Courts are sober, dignified places where justice is served with solemn ceremony. Except when they’re not, and it isn’t. As the jaw-dropping footage on Court Cam reveals, things can sometimes get a little pear-shaped. Like when convicts go berserk, tip tables over, have actual fights with witnesses, or literally lunge face-first at the judge (we’re going to go out on a limb and assume that constitutes contempt of court).
Then there are the prisoners who decide it’s a really good idea to attempt an escape, right there while everyone’s looking. Let’s take a closer look at some of these world-class criminal geniuses.
1. Ceiling His Fate
When Leonid Greyser went on trial for a murder he claimed Satan had told him to commit, staff in the Moscow courthouse were clearly taking no chances. They put the 18-year-old in a strengthened glass box, where he prowled around with a smug smirk on his face, like some movie supervillain who’d deliberately allowed himself to be captured. But his air of sly menace was immediately extinguished when he tried to make a dash for it… through the ceiling.
Clambering up the walls of his makeshift cell, he shoved his way through one of the flimsy ceiling panels while a guard leapt up to start thwacking him with a baton. As the tussle continued, one of the guards ended up pulling Greyser’s trousers off, leading to a fantastically awkward stalemate as the bare-legged prisoner half-dangled out of the ceiling, presumably while quietly pondering the choices he’d made in his life. A few minutes later he was back in the cell, sitting sheepishly in his underpants.
2. Rushing to Judgment
When petty criminals Tanner Jacobson and Kodey Howard decided to leg it from a courtroom in Washington state, they probably thought they’d only have to dodge a few startled security guards. What they didn’t expect was that the judge himself would stand up, throw off his black robes like a pro-wrestler going into action, and sprint out from behind the bench to give chase.
This was the fantastically-named Judge RW Buzzard, who practically vaulted down a stairwell in pursuit of the men, tackling one of them to the ground. His accomplice was eventually apprehended as well, and both seemed frankly baffled by their own stupid, spontaneous attempt to escape. 'I thought, what am I doing?' one of the guys later told the media. 'What did I just do? I gotta go with it now, I can’t stop right here… I’m screwed!' In fact, they both were, having second-degree escape added to their list of charges.
3. Shut the Front Door
There’s clearly something in the water in Washington state, because another courthouse witnessed a similarly audacious/pointless escape – this time featuring a convicted meth user named Gerald Hyde II, and the world’s least attentive guard. Shortly after the day’s proceedings were concluded, a group of prisoners were herded into a room adjoining the courtroom, where they were supposed to wait before being put in the van back to prison. The guard, looking every bit as alert as a freshly tranquilised bear, shuffled his way to the other side of the room, leaving the door to the courtroom open behind him.
Still handcuffed, and wearing a facial expression that might be roughly translated as 'Me? Escape through this very door that yawns so invitingly before me? You are mistaken, sir', Gerald Hyde II strolled backwards through the door while the other prisoners pretended not to notice. He then ran through the empty courtroom, stripping off his prison-issue shirt and kicking off his prison sandals to scamper barefoot through the courthouse corridors. Not a single person challenged him as he left through the front door, despite him looking more like an escaped convict than any escaped convict has ever done in the history of escaped convicts. His cleverness didn’t outlast the escape though – Hyde II was nabbed a few hours later because he chose to hide out at the home of a known associate.
4. It’s Like Raiiiin on Your Wedding Day…
And the award for the most ironic escape of all has to go to Michigan woman Jessica Cato who tried to flee through the ceiling of a courthouse… while at a class on good decision making. Already on probation for larceny, she had been compelled to attend the class by court order, but while she was there the staff found out she had warrants out on her for some petty offences. Realising they were about to arrest her, the woman first barricaded herself in a bathroom, and then tore down a ceiling tile to gain access to the scaffolding above.
Dust rained down on onlookers below as the woman scuttled around and around the spot on the ceiling. Eventually, one of her legs burst through a tile, and guards had to use a stepladder to drag her out from her incredibly useless 'hiding' place. Here’s hoping the judge threw in a few more of those good decision making classes when Cato was finally sentenced.