List of Transgressions

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A character is subjected to a Long List of his sins and transgressions, often impossibly long. Alternatively, a character is placed in purgatory or otherwise judged for his crimes, with a convenient long list of crimes at hand, possibly because the Powers That Be have Surveillance as the Plot Demands.

Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking is typically invoked, making this a sister trope. And sometimes the Long List is actually a Short List, because Rule of Funny.

Examples of List of Transgressions include:

Anime and Manga

  • In one Black Jack story, Black Jack's school friend, Makube, is a criminal. He gets detained by the ICPO.

Inspector: So you won't confess your crimes of murder, smuggling, drug-dealing, gambling fraud, forgery, battery, bribery, human trafficking, pimping, and public urination?
Makube: I'll cop to public urination.


Judge Thorkwung: Ernest Errol Quinch and Waldo Dobbs, also known as "D.R." or "Diminished Responsibility", you are charged with arson, kidnapping, theft, grievous wounding, possession of unlawful atomic weapons, taking and driving away, conspiracy to overthrow the government, coveting thy neighbour's ox, graverobbing, torture, criminal libel, blackmail, polluting the environment, shoplifting, 714 separate driving offenses, forging sacred relics, transmuting base metal into gold, genocide, spitting, and thirty-two offenses so unusual and horrible they do not have names.

  • In Strangers in Paradise, when Katchoo is arrested for her revenge on Freddie, her list of crimes reads as follows (creator Terry Moore got the specifics from a lawyer who'd read the previous issue):

Officer Bob: Kidnapping! Re: restraining liberty for the purpose of terrorizing! Two counts of felonious assault! One count of illegal entry! $4400 in property damage and one count of aggravated menacing with a dangerous kitchen utensil with intent to...
Freddie: ...Castrate me! The crazy bitch tried to castrate me!
Katchoo: Imagine my surprise when I found I didn't have to!

  • Lobo's list of crimes.

Wanted for crimes against the Galaxy including: Genocide ... Fratricide ... Patricide ... Matricide ... Impersonating a member of the Intergalactic Church of Truth ... Impersonating a member of the Green Lantern Corps ... Carrying a concealed thermo-nuclear device ... Breaking into the Justice League Satellite ... Fishing without a license ... Jaywalking ... Grand theft plasma rocket ... Disturbance of the peace across three space sectors ... 1,978,643,896 unpaid parking permits ... Illegal bounty hunting ... Wanton destruction of government property ... Demolishing a city without a permit ... Reckless endangerment toward animals ... Hijacking ... Selling/distributing radioactive material to cute fluffy bunny rabbits ... Noise infractions level 5.0 ... Illegally poaching Starros ... Bounty Huntering in a restricted zone ... Stepping on the grass ... Defecating in a public garden ... Loitering ... Advocating the overthrow of the heads of state ... Not honoring the bounty hunter code

  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #23, a space criminal named Bellybomb is sentenced to a toxic prison planet for seventeen life sentences for extortion, armed robbery, hijacking, kidnapping, torture, murder, man-eating, brain poaching, soul thievery...and impersonating a primitive deity named Bob. After the jailers read off these crimes, Bellybomb points out that they didn't mention his unpaid parking tickets.
  • In IDW's Megatron: Origins miniseries, Starscream is brought before the Senate to give testimony about the Decepticon "fight club"...

Senator: Prisoner Starscream, I am required to list your charges as follows...assault, murder, armed robbery, destruction of state property, inciting civil disobedience, extortion, receiving and selling stolen goods, passing counterfeit funds, firing up on a state senator, multiple counts of attacks on state officers and state property, supplying known criminals with illegal weaponry, vehicle theft, and misrepresenting yourself as a state official.
Starscream: Heh. Nobody's perfect.

By the authority of the League of Nations, Baron Heinrich von Helsingard is hereby placed under arrest as an enemy of all mankind for the crimes of kidnapping, human experimentation upon unwilling subjects, and... [flips through the list] Wow. Jeez, that's a lot of atrocities. Where did Helsingard find the time to sleep? [more flipping] I don't even know what this one means.


Narrator: The next thing he knew, a creature from between dimensions was standing at his bed, looking down at him disapprovingly.
Freck: You gonna read me my sins? Eh, it's gonna take a hundred thousand hours.
Creature: Your sins will be read to you ceaselessly, in shifts... throughout eternity. The list will never end.
Creature: (begins reading) "The Sins of Freck."
Narrator: Charles Freck wished he could take back the last half hour of his life.
Creature: "... theft of fingernail clippers..." "... you did knowingly and with malice..." "... punched your baby sister, Evelyn..." "... December, theft of Christmas presents..." " billion lies..."
Narrator: One thousand years later, they had reached the sixth grade, the year he had discovered masturbation.
Creature: "... November 14, Percodan... Vicodin... Cocaine..."

  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: At each of Tuco's "executions" an official reads off the list of crimes for which he has been convicted. They go on for quite a while.
    • Considering Tuco's rap sheet is several pages long, and goes from murder through rape all the way down to robbery and transporting a minor across state lines for immoral purposes, is quite large. Considering how many of the offenses on the list ... even the relatively lower-grade ones ... were capital crimes, how they do this more than once is an exercise best left to Sergio Leone and the viewer...
    • The first time we see them pulling this scam, the judge is reading a list of offenses including murder, arson in a state prison, theft of sacred objects, inciting prostitution, armed robbery . . . but he sounds really indignant as he winds up with "... and, contrary to the laws of this state, the accused has been found guilty of using MARKED CARDS IN A POKER GAME!"
  • In Brazil, arrested Sam Lowry is presented with a long and painstakingly accurate list of his transgressions, from high treason to overexpenditure of stationery. Since this is harsh dystopia, the scene is anything but funny.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl does this before Jack Sparrow is to be executed.

"impersonating an officer of the Crown... impersonating a Cleric of the Church of England..." (Jack smiles after the last one)

    • Note that the man reading them stated at the beginning that only "the most egregious" of his crimes were to be stated. The list still goes on for a very long time.
  • Year One has Cain reading a list of charges against Zed (Jack Black) and Oh (Michael Cera) when they are about to be stoned in Sodom. Played for Laughs when one of the charges is "Sodomy", much to the crowd's confusion, until it is revealed that the actual charge is "Refusal of Sodomy".
  • Heavy Metal. The charges against Captain Sternn:

Prosecutor: Lincoln Stern, you stand here accused of 12 counts of murder in the first degree, 14 counts of armed theft of Federation property, 22 counts of piracy in high space, 18 counts of fraud, 37 counts of rape...and one moving violation. How do you plead?

    • Coincidentally enough, the viewer soon learns that Sternn also ran a "preschoolers prostitute ring" and "sold dope disguised as a nun".
  • Near the end of W.C. Fields' The Golf Specialist, we briefly see J. Effingham Bellweather's wanted poster which includes such things as manslaughter and homicide. The next shot is a ten-second pan down a list of his other offenses:

Passing as the Prince of Wales,
Eating spaghetti in public,
Using hard words in a speakeasy,
Trumping partner's ace,
Spitting in the Gulf Stream,
Jumping board bill in seventeen lunatic asylums,
Failure to pay installments on a strait-jacket,
Possessing a skunk,
Revealing the facts of life to an Indian.

  • Subverted in The Pope Must Die when the dying Cardinal Rocco asks for absolution for his sins. When asked what they are he replies that since he doesn't have a lot of time, if you can think of it, he's done it.


He's making a list. He's checking it twice. He's gonna find out who's naughty or nice.


  • Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Book 5, Chapter 13 - an example of this trope being Older Than Print. Two beautiful youths gave the king was given a small white book containing a list of good deeds performed. Then, evil spirits came and gave a large black book containing a list of transgressions. The evil spirits told the youths why they were here, since he was clearly ours.
  • The Neil Gaiman short story "Other People" from Fragile Things is centered on the premise of hell being basically this, only instead of simply being read the list, every single sin is brought forth and purged from the individual via Cold-Blooded Torture.
  • Dante's Inferno keeps track of transgressions, with Hell being divided into subsections for specific crimes.
  • Two from Discworld:
    • In Jingo. Carrot suggests war is, by definition, a breach of the peace, and Vimes starts adding up the other crimes you can charge an entire army with:

Vimes: Conspiracy to cause an affray, going equipped to commit a crime, threatening behaviour, loitering with intent, loitering within tent, hah, travelling for the purpose of committing a crime, malicious lingering and carrying concealed weapons.
Carrot: I don't think that one --
Vimes: I can't see 'em.

      • And one count of offensive behaviour to the general on his own side.
    • The Elf Queen's lawyers do this to the Nac Mac Feegle in The Wee Free Men:

Lawyer: — including more than two thousand cases of Making an Affray, Causing a Public Nuisance, Being Found Drunk, Being Found Very Drunk, Using Offensive Language (taking into account 97 instances of Using Language That Was Probably Offensive If Anyone Could Understand It), Committing a Breach of the Peace, Malicious Lingering, Grand Theft, Petty Theft, Burglary, Housebreaking, Loitering With Intent to Commit a Felony —

  • The Bible mentions in its last book Revelation that there will be a great judgment of the entire human race conducted by God Himself. It states simply that those who have accepted Jesus will enter God's kingdom as their transgressions have been pardoned by Jesus on their behalf, and those who have not accepted Jesus will not receive this pardon and all of their long list of sins will be held against them.

Live Action TV

  • Happens in Arrested Development in a preliminary to the court case. It makes George Sr. aware, for the first time, just how deep in trouble he is.
  • The health inspector reading the list of violations at Fawlty Towers. About halfway through Basil says "Yes... say no more..." but the inspector just ploughs right on until he reaches "... and two dead pigeons in the water tank."
  • From CSI New York:

Mac: You're under arrest for the murder of Derek James [and] Lauren Salinas, kidnapping and attempted murder of a crime scene investigator, armed robbery, grand theft auto, assault and battery. But most of all, for pissing me off.

Briscoe: I'm trying to decide what to arrest you for - obstruction of justice, harboring a fugitive or just being a general pain in the ass!

  • One Saturday Night Live sketch centered on a lawyer representing one of the old cranks that the Scooby Doo gang caught who was accusing the kids of having a criminal record (Lowe played Scooby Doo, who advocated the "Reath Renalty" for numerous criminals). By the lawyer's account, prior convictions against the kids included 4 counts of meddling, 12 counts of meddling in the second degree, two counts of vehicular meddling, meddling across state lines, and sodomy. Though the last one, it turns out, was just misread and was actually just "meddling."
  • In The Brittas Empire, Gordon Brittas has quite a long list when he turns up in heaven including 115 separate acts of manslaughter, cause of 4 suicides, and 23 people driven clinically insane. They'd been counting up a while before he arrived too, don't worry, even Heaven recognises the Death Equals Redemption trope.
  • This happens in Stargate SG 1 when Vala is put on trial by the people of a world Qetesh ruled harshly while using Vala as a host. After she is charged with mass murder and mass torture (the first two of seven charges), Vala and Daniel interject that Qetesh did those things, not Vala. Played for laughs and drama when the modified list of charges which only includes crimes Vala perpetrated after she was released from Qetesh starts with "planetary-wide forced labor".
  • This is how every episode of The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret begins, with a British judge reading legal charges against the titular character, leading into a How We Got Here plot.


  • In the first episode of Old Harrys Game, Thomas demands to know why he's been put in Hell. At first, Satan can't find the list and thinks he's made a mistake, but he soon finds Thomas's list - and it's pages long.

Tabletop Games

  • The Dwarves of Warhammer Fantasy Battle have a Book of Grudges.
  • A priest/lawyer addressing the famous Rogue-Mage Raz in a trial:

Inquisitor: You...are the worst of all... Your crimes are the stuff of nightmares to all decent folk and just ways! YOU ARE AN ABOMINATION UPON LIFE AND DECENCY!!! VANDALISM, BANDITRY, SPYING, PIRACY, ABDUCTION, ILLEGAL USE OF MAGICAL ENERGIES, LOITERING, RESISTING ARREST, and worst of all.... tax evasion. WHAT HAVE YOU TO SAY FOR YOUR HERESY?

  • This is what Lord Soth had to put up with during his time as The Undead on Krynn: a List of Transgressions provided by ghosts. When he went to Ravenloft, his punishment was to listen to them repeated improperly, which is apparently worse.

Video Games

  • In the video game The Feeble Files (aka Floyd), the game menu will track your progress by providing a list of crimes commited so far. Since the game setting is a dystopian parody, the list grows long quite quickly.
  • Guybrush in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge has one of these in a Wanted Poster, which keeps growing in size as the game progresses.


Obi-Wan: Let's see... You stole the plans for a symbol of peace. You're allied with (a) a known megalomaniacal warlord and (b) a criminal sociopath. You have not one, but two, armies at your disposal. You've captured me — unfairly — and are holding me with no means of escape. And you're Monologuing.

  • In Little Dee, Vachel engages in a hip-hop battle with one of his former Furtovian Library colleagues who, in his rap, lists Vachel's on-the-job misdeeds:

You read the books / With sticky feathers, / Left books out / In stormy weathers! / Ordered books of lower caliber, / You truly are a sallow shallow bird! / We found your underlines in Milton, / We found you loaned / The books to children!

"...And so, thou art called before this court on charges of high treason, murder, assault, theft, tax evasion, destruction of public property, destruction of private property, fraud, persiflage, littering, graphic blandishment, jaywalking, kaywalking, spitting..."

Web Original

  • The Protectors of the Plot Continuum are required to read the list of charges to the various Mary Sues they terminate.
    • PPCers often start out the chargelist with things like grammar and spelling errors, move on to bigger charges like "disrupting the fabric of reality", and end with things like "having a stupid name", "pissing off PPC agents", etc.
  • In Open Blue, the Axifloan Coalition lists various crimes that various Pirate Lords and ladies are wanted for. While some have pretty serious lists throughout, others... not so much. Pirate Lady Lucille Prideux's (from v4) list ends with "Theft in general" while Captain Van Wijk's ends with "Blasphemy" (which is pretty light compared to his other crimes). The real cake takers, however, are Captain Garth (v4), with "Unlicensed operation of a menagerie", and Captain Ingrid (v4), with "Insulting Admiral Flota Vladimir Ilyavich Tokarev, HERO OF THE TRIBES".
  • Rex's rapsheet starts out strong. Murder. Torture. Arson. Domestic violence. Brutal assalt. Treason. Smuggling. Piracy. Kidnapping. Espionage. Drunken espionage. Aggravated Mischief. Cattle forgery. Forgerous brutality. Brutal Drunkenness. Moving violations, kittennapping, littering, chain pulling... you get the idea; The number of silly crimes outstrips the serious ones, and "Drunken {something}" recurs often.
  • Before killing his victim, the Confessor from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe recites a list of his victim's sins. He plucks this information from their own minds telepathically.
  • Used for Comedy in Manwhores when Randy is listing reasons for why Greg has ruined their lives, in that none of the crimes are actually Greg's fault—or crimes.

Western Animation

  • In an episode of the New Woody Woodpecker Show, Woody finds out his nemesis Buzz Buzzard's long list of offenses to the law, which includes "unlawful toenail clipping". But there's more: Upon seeing this, Woody immediately calls the police on the phone and starts listing Buzz's offenses, to which the cop pays no mind whatsoever. Only when he mentions: "But Officer, he parked in a no-parking zone!" do the cops decide to flock in on Buzz and arrest him (he was trying to escape in Woody's stalled car).
  • The election episode of Jimmy Neutron doubly subverts it. Ms. Fowl lists off the candidates' transgressions as "Bribery, blackmail, and murder", then corrects herself that the last wasn't actually murder, but operating a zeppelin on school property without a permit.
  • Many Western-themed Looney Tunes shorts had wanted posters with the outlaw's offenses listed as "bank robbery, cattle rustling, and square-dance calling." Adding to that, another poster listed the Third Crime as square dancing in a roundhouse.
    • Bugs Bunny's list (as read by Elmer in the short "Fresh Hare"): Resisting an officer, assault and battery, trespassing, disturbing the peace, miscellaneous misdemeanors, public nuisance, traffic violations, going through a boulevard stop, jaywalking, triple parking, conduct unbecoming to a rabbit, [and] violating traffic regulations"
  • Bounty Hamster. "You stand accused of breaking the Prime Directive, 16,000 speed limits, and a really nice vase!"
    • On another occasion a bounty hunter arrests a criminal wanted for "12 robberies, 300 counts of dangerous flying, and dropping an ice cream truck into an active volcano".
  • The Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Bus the Two of Us" is about Bloo taking Mac for a joyride without Frankie's knowledge. Unfortunately, Frankie sees the multiple police cars that followed them home. Over the end credits, she delivers her fury unto him with the following list of all the crimes he comitted in the day:

"Driving without a license, lying on a job application, destruction of private property, destruction of public property, illegal use of toilet plungers, and calling me a heifer! I mean, HONESTLY, Bloo, what do you have to say for yourself?!!

  • Beavis and Butthead had "The Final Judgment of Beavis", in which St. Peter reads Beavis a list of his sins.

St. Peter: When you were 4, you mutilated an action figure in a most disturbing manner.
Beavis: Oh yeah, heh heh, that was cool.
St. Peter: No... that sucked. Then, when you were 5, you and your friend Butt-Head passed out chocolate laxatives in your kindergarten class.
Beavis: Yeah, that was really cool.
St. Peter: No, Beavis, that also sucked.
Beavis: What do you know, asswipe?
St. Peter: I know everything... buttmunch.

  • In the Pac-Man cartoon "Nighty Nightmares", Clyde dreams that he is on trial. Pac-Man, as the judge, reads the charges: "Chomping without a license. Chomping with a license. Chomping, chomping, chomping!"
  • In The Simpsons, Marge and Homer attend a marriage retreat in the mountains, and Marge recounts all of Homer's faults, everything from not listening to chewing with his mouth open to blowing his nose into a towel.

Homer:: "I only did that the one time!"

    • Another episode featured Bart going to juvenile court, and the judge (an Expy of Judge Judy) reads off a list of all of Bart's transgressions, including grand theft auto. Bart even has a file cabinet just for him!

Real Life

  • When King Charles I was executed, the list of crimes was boringly detailed: "he, ... hath traitorously and maliciously levied war against the present Parliament, and the people therein represented, particularly upon or about the 30th day of June..."
    • At his trial, Charles I was found guilty of treason, murder, rapine, burning, spoils, desolation, damage... and mischief. This last one is not really an example of Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking since the common law definition of 'mischief' involves destruction of property. Such definitions lead to the theoretical common law crime of "Malicious mischief and mayhem".
  • King Louis XVI was executed on 33 charges, the last of which was "You caused the blood of Frenchmen to flow".
  • The Declaration of Independence is mostly devoted to enumerating the Crimes of King George III. (The full list is here.) There's a reason people only remember the first paragraph, which ends: "The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world:..."

5. "He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people."
24. "He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people."
27. "He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages..."

  • There's a Christian inspirational story about a man who dreams he's in a room where every wall is a filing cabinet and every cabinet is full of index cards recording each of his sins.
  • The Cluny abbey foundation charter of 910 threatens anyone who messes with the place with having their name taken out of the Book of Life, getting limbs chewed off by vermin, experiencing the torments of hell while still alive (as a torture-buddy of Judas), etc. Also they've got to pay a hundred pounds of gold.
  • Some religions (Islam being one) believe that two angels/spirits/what-have-you record all a person's good and bad deeds throughout their lives. When someone dies, the lists get read off to whatever deity does the judging.
  • Emile Zola's historic denunciation J'accuse charges pretty much everyone from the President on down with the antisemitic Dreyfus affair.

But this letter is long, Mr. President, and it is time to conclude.
I accuse Major Du Paty de Clam as the diabolic workman of the miscarriage of justice, without knowing, I have wanted to believe it, and of then defending his harmful work, for three years, by the guiltiest and most absurd of machinations.
I accuse the three handwriting experts, sirs Belhomme, Varinard and Couard, of submitting untrue and fraudulent reports, unless a medical examination declares them to be affected by a disease of sight and judgment.
I accuse the offices of the war of carrying out an abominable press campaign, particularly in the Flash and the Echo of Paris, to mislead the public and cover their fault.
Finally, I accuse the first council of war of violating the law by condemning a defendant with unrevealed evidence, and I accuse the second council of war of covering up this illegality, by order, by committing in his turn the legal crime of knowingly discharging the culprit.
I have only one passion, that of the light, in the name of humanity which has suffered so and is entitled to happiness. My ignited protest is nothing more than the cry of my heart. That one thus dares to translate for me into court bases and that the investigation takes place at the great day!
I am waiting.