Real Lawyer Reacts to South Park Chewbacca Defense

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Published: 4 months ago
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 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:

Check out Adam Neely's video on Dark Horse:

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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comment  Comments

Make your own [sigh] "Stinky Britches" on Skillshare! Get 2 months of unlimited learning on Skillshare for FREE:

4 months ago

so why not use the Chewbacca defence against an obviously guilty record company?
fearing for their money, they file suit first.
why would they do that if they owned the material?

its an open and shut case with ownership at their level, and they are obviously scared of the facts. guilty.

3 days ago

go over the blacklist trial season 6!

5 days ago

DUDE YOU GOT YOUR FACTS WRONG. EX: you said, if the songs were very similar, you just play them for the jury and you're done. NOPE. ex: in the Zep Stairway trial (#1... the 2nd trial coming soon and Zep WILL LOSE), the judge would NOT allow the jury to hear EITHER recording!

1 month ago

look how the disgusted the lawyers face was when he said he wasn't asking for money

1 month ago

you look like john krasinksi and ryan reynolds

1 month ago

God I hate lawyers

5 minutes ago

I wanna hear "Stinky britches" covered by steamy ray vaughn and steamy nicks. It would probably sound like shit.....

1 hour ago

It would be interesting to now do a DNA test on the Simpson gloves.

1 hour ago

OJ only got off thanks to good lobbying by Cochran

2 hours ago

So glad to hear this. It's often lost on people that South Park is actually really smart show. It blows my mind how often that show is overlooked by generations before or after South Park exploded.

5 hours ago

Objection: The entire point of the "Chewbacca" defense was missed by the supposed "lawyer" in this video and it should be stricken from the record. The "Chewbacca" defense had nothing to do with the glove evidence presented at trial whatsoever. The way that Johnny Cochran used the "Chewbacca" defense in the O.J. trial was that he re-focused the entire scope of the trial from murder to racism against O.J.. Because Cochran focused the trial on racism, he was able to cloud what the trial should have actually been about which was O.J. being accused of murder thus confusing the supposed jury. In the South Park episode, Cochran does the exact same thing by talking about "Chewbacca" throughout the trial in order to distract the supposed jury from the issue of copyright infringement.
Sorry but I give the lawyer in the video a grade of "F" for his understanding of the "Chewbacca" defense. Looks like you fooled another one Johnny!

6 hours ago

If the glove don’t fit you must acquit

7 hours ago

This guy is a lawyer? They must have lowered the BAR. 😎 wahhhhh

8 hours ago

Love the Adam Neely shout out, one of my favorite youtube music channels. Love a good crossover between two of my favorite channels.

9 hours ago

No objection. This is an awesome channel!🤣🤣🤣

12 hours ago

There’s an episode of The Good Wife that covered this too. The name of the song was Thicky Trick and it was amazing.

14 hours ago

4:46 well I was not expecting that . I should have though.

15 hours ago

objection! ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, I have one final thing I want you to consider. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it; that does not make sense!
Why would a Wookiee, an 8-foot-tall Wookiee, want to live on Endor, with a bunch of 2-foot-tall Ewoks? That does not make sense! But more important, you have to ask yourself: What does this have to do with this case? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case! It does not make sense! Look at me. I'm a lawyer defending a major record company, and I'm talkin' about Chewbacca! Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making any sense! None of this makes sense! And so you have to remember, when you're in that jury room deliberatin' and conjugatin' the Emancipation Proclamation, does it make sense? No! Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense! If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! The defense rests.

15 hours ago

Wasn't the point of this that Cochran deflected the murder subject away and made it an "Are the LAPD racist" debate?
Like if Chewbaca doesn't live on Endor, then my client cant be guilty being the same as if I can prove these guys are racist then OJ didn't kill his wife?

15 hours ago

I think johnny is still one of the most famous lawyers internationally even if he has retired or what ever.

16 hours ago

Objection: isn’t there a law that prevents someone from an unreasonable fine/ restitution?

16 hours ago

Ryan Reynolds? Is that you??

18 hours ago

Objection! The prosecutors in the OJ trial did a terrible job, which was at least as big a factor in the acquittal as Johnnie Cochran's Chewbacca defense.

In all candor: On a deeper level the parody is mocking the jurors in the OJ case, who accepted the specious theory as much as the defense counsel for using it.

18 hours ago

I think they should win because all the stars do is take from us who have the talent and ideas capitalize off of us who they won't put on. Para$ite$.

21 hours ago

The Jewdicial system.

21 hours ago

Objection!!! Kanye A lawyer?

23 hours ago

According to the first link on the all-knowing Google box, "Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor."

1 day ago

I have a concern with one thing you said: It may be true that the vast majority of cases that actually reach court are ones that seem contestable ( a chance of a win from the plaintiff ). However, that totally ignores the political dimension of some cases (elected DAs or prosecutors) and the interplay of ego. Defendants also can have the same sort of ego. And there's always the possibility the defendant maintains his innocence despite fairly damning evidence and chooses to proceed even despite the advice of council.

It seems to me there are a non-zero amount of cases where cases that are not strongly contestable that still head to court. Sometimes this can be done by plaintiffs or defendants who have irrational views and the money or determination (or both) to pursue the matter.

Love your analysis of various fictional presentations of judicial process.

One thing I'd love you to speak to sometime in a video would be how divergent laws are across the country (from state to state or state vs. federal) and how different the way court is conducted and the standards lawyers have to meet to practice. Given the different governance models between states, I'm assuming there's also a large variety of law. How practical is it to be licensed in more than one state as a result?

1 day ago

“Hack Lawyer reacts to his own bias and nonsensical propagandas with derf dee derf and total unawareness.” Delete yourself ya silly ass deranged femoid brainlet

1 day ago

We all know. What's wrong is that lawyers manipulate the jurors. Unless I'm on trial ... and famous enough to get famous lawyers ... then yeah ... that's cool.

1 day ago

Do you understand any jokes? I want to hear from a real lawyer. Maybe one of mel Brooks's lawyers. You know, a "real" lawyer.
One of the chosen lawyers.... I don't know how to be more subtle about the lawyer I need to hear from.

1 day ago

Judith Finell’s logic was comical, and “the equivalent of an expert in a film case testifying that the word “destruction” was used four times in the first scene of one film and two times in the second scene of the second film. They might go on to say that the word “destruction” was followed by the words “of a house” in the first film, and “of a truck” in the second film, along with an explanation that “house” and “truck” both have five letters, and many trucks are parked at houses.”-Edwin F. McPherson. I still can’t believe the Gaye family won.

1 day ago

Your a lawyer not a judge you cannot sustain or overrule anything

1 day ago

That the victim could also be the defendant being a plausible situation describes everything wrong with our convoluted legal system.

1 day ago