In the movie, the boys admitted their guilt and then recanted their confessions. Surely this was mainly due to the police officer who kept harassing them, prodding them with questions such as, "At what point did you shoot the clerk", for example. One must realize that, if arrested, one has the right to have representation with one when answering questions, and one need not answer any questions one doesn't want to, as it can and will be used against a person in a court of law.
At trial, there were several errors of procedure and general blunders which would probably not happen in a real courtroom situation. "Vinny's pre-trial research" was interesting.1 "Before the trial, Vinny interview[ed] key witnesses in person and trie[d] to envision how each one saw the crime."2 At the arraignment, Vinny tries to argue the case instead of simply entering the plea of "not guilty," a major mistake.3 Regarding opening statements, there is much to be said.
This is a factual error. However, there were other things wrong with the opening statements. For example, Vincent came to court dressed appropriately (in a suit), but it was a red bellhop suit from a second-hand store that looked ridiculous. He wore this because the suit he usually would wear was unavailable, and he couldn't wear his leather jacket to court. Although this might be a minor point, it is common for lawyers to dress professionally in a nice black or grey suit that has slacks and a jacket, with an appropriate knee-length or below skirt for women if it applies and they wish to wear one. Vincent's opening statement, for his part, was very poor.
Worse, when Vincent was challenged by the judge for his use of foul language in the courtroom, he said, "What" and the judge found him in contempt of court for speaking rudely. Vincent also did not address the court by the term "Your Honor," either, which was highly disrespectful. But that is just the tip of the iceberg here. Vincent used foul language regularly in the courtroom, getting him into all kinds of trouble with the judge, which is not appropriate in a courtroom setting. Additionally, regarding Mr. Gambini's status as a lawyer, he had never passed the bar although he had graduated law school. His lawyering experience was limited to doing some legal representation but had never had a court appearance before, so he was unschooled to the ways of courtroom procedure. Not only this, but Mr. Gambini was from New York representing these boys in Alabama.
"As an out-of-state attorney, Vinny would have had
to file documents