ultimately convicted and sentenced to 42 years in prison.

#4: Monica Contreras Is Wrongfully Arrested

Although the incident leading to this wrongful arrest wasn’t recorded, the aftermath is just as troubling. In August 2011, Monica Contreras attended a divorce hearing with her daughter at a Nevada family court. The proceedings concluded smoothly, but afterwards, Court Marshal Ron Fox took Contreras to another room for a drug search. Upon returning, an upset Contreras said that Fox had told her to lift up her shirt. Fox denied her claims and, alongside another marshal, placed her under arrest. Throughout the ordeal, Hearing Master Patricia Doninger ignored Contreras. After Contreras sued, an internal investigation validated her claims, and she was awarded a $200,000 settlement. The incident also led to the dismissal of Fox, the second marshal, and eventually, Doninger.

#3: Chaos Erupts at Dexter Johnson’s Sentencing

In June 2007, 19-year old Dexter Johnson received a death sentence in Harris County, Texas. The summer before, he and a group of friends had allegedly carjacked Maria Aparece and her boyfriend Huy Ngo. Johnson had sexually assaulted Aparece and then killed the couple. The death sentence didn’t go down well with the defendant or his family. Once the sentence was read, Johnson sat down in shock, and his mother wailed. Suddenly, Johnson erupted in a violent rage, knocking down a computer monitor as he lunged in the direction of the victim’s family. He was swiftly restrained by officers and taken out of the courtroom.

#2: Judge Brawls with Public Defender

Courtroom disputes are meant to be settled according to the law. But that legal standard didn’t seem to matter to Florida judge John C. Murphy. Surveillance footage from the Brevard County courtroom shows Murphy getting into a heated argument with attorney Andrew Weinstock. After threatening Weinstock, Murphy suggested they settle their dispute with their fists, and the two men walked off screen. While the actual fight wasn’t caught on camera, shouts and punching noises can be heard on the tape, prompting applause in the courtroom. As this wasn’t the wild wild west, Murphy was fired from his position by the Florida Supreme Court.

#1: Michael Marin Dies After Guilty Verdict

After his Phoenix, Arizona mansion went up in flames in 2009, Michael Marin was charged with arson and insurance fraud. Prosecutors argued that he had set his house on fire due to financial troubles. Although no life was lost, Marin still faced serious prison time if convicted. On June 28th 2012, the jury returned with a guilty verdict. We can’t show the chaos that ensued, but we can describe it. Dropping his face into his hands, Marin appeared to put something in his mouth. Soon after, he suffered convulsions and was later pronounced dead at the hospital. It was revealed that upon hearing his guilty verdict, Marin decided to take his own life by ingesting a lethal dose of cyanide.
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