Legal Grounds - FindLaw Legal Humor Blog

Legal Grounds - The FindLaw Legal News with an Attitude Blog


Another place where Don Rickles can't go anymore! Effective immediately, Delaware driver's license applicants can show their pearly whites. Thanks to a software upgrade, drivers will once again be permitted to smile in driver's license photos.

The new policy ends five years of depressed and angry photographs caused by a facial recognition system that got confused by smiles.

A massive collection of 130,000 pages of government UFO documents is now available for free online, thanks to one man's use of Freedom of Information Act requests.

For the past 20 years, John Greenwald has been requesting and collecting UFO-related documents from the government, reports ABC News. He has now posted the entire collection online for public perusal at his website The Black Vault. Most of the documents are from a U.S. Air Force project known as Project Blue Book, spanning the years from 1947 through 1969. Among the 12,618 UFO sightings investigated by Project Blue Book were 701 sightings which were not able to be fully explained.

How was Greenwald able to amass this impressive collection of government documents?

A YouTube prank in which four men were detained by officers after admitting to having a trunk full of "coke," as in the soft drink, is drawing less than rave reviews from the Los Angeles Police Department.

Video of the prank has gone viral since being posted on YouTube earlier this week, racking up more than 700,000 views in just over four days. But the LAPD is not impressed, reports Los Angeles' KCBS-TV.

Why are law enforcement officials warning against potential copy-cat prank videos?

A Florida family with a life-sized replica of the TARDIS time machine from the sci-fi TV series "Doctor Who" has been ordered by their homeowners' association to move the phone booth-style structure off of their driveway.

The members of the Moder family are huge fans of the cult-favorite British series, reports Tampa's WFTS-TV -- so much so that LeeAnn Moder's father spent about $1,000 on wood to build the replica TARDIS (which stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space) for the couple's wedding.

The Moders were married in front of the TARDIS and have since brought it to sci-fi conventions and parties. But when the Moders put the TARDIS in front of their house, they discovered that their neighborhood's homeowners' association was somewhat less enthusiastic about "Doctor Who."

Many legal news stories deal with gravely serious, important issues. Not all of them, though.

This year certainly had its fair share of crudely humorous, laughably oddball, and head-scratching legal stories, from massively popular naked bike rides to significantly less popular farting cops. There were also quite a few unorthodox legal questions that needed answering this year.

For the best of both, here are the 10 most popular Legal Grounds blog posts of 2014:

An Ohio man has been ordered to remove a Zombie nativity scene from his front yard by township officials.

Jasen Dixon built the homemade 10-by-10-foot structure three weeks ago, reports The Columbus Dispatch. Inside, life-size figures including a zombie Jesus and skeletal wise men re-enact a zombified version of the typical Christmas nativity scene. But officials in Sycamore Township, near Cincinnati, are threatening Dixon with legal action if he doesn't remove the scene by Friday.

What do officials say Dixon did wrong?

A 19-year-old man's alleged burglary of a Florida bakery came to crashing halt when he fell through the ceiling of the business, landing on a rack of potato chips.

Chacarion Avant was arrested after being discovered by the bakery's owner, who told WKMG-TV he initially thought Avant was a customer before noticing the hole in the ceiling. Avant was injured in the fall and was taken to the hospital, but not before being charged with armed burglary and giving false information to police.

Why is Avant being charged with burglary if he didn't actually steal anything? Does pride criminal intent come before the fall?

After last year's mock trial to determine the true author of the Christmas poem "An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas" ended in a hung jury, the City of Troy, New York decided to retry the case again this year.

Following the mock retrial, a six-member jury selected randomly from the crowd in attendance was asked to choose which of two possible candidates was in fact the author of the anonymously published poem, which famously begins with the line "'Twas the night before Christmas."

What were the jury's choices, and who did the jurors ultimately decide was the poem's true author?

A man pulled over for drunken driving had a unique excuse for smelling like booze: a recent dinner of beer-battered fish.

John Przybyla, 75, of Friendship, Wisconsin, was pulled over on suspicion of OWI (operating while under the influence) in October; he also had nine prior OWI offenses on his record. When the arresting deputy approached Przybyla's car, Przybyla allegedly told the deputy that the alcohol smell was due to the beer-battered fish he had eaten.

We can't resist saying that this story smells fishy, but what about the legal meat of the case?

The manufacturers of Comfyballs underwear say that they were denied trademark by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office because the name of their brand is too "vulgar."

Comfyballs is a Norwegian underwear company established in 2013, reports The Telegraph. The company's underwear is designed to reduce heat and restrict movement of a man's testicles as he goes about his daily business. In other words: The company's product purports to live up to the company's name.

What prompted the USPTO to deny Comfyballs' application to register the company name as a trademark?