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Chewbacca Defense

The phrase Chewbacca Defense refers to any nonsensical legal defense. The phrase originated in the animated TV series South Park, in the second season episode Chef Aid.

The episode satirizes (real life) lawyer Johnnie Cochran, who defended O. J. Simpson during his murder trial. In the episode, he defends a record company against charges that it violated Chef's copyright on a song. Although it is obvious (to the viewer at least) that Chef is the real writer of the song, Cochran uses his famous Chewbacca Defense, which he (supposedly) used during the Simpson trial. It is quite long; some key quotes follow:

Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk, but Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now, think about that. That does not make sense! Why would a Wookiee - an eight foot tall Wookiee - want to live on Endor with a bunch of two foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense!

What does that have to do with this case? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case! It does not make sense!

None of this makes sense.

If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! The defense rests.

Cochran's use of this defense is successful, and Chef is imprisoned for copyright theft. It is however worth noting that in Star Wars, Chewbacca does not in fact live on Endor, although in early drafts of Return of the Jedi, Endor was the planet of the Wookies, not the Ewoks.

The Chewbacca Defense has been mentioned on many weblogs and internet discussion forumss, especially ones that often feature legal issues. Slashdot is one such example, where the Chewbacca Defense has been occasionally mentioned in discussion of legal affairs - usually cases involving Microsoft, SCO, or the RIAA - the implication being that their legal arguments make no sense. See [1], [1], [1].

See also