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Phoenix Wright
These are dark times, where the law has been reduced to rubble. And it's up to us to restore it to its former glory.

Courtroom No. 4, bombed in December 2027. The ruins have been considered symbolic of the state of the legal system at the time.

The dark age of the law was a period between 2020 and 2027, when the legal system was overrun with corruption. Although several high-profile figures in the prosecutor's office, the police department, and the Prosecutorial Investigation Committee had been indicted for various crimes and abuses in the previous decade, the instigation of the dark age itself is attributed to two specific incidents: the first was in April 2019, when well-known defense attorney Phoenix Wright was caught presenting forged evidence (albeit unknowingly) during the Gramarye murder case, while the second was in October 2020, when rookie prosecutor Simon Blackquill was convicted of the murder of Metis Cykes in a case known as the UR-1 Incident in police files. In the wake of these two damning incidents, a vicious cycle emerged. People lost their trust in the legal system, which caused more lawyers to resort to any means necessary for their desired verdicts, which generated more distrust in the legal system. Although an implementation of the Jurist System was attempted in October 2026, it was not until the real culprit of the UR-1 Incident was arrested in December 2027 that the cycle was finally broken.

The two incidents[]

Main articles: Turnabout Succession & UR-1 Incident
Phoenix Wright
A dark time is coming for our legal system... A twisting of justice brought on by our very own court system. We have to set it right.

The forged page.

On April 19, 2019, Zak Gramarye stood trial for the murder of Magnifi Gramarye. During the trial, Phoenix Wright presented a page from Magnifi's diary, which turned out to be forged. Wright later stood before the Bar Association and was disbarred from practicing law. Despite losing his attorney's badge, Wright continued to investigate Magnifi's murder case. A year later, on October 7, 2020, the young Simon Blackquill was convicted of murdering Metis Cykes, and sentenced to death. This conviction brought the prosecutor's office into disrepute, especially as Blackquill was further accused of being an international spy who had sabotaged the Cosmos Space Center's HAT-1 rocket.


Phoenix Wright
Tell me... how does it feel? How does it feel to stand here before Phoenix Wright, the Forgin' Attorney himself?

A poster depicting the Phony Phanty and Bum Rap Rhiny mascots.

As a result of these two incidents, a general attitude soon became prevalent amongst the legal system of winning by whatever means necessary, which led to many cases where the prosecution or defense used fabricated evidence in order to secure victory for themselves. The truth no longer mattered, with defense attorneys and prosecutors fighting to win instead of trying to find the truth, with most cases resulting in false charges. This even spread to the legal education system, causing rifts within the renowned law school Themis Legal Academy. There were those who tried to uphold the values of trust and respect for the truth, such as Constance Courte. However, the prevailing attitude of others, such as Aristotle Means, remained that the ends justified the means, with the ends being winning the case. The mascots Phony Phanty and Bum Rap Rhiny were also created as part of a campaign to stop fabricated evidence and false charges.


Main article: Turnabout Succession, The Cosmic Turnabout, & Turnabout for Tomorrow
It's all just a waste of time. All your efforts at analysis serve no purpose. And now, in this dark age of the law, nobody would believe your claim that it's effective. In an era when evidence is fabricated, do you truly expect feelings to be accepted as proof?

"The phantom".

In 2026, Phoenix Wright set into motion a plan to expose the mastermind behind the events surrounding his disbarment. He recruited the rookie defense attorney Apollo Justice to his cause, leading him to prove that Kristoph Gavin had killed "Shadi Smith", whom Wright knew was Zak Gramarye. Wright then organized a test trial for the "Jurist System", arguing that hard evidence simply was not enough to ensure the right verdict, and that the common sense of ordinary people would address this issue. The Jurist System was instrumental in getting Gavin indicted for a series of crimes that included planting the forged diary page on Wright.

Meanwhile, Miles Edgeworth sought to put an end to the madness in his capacity as a prosecutor, and became Chief Prosecutor near the end of 2026. Despite his best efforts, however, he could not fight the corruption and rumors of evidence tampering by himself. He knew that he had to clear Blackquill's name, and coordinated a plan with Wright to draw out the "phantom" who had killed Metis Cykes. Blackquill was permitted to act as a prosecutor despite being a convict, drawing criticism and even being openly decried during one of his trials. Edgeworth also helped Wright regain his attorney's badge. Eventually, their plan succeeded with the help of Apollo Justice and Athena Cykes, and the phantom was brought to justice.

The phantom's arrest caused a cascade of revelations of corrupt prosecutors within the prosecutor's office, such as Gaspen Payne. Although the dark age was over, it had lingering effects, and it would take more work to set everything right, for both defense attorneys and prosecutors.