have dead to rights

have (one) dead to rights

To have enough evidence to prove that one is guilty of a crime or other misdeed; to catch someone committing a crime. Thanks to footage from the security cameras, the police had the burglars dead to rights. The teacher came up behind us as I was copying Lewis's test and had us both dead to rights.
See also: dead, have, right

have someone dead to rights

Fig. to have caught someone red-handed; to have irrefutable evidence about someone's misdeed. We have you dead to rights on this one. The cops had him dead to rights with damning testimony of two eyewitnesses.
See also: dead, have, right