Idiot Defense

The idiot defense is a satirical term for a legal strategy where a defendant claims innocence by virtue of having been ignorant of facts of which the defendant would normally be expected to be aware. Other terms used for this tactic include "dumb CEO defense," "dummy defense," "ostrich defense," and "Sergeant Schultz defense."

The term was popularized as a result of a number of high-profile corporate accounting scandal defendants claiming that all wrongdoing was performed by others, without the defendant's knowledge or consent. Attorneys for these defendants claimed that their skill was in valuation and deal-making, and that they lacked the training to recognize fraudulent accounting practices they claimed that they would have needed. However, in many cases the defendants' subordinates testified that the defendants ordered them to falsify the accounts.

No major instances of the idiot defense being successful in criminal proceedings have been reported in American jurism to date. Instead, all such uses are widely believed to have resulted in the defendants employing idiot defenses being found guilty on at least some if not all counts.

Read more about Idiot DefenseOther Uses

Other articles related to "idiot defense":

Idiot Defense - Other Uses
... Bush and Tony Blair have also used the reference to an "idiot defense" to describe the two leaders's basing claims of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction on reports from their ... use, and claim that he was unaware of any steroids at the time, have also been described as an idiot defense ...

Famous quotes containing the words defense and/or idiot:

    For he is the cleanest in the use of his forepaws of any quadruped.
    For the dexterity of his defense is an instance of the love of God
    to him exceedingly.
    Christopher Smart (1722–1771)

    Every generation rewrites the past. In easy times history is more or less of an ornamental art, but in times of danger we are driven to the written record by a pressing need to find answers to the riddles of today.... In times of change and danger when there is a quicksand of fear under men’s reasoning, a sense of continuity with generations gone before can stretch like a lifeline across the scary present and get us past that idiot delusion of the exceptional Now that blocks good thinking.
    John Dos Passos (1896–1970)