In My Cousin Vinny, Vinny calls the local sheriff, who has run a records check at Vinny's request. The sheriff testifies that two men resembling Billy and Stan were arrested a few days earlier in Georgia for driving a stolen Pontiac Tempest, a car very similar in appearance and color to Billy's Buick Skylark, and in possession of a gun of the same caliber used to kill the clerk. Trotter then respectfully moves to dismiss all the charges.

Two men resembling Billy and Stan were arrested a few days earlier, without knowing this the court running trail on two innocents Billy & Stan, why courtroom was innocent about the facts?

  • 4
    So you are expecting every judge to be aware of every arrest that has been made (even in different states) where the person somewhat looked like the current defendant in the court case you're presiding? I don't think you're understanding the amount of effort required for something that is meaningless in a vast majority (I'm thinking 99.999%) of cases.
    – Flater
    May 16, 2017 at 7:08
  • And yet you, yourself, asked a very similar question on the same website, only 2 hours later? How were you not aware of that? May 16, 2017 at 13:12
  • @JohnnyBones But they are different in lot of ways.
    – The Hawk
    May 17, 2017 at 8:12

2 Answers 2


US state / county courts are interested in the evidence being presented to them. There is no reason for them to be aware of crimes in other jurisdictions.

Although the local law enforcement will carry out their own investigations they will probably NOT be aware of crimes committed in other counties/states as these are not generally circulated or of interest to that particular jurisdiction.

In the case of My Cousin Vinny, the actual perpetrators were arrested in a completely different state (Georgia) whereas the court here is in Alabama.

The Georgia law enforcement investigated and presented their case to the local District Attorney who will then decide on how to prosecute the defendants and actually present the evidence to the court.

The Defence Attorney will present their case refuting such evidence and testimony put on by the DA and present their own evidence.


The movie presents the police and county prosecutors office as attempting to rail road Billy and Stan, because of prejudice against city slickers and/or general incompetence and/or believing that the case is open and shut. They looked like the guys, similar car, out of towners. They have no reason to care about the truth, they (cops/DA) just want another win in the books. They aren't malicious and trying to cover it up, but they couldn't give two hoots about Billy and Stan. If anything, they actually push the case harder because Billy and Stan hired Vinny, a typical new yorker tough guy, as their lawyer. Attitudes of small country courts against urban lawyers are fairly well known (they hate outsiders). The opposite is also true, and is plainly seen in the DA and Judge's replies to Vinny.

The reason the court isn't aware is because the court system, i.e. the judge, is not allowed to do independent research on the case. He must be impartial (or slightly partial to "court officers" like the DA and Police whom are assumed to have no personal interest in the case).

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