Compelling Explanations 

When motorist Timothy Pereira, 19, rammed Christine Speliotis' car head-on in Salem, Mass., in March, there was no doubt in police officers' minds what the cause was: Pereira was driving 85 mph in a 35 mph zone and had swerved into Speliotis' lane. However, in July, Brandon Pereira, 17, an injured passenger in his cousin's car, filed a lawsuit against Speliotis for negligence, claiming that if she had been quicker to get out of the way, the collision would not have occurred.

Failed Defenses: A woman in Kansas City, Mo., told police in June that the reason she had stabbed her sleepwalking 24-year-old boyfriend in the face was that she feared he would hurt her if she didn't wake him up. (She said the man had also just finished urinating in her closet.)

In Britain's Chelmsford Crown Court in July, Sultan Al-Sayed, 40, was convicted of peeping under the next stall in a department-store changing room despite his claim that the only reason he placed his face on the floor was to relieve pain from a toothache.

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