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Top 5 Legal Lies From 'HTGAWM' S1 E7 ('He Deserved to Die')

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By Brett Snider, Esq. on November 07, 2014 10:36 AM

Annalise and the Keating Five are back in this week's "How To Get Away With Murder" to handle a familiar case: Who murdered that college girl they found in the water tank? Here's a tweetable recap:

#HTGAWM in 140 Characters: Defending Goth girl, gag order, battle of the experts, dead girl exhumed + preggers, Oliver has a new bf (sorry Connor), and #WhoKilledSam.

Behind the drama, there were five lies that stuck out like legal sore thumbs in "HTGAWM's" seventh episode, "He Deserved to Die":

1. Surprise Motions!

It makes for great TV, but there's rarely a time in criminal court where you get to announce your surprise motion in the middle of a hearing for another motion. Typically, in filing just about any pretrial motion, you need to give the opposing party notice and allow it to be scheduled on the court's calendar. But in TV land, it makes a bit more of a splash just to shout out things that are surprising -- like "MOTION TO EXHUME THE DEAD GIRL!"

2. Prosecutors Make House Calls.

Since "HTGAWM" is just chock-full of "Orange Is the New Black" alums, Alysia Reiner reappears in this episode as the conniving prosecutor. And while it isn't uncommon for defense attorneys and prosecutors to meet in court and even make deals, they rarely will come to a defense attorney's house/office -- much less drop off evidence about an expert witness in secret, which we suspect may have been required by Brady anyway.

3. Expert Witnesses Are Hired Mouthpieces.

Yes, there is an entire market for expert witnesses, and yes, you can hire one that is more agreeable to your client's case. However, don't think that the defense will end up footing the bill for these witnesses. More often than not, defendants are entitled to have the state pay for costs related to their defense, including expert witnesses.

4. Being 21 Gets You Around Gag Orders.

Gag orders are sometimes enforced in criminal trials to ensure any defendants receive a fair trial. Those who violate the order can be held in contempt, no matter what their ages. So the "Rebecca is 21 so she didn't know" defense isn't worth the breath Annalise used to say it.

5. Law Students Don't Start Studying 'Til the Night Before.

This may be because the Keating Five exist outside the usual law school bubble, but unless Wait-List Wes is some sort of legal savant, he wouldn't just be sitting down to study for exams... tomorrow.

Stay tuned for more legal untruths in next week's episode, in which it seems the story will be narrated by the dead pregnant girl.

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