Why does a law/similiar ruling basically not exist unless the lawyer brings it up?

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In situations where a lawyer brings up an existing, obscure law or an outcome of a similiar case and that suddenly gets the defendant off the hook. Do judges not know as much as lawyers about the law?

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Such an extreme is rare, but yes, that’s exactly the case. The judge relies on the counsel for the two opposite sides to present the best arguments for their side. It is not the judge’s responsibility to dig up little-known rulings; it is counsel’s responsibility.

1. What you’re describing typically doesn’t happen in real life but happens a lot in fictional media. Additionally, in a jury trial a judge wouldn’t be the one “letting them off the hook” – the jury is.

2. The job of a judge isn’t to make arguments for or against the defendant. This would be bad, and systems of “justice” wherein a government official determines guilt or innocence entirely on their own tend to be not so good for anybody but the government.

3. Law is a HUGE MASSIVE SUBJECT. There’s a reason why lawyers get paid so much – not only for the experience, but for the time that goes into researching cases and forming arguments. Just like you don’t know literally everything there is to know about your favorite subjects and might occasionally need to look something up, or might ook something up and realize something you thought you remembered was incorrect, this happens to lawyers too.

Laws are amended based on cases that use them and then referenced. It is the lawyers job to select how they are going to reference these prior case amendments.

These references become relevant to the case because they have been chosen. This is to prevent conflicting laws that exist and to provide context to the case.