- I was stuck in an elevator for two hours
and I had to make the whole time.
But I don't blame them, 'cause one time I turned into a dog
and they helped me.
- (chuckles) Short but pointless
(whimsical music plays)
Hey Legal Eagles! It's time to think like a lawyer.
And today, we are covering one of my favorite,
let's say, guilty pleasure movies.
I have a soft spot in my heart for Ghostbusters 2.
I know the first Ghostbusters movie
is basically a perfect movie.
That being said, gun to my head,
I think I might actually watch Ghostbusters 2 instead
if they're both on TV.
I think Ghostbusters 2 was just on cable
more often as a kid.
I can probably still quote most of the scenes
from The Scoleri Brothers' trial.
- (mimicking film characters) Your witness.
- (mimicking film characters) Yes, we're back.
- (mimicking film characters) We be fast and they be slow.
- So as always, be sure to comment
in the form of an objection
which I'll either sustain or overrule.
And stick around until the end of the video
where I give the court scene from Ghostbusters 2
a grade for legal realism.
So without further ado, let's dig in to Ghostbusters 2.
- [Devin] Now it occurs to me that you probably
need some background for this court scene.
In Ghostbusters 2, there have been a resurgence
of ghost and slime-related incidents
and the Ghostbusters are investigating
a river of supernatural slime that is flowing
throughout lower Manhattan.
In the course of investigating this river of slime,
the Ghostbusters have been arrested by the New York police
for basically drilling a giant hole
in the middle of 5th Avenue and causing
an enormous power outage for most of the New Yorkers
So, with that preface, let's go to the court scene
in Ghostbusters 2.
(bus engine roaring)
- [Judge] Before we begin this trial,
I wanna make one thing very clear.
- All right, so right off the bat, we have some actual
legal realism, which is interesting for a change.
This is the famous New York Supreme Court.
It's on Center Street in lower Manhattan.
This is actually the place where New York courts
deal with a lot of criminal infractions.
Now the New York Supreme Court is not to be confused
with the US Supreme Court or the Supreme Court
of many states.
For some reason, New York is really weird in that they call
the lower trial court the Supreme Court even though
it is the equivalent of what most states call
the Superior Court or the lowest trial court.
The highest court in New York is called
the Court of Appeals, for some reason.
Maybe that's just a bit of trivia that only I care about
but it's a super weird way for the New York courts
to name their courts and it's very counterintuitive.
But it is actually the place where
this particular criminal trial would probably take place.
- Law does not recognize the existence of ghosts,
and I don't believe in them either.
- Don't wanna hear a lot of malarkey about
goblins and spooks and demons.
We're gonna stick to the facts in this case
and leave the ghost stories to the kiddies, understood?
- Now, that is absolutely true that the courts
will not recognize ghosts in any particular criminal trial.
That being said, there was a New York case where
a house being haunted was, in fact,
a very important part of the facts and issues
- [Devin] called Stambovksy v. Ackley
where someone tried to get out of the sale of a house or,
particularly, purchasing a house because the house
was well-known in the community to be haunted.
It set a really interesting precedent
throughout New York in that because the seller
had not disclosed the fact that it was actually
known to be haunted, whether it was in fact, haunted or not.
The court, in that particular case,
took it as true that it was haunted.
But the fact that it had notoriety for being a ghost house
was something that the seller should have disclosed
to the buyer and it allowed the buyer to rescind the sale
and get out of buying that house.
So sometimes, the existence of ghosts
is an important fact in trials.
- Sounds like a pretty open-minded guy.
- Yeah, they call him The Hammer.
- What can we do? It's all in the hands of our lawyer now.
- I think you guys are making a big mistake.
- I mostly do tax laws and probate stuff occasionally.
I got my law degree at night school.
- Well, that's fine, Louis.
We got arrested at night.
- Oh, I love it! Louis Tully, the famous accountant
from Ghostbusters 1, who obviously was turned into a dog
and the Ghostbusters saved him in that particular case,
went to law school at night, which is a real thing.
There are some law schools that allow you
to take night classes, it's usually a four-year degree
instead of a three-year degree.
That being said, you don't wanna hire a tax lawyer
to handle your criminal arraignment.
It's just not a good idea.
Get someone who specializes in criminal law.
- Put these guys away fast and make sure
they go away for a long, long time, okay?
- I don't think it's gonna be hard
with this list of charges.
- Good. Very good.
- What... what is going on here?
They haven't been arraigned.
I assume they haven't been indicted.
This isn't the actual trial, they're not gonna be
tried and convicted in this particular thing.
I think that they were arrested the night before
this particular hearing.
There's no way they can be put away for any amount of time
because this isn't the place where that happens.
You have to go through an entire process.
The Ghostbusters need the discovery,
they need to know the evidence
that the prosecutors have against them.
The only thing that's gonna happen here
is that the Ghostbusters are gonna enter a plea
of not guilty and then they'll be released on bail
'cause there's no reason to put them in jail pending trial.
So nothing more is gonna happen at this point.
- Violating a judicial restraining order,
willful destruction of public property,
fraud, malicious mischief.
See you in a couple of years
at your first parole hearing.
- So, okay. So apparently, there was a restraining order
against the Ghostbusters, given what happened
in the first Ghostbusters movie.
That sort of makes sense.
But the funny thing that the DA said here,
which probably most people are not going to catch is that,
they are being indicted for criminal mischief.
- [Devin] In New York, tampering with someone's
public utilities is a violation
of the criminal mischief statute under Section 145.15.
It's criminal mischief in the second degree.
It is so funny that they actually got the exact crime
for what they did here.
Someone really did their research on this.
- Your Honor, ladies and gentlemen of the audience.
- Jury? And there shouldn't be a jury.
- I don't think it's fair to call my clients frauds.
Okay, so the blackout was a big problem for everybody, okay?
- Okay. It's crazy that this is the criminal trial.
You see this a lot in dramas and comedies
where they just skip all the procedural stuff.
But it really seems like they skipped a whole bunch of stuff
and went straight to the trial.
Notwithstanding, Louis should probably
be talking to the jury, if there is a jury present
at this time, and not to the judge.
You guys know that.
It's clear he's playing the fool here.
He's an accountant! And sometimes, he's the key master.
- Vinz Clortho, key master of Gozer.
- But he is absolutely not a very good criminal attorney.
- I was stuck in an elevator for two hours
and I had to make the whole time.
But I don't blame them!
'Cause one time I turned into a dog and they helped me.
- (chuckles) Short but pointless.
- Very good, Louis. Short but pointless.
- (laughs) I know this is a terrible movie,
but my friends and I will quote this movie all the time.
It's such an iconic version of a criminal trial.
Among lawyers, I think this is right up there
with the Chewbacca Defense.
- [Prosecutor] Mr. Fianella,
please look at Exhibits A through F on the table over here.
Do you recognize this equipment?
- [Mr. Fianella] Yeah.
That's the stuff the cops took from their truck.
- Do you know what this equipment is used for?
- I don't know.
Catching ghosts, maybe? I dunno.
- May I remind the court that the defendants
are under a judicial restraining order
that strictly forbids them from performing services
as paranormal investigators or eliminators.
- Okay, so a couple of things are going on here
which is interesting.
Number one, I suppose that she could ask
the question of the witness
whether he knows what these tools are for
and he can say that he doesn't know,
or that, I suppose his best guess is that
they are for hunting ghosts.
But because he's not a Ghostbuster,
assuming that Ghostbusting is a real thing,
he doesn't have the expert opinion necessary
to opine about those things.
He can absolutely testify that those were the things
that were found at the scene of the crime,
but he probably is incapable of offering an opinion
as to what they are.
Now, what this district attorney has done
is that she has taken this opportunity to
lodge with the court, a copy of the restraining order
that is against the Ghostbusters.
Arguably, it's sort of improper because
she's not asking a question to the witness.
There are times to do this sort of laying the foundation
but this is an issue of law, not an issue of fact.
So it's a little improper for her
to take the time now because it's not the right time.
- Now, Mr. Fianella,
can you identify the substance in this jar
marked Exhibit F?
- Yeah. Yeah, that's the stuff, all right.
Your Honor, I've been working underground
for Con Ed for 27 years.
I never saw anything like this in my life.
- [Mr. Fianella] Whatever's down there,
they must have put it there.
- No, we didn't! - Objection.
(gavel bangs) - Shut up!
- So, if Louis totally was a good lawyer,
he absolutely would have objected at that point
because well, again, this Con Ed worker,
could opine that during his 30 years working underground,
he's never seen anything like this.
It would be pure speculation and that would be
the correct objection to make, speculation.
It would be speculation for him to say that
it was the Ghostbusters that put it there.
Just because he hasn't seen it doesn't mean that he's seen
- [Devin] A hundred percent of all the things
that are available beneath the streets of Manhattan.
So if I was the attorney, I would've objected.
I would've moved to strike that testimony
that had just been elicited, and I would've asked the judge
to give an instruction to the jury that they are to
disregard that particular testimony
because it's totally improper.
- So you were just trying to help out a friend
- Who was frightened
- who was scared of what was happening to her,
- when you're scared - Oh, I love this.
- there was no evil intended, no malice,
because you live here and when you live in a place
and you love it like you do
you don't want nothing bad to happen.
What? (Peter mumbles)
Because it'll never happen again,
it's an isolated incident,
it's a one shot deal.
- Objection, your honor!
- What? - He's leading the witness.
- I'm sure that avid watchers of this channel
will know what's going here.
Again, this is played up because it's totally improper.
It's not that the lawyer is leading the witness.
It's that the witness is leading the lawyer
which is totally unnecessary.
A leading question, contrary to popular belief,
is just one that implies the correct answer.
You're gonna ask
a yes or no question and it's still not considered leading
because you don't whether it's a yes or no answer.
That being said, if you say and imply that the answer
is yes, that can be leading.
So, the way to get around that is very, very simple.
You just simply ask, what happened?
What happened next? What did you see? How did you feel?
These are open-ended questions that would allow Louis
to allow Peter Venkman to just give his side of the story.
That's really what direct examination is.
There's no reason for Louis to be making a speech here.
He's not supposed to be making any kind of statements,
it's supposed to be the witness.
And all he has to do is ask Venkman what happened next
and why did you do this.
I think the writers of the show know what they're doing
because it's so clearly ridiculous.
- [Prosecutor] I'll ask you again, Dr. Venkman,
why were you digging the hole?
And please remember you're under oath.
- There are some things in this world
that go way beyond human understanding.
Things that cannot be explained.
Things that most people don't wanna know about!
That is where we come in.
- [Prosecutor] So what you're saying is that
the world of the supernatural is your exclusive province?
- And it's totally improper for the district attorney
to walk to the jury and then
walk directly to the opposing witness,
especially who is a party.
That bailiff, who is standing right next to Peter Venkman,
should really intervene, and get the district attorney
away from the witness.
Both for the witness' safety, so that the district attorney
doesn't attack him,
but also for the district attorney's safety,
so that the witness doesn't attack her.
These things can happen and there's no reason
for this district attorney to be that close.
It's totally improper and, you know, things go bad,
the bailiff will tackle one or both of them.
- Kitten, I think that what I'm saying is that
sometimes, (bleep) happens,
someone has to deal with it,
and who ya gonna call?
- Okay, wait a minute. (laughs)
There's no jury!
- [Devin] You can see on the far right hand corner that
there's no jury in the jury box.
Who are they
conducting this criminal trial for?
- Peter Venkman, Raymond Stantz,
- [Judge] Egon Spengler, stand up!
You too, Mr. Tully.
Find you guilty on all charges!
- (Devin scoffs) I think that the judge here
has said some things that show some particular bias.
In California, at least,
when you get a judge that you don't particularly like,
you are allowed one peremptory challenge.
- [Devin] It's called the 170.6, named after the statute.
If you know ahead of time that the judge is The Hammer
and he doesn't believe in ghosts,
odds are you should probably bounce that judge
and try to get another one.
Though you're sort of rolling the dice
that maybe the judge that you get next is even worse.
- [Judge] I order you to pay fines
in the amount of $25,000 each!
I sentence you to eighteen months
in the city correctional facility at Rikers Island!
- Wow, a year and a half in jail
for digging a hole in the road.
Well, I guess they really did kinda screw up
in terms of destroying the public utilities
and causing a massive blackout throughout the entire
island of Manhattan.
Though interestingly, different varieties
of criminal mischief or criminal tampering
do carry with it different penalties
ranging from misdemeanor all the way up to
a class B felony.
- Your honor?
- Shut up!
- [Judge] Tricksters like you in decent society...
- Your honor, this is important.
- [Judge] You prey upon the gullibility of innocent people!
- Yes sir.
- Be quiet. - But...
- [Judge] If my hands were not tied
by the unalterable fetters of the law,
then I would indulge in the tradition
of our illustrious forbears,
reach back to a purer, sterner justice,
and have you burned
- (Devin mimicking the Judge) at the stake!
(Court attendees screaming)
- So, well, it is pretty unusual for ghosts
to be released as a result of the sentencing.
From time to time, judges do like to hear themselves talk.
So right up until the ghosts were released from the slime,
that could be something that a judge would say
at the time of the sentencing.
- The Scoleri Brothers!
- Friends of yours?
- I tried them for murder. Gave them the chair.
- You gotta do something!
- Why don't you just tell them you don't believe in ghosts?
- So while the Scoleri brother ghosts
are destroying this courtroom,
I guess now is a perfectly good time to point out
that this is a fairly realistic courtroom for New York.
I have practiced in the Supreme Court of New York
and this would be a particularly ornate courtroom
in the Supreme Court.
It's not totally dissimilar.
There would be, probably more paper,
there would be a lot more carpet,
this may be the ceremonial courtroom 1.
But that being said, this courtroom
that the ghosts are destroying -
And exactly the kind of heavy, old wooden desks
you'd see for a counsel table
as they go flying across the room.
- You gotta do something! Help me!
- Don't talk to me, talk to my attorney.
- And that's me!
My guys are still under a judicial mistrangement order!
That blue thing I got from her!
- Oh god, I love that so much.
(mimicking Louis) The judicial mistrangement order!
That blue thing I got from her!
It used to be the case that you would get
motions and filings, it would be called bluebacked.
- [Devin] I think that doesn't really happen as much now
especially now that we've gone to electronic files
for most of these things.
But that being said, back in the day,
you would absolutely have certain pleadings and filings
that were bluebacked using blue paper.
- [Devin] And if you saw earlier in this court scene,
the judicial restraining order
was actually covered in a blue back
which was probably accurate for the time.
- [Peter] You know it's been a couple of years
since we used this stuff.
Hope it still works.
- [Egon] It should.
Power cells have a half-life of 5000 years.
- There's no time for a bench test!
Heat 'em up.
- (sing-song) Doe, Ray, Egon!
- (sing-song) Doe...
- (sing-song) Ray...
- (sing-song) Egon...
- I hate this shot right here.
Ugh, where Egon looks... it's so weird.
It's weird the way he looks.
- All right.
Now it is time to give Ghostbusters 2
a grade for legal realism.
- [Devin] So...
God, I love this movie so much.
I know the movie is not nearly as good
as the original Ghostbusters.
I will try and be objective.
But man, that's just a great scene.
It's just great.
- [Devin] So on the one hand, you have the Ghostbusters
dealing with the actual criminal code
that they probably would've been charged with
had this been a real-life event.
They were a hundred percent guilty of criminal mischief
or criminal tampering.
So the writers got that absolutely right.
- [Devin] And the events took place
at the correct courthouse, the Supreme Court of New York
in a court room that looks pretty reasonable
for what you'll see at the Supreme Court.
And it's possible
that the sentence that they were about to receive
before the Scoleri Brothers were released was accurate.
That being said, the timeline is completely wrong.
They skipped over all of the initial hearings and pleadings.
They were never arraigned,
they never were released on bail,
- [Devin] the arguments that were going back and forth
were totally wrong.
All of the courtroom proceedings were
totally incorrect, including a lot of the bias
that was shown at the sentencing.
So I'm going to give the courtroom scene
- [Devin] and the release of the Scoleri Brothers
in Ghostbusters 2 a flat C
that I'm going to raise to a C+
just because it is so darn quotable
and so friggin' awesome.
Now, if there's something in the neighborhood,
you're obviously going to call the Ghostbusters.
But if you're going to make that call,
you might as well save a few hundred dollars
at the same time.
- [Devin] Ting Mobile is a different kind
of mobile provider.
With Ting, you only pay for the actual data and services
that you use at the end of the month.
And because you're only paying for what you actually use,
Ting customers pay on average just $23 per month
for one device.
There is no contract overage fees or other carrier tricks.
You just pay a fair price for the talk, text,
and data that you use up every month.
And Ting has award-winning customer service.
- [Devin] Because they don't have any
brick-and mortar stores,
they pour their resources into their phone support.
If you have an issue, give them a call
and you'll immediately
talk to a real human being, not a phone tree.
And they also offer support through chat, email,
social media, and Discord,
which my fellow kids say is totes yeet yo!
With Ting, you can use almost any cellphone
- [Devin] Including the newest iPhones
and Google Pixel phones
and you can use the same phone number
you're using right now.
And Ting provides great LTE coverage
because it uses both the T-mobile and Sprint networks.
So even if the FTC blocks their merger,
you can still get the benefit of both.
So sure, there are some people who should pay $200 per month
for unlimited data.
But if you're surrounded by WiFi all day long,
you might be paying hundreds of dollars per month
Ting gives you the option to pay for only what you use.
And if you go to LegalEagle.Ting.com,
you can use your latest bill to compare
just how much you would save.
And Legal Eagles would get a $25 credit
by going to LegalEagle.Ting.com.
That could cover the entire first month of use.
And since there are no contract,
you can try it out for a month, no strings attached.
Again, all you have to do is click on the link
in the description or go to LegalEagle.Ting.com
and you'll get a $25 credit for whatever service you want.
Plus, clicking on the link really helps out this channel.
So, do you agree with my grade for Ghostbusters 2?
Leave your objections in the comments
and check out my other real law reactions over here,
including my reaction to South Park
and Spongebob Squarepants.
So click on the playlist and I'll see you in court.