Legal Grounds - The FindLaw Legal News with an Attitude Blog

July 2014 Archives

Mass. Couple Wants 'Seamonster' to Be Their Middle Names

A Massachusetts couple is petitioning the court to legally change their middle names -- which would be nothing out of the ordinary if their proposed new middle names weren't both "Seamonster."

Holyoke resident Melanie Convery describes herself and her husband Neal Coughlin as "pretty private" on Twitter. But they're the talk of the town, thanks to the required legal notice of their petition to change their names in the local paper, reports The Republican.

Can the couple really legally change their middle names to Seamonster?

Doughnut Vandalism Leaves Ore. Town Glazed and Confused

One Oregon neighborhood is struggling with doughnut vandals in a string of incidents where doughnuts, pastries, and even potato salad has been used to vandalize cars and homes.

The so-called "Bakery Bandits" have struck for the past six weeks in Hillsboro, Oregon, a suburb about 30 minutes west of Portland. Hillsboro Police Lt. Mike Rouches told The Oregonian that in his 25 years of service, he has "never investigated or seen a criminal mischief involving pastries."

Is that the way the cruller crumbles, or are the powdered-sugar perps facing criminal consequences?

For Pizza-Delivery Prank From Jail, Beer Thief Faces 2 Felonies

A jailhouse pizza-delivery prank may have earned a Kentucky man already facing public intoxication and shoplifting charges a few more "toppings" for his rap sheet.

Michael Harp, 29, was arrested Tuesday afternoon and was being booked into the Whitley County Detention Center in Corbin, Kentucky, when he allegedly hatched a plan to prank the officer who had just arrested him, Lexington's WKYT-TV reports.

What was Harp's genius plan, and how might it come back to haunt him in court?

Phony TSA Screener's Pat-Downs Lead to Arrest at SFO

A man who allegedly posed as a TSA screener and gave two female passengers a pat-down has been arrested at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) for public drunkenness.

The 53-year-old man, whose name has yet to be released, was arrested Tuesday after duping real TSA agents long enough to "direct a couple of women into a private booth for pat downs," reports SFGate.com. Apparently the ruse was accomplished by the use of khaki pants, a blue polo shirt, and blue rubber gloves.

The TSA is still investigating the incident, but this fake screener will likely face some real charges.

After FOIA Request, CIA Dishes Out Staff Cafeteria Complaints

The CIA cafeteria is a strange mix of beef stroganoff and secrets. But some of that incredibly valuable information has been leaked ... sort of.

No it wasn't a double agent, some loose-lipped informant, or even Edward Snowden. Rather, this juicy cafeteria info came after a regular ol' Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request: from a government agency, care of a government information protocol.

So, thanks to a website called Muckrock, we present to you seven of the most pressing issues facing America ... if you eat at the CIA's cafeteria, that is:

Buddhist Monks Busted for Illegal Fireworks in N.M.

A New Mexico fire inspector investigating reports of illegal fireworks being launched on the Fourth of July discovered some unexpected culprits behind the blasts: a group of Buddhist monks.

The monks at the Hoi Phuoc Buddhist Temple had a pretty solid excuse for their explosive transgressions, Albuquerque's KRQE-TV reports: Since they don't watch TV, read the paper, or listen to the radio, they had no idea that fireworks weren't allowed in Albuquerque.

Ignorance may be bliss to some, but is not knowing about a law a valid excuse for breaking it?

EPA Email to Employees: Stop Pooping in Hallways

The Environmental Protection Agency apparently has a contamination problem of its own, as an internal e-mail sent to employees at the Denver regional office asks them to stop pooping in the hallways.

In the email, EPA Deputy Regional Administrator Howard Cantor refers to "recent incidents" including clogged toilets and "an individual placing feces in the hallway," The Huffington Post reported last month.

Like the famous children's book says, everyone poops. But depending on where you do it, you could face legal consequences for taking care of your business in the wrong place.

DUI Suspect's Excuse for Police Chase: Choice of County Jail

People typically run from police in an attempt to stay out of jail for as long as they can. But an Oklahoma woman who led police on a high-speed chase Tuesday had a somewhat different goal in mind.

Police say 34-year-old Luz Avilla refused to pull over, reaching speeds of up to 100 mph, supposedly because she was hoping to make it to the next county over. "Apparently she did not want to go to jail in Grady County," a police officer told Oklahoma City's KWTV. "She wanted to go to jail in Caddo County was her explanation as to why she did not pull over."

Unfortunately for Avilla, she came up a few miles short and was booked (in Grady County) on charges including driving under the influence and eluding police.

Avilla's quest for the county line does bring up an interesting question, though: Can an inmate in one jail request a transfer to another?