Legally Weird - FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog


New York's highest court has ruled that a marriage between a half-uncle and his half-niece does not violate New York law.

The case involved a 19-year-old woman from Vietnam who married a 24-year-old naturalized American citizen. An investigation by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services uncovered that the man's half-sister was his wife's mother and an immigration judge subsequently ruled that the marriage was void and ordered that the woman be deported.

However, the New York Court of Appeals ruled this week that the marriage did not violate New York's laws against incestuous marriage. Why not?

Pregnant mothers can't use Facebook to notify their baby daddies before putting their child up for adoption, Oklahoma's highest civil court ruled earlier this month.

For one adoptive couple, that meant that their child's biological father still had a right to contest the adoption of his previously unknown son. The Supreme Court of Oklahoma ruled that the biological mother couldn't terminate the biological father's parental rights without giving him notice she was pregnant -- and a Facebook message doesn't count.

Why can't new moms break the news using Facebook?

Dallas healthcare workers and others whose movement has been restricted following exposure to Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan will be able to vote in the upcoming election by email.

Lawyers for the Dallas County Elections filed a petition asking the court to extend email voting privileges to workers who treated Duncan and those who may have subsequently had contact with those workers, reports the Wall Street Journal. Duncan, a Liberian national, died earlier this month in Dallas after contracting Ebola in Liberia. Those who may have been potentially exposed to the virus are typically subject to restrictions on their movement and regular health checks for 21 days, the incubation period of the disease.

What led to this unusual, but not unprecedented step to allow voting by email?

A Washington man insists he only wants to pray for strippers, not prey on them.

Still, a legal battle is unfolding over David Van Vleet's public records request for the names and addresses of as many as 125 exotic dancers. In Washington state, showgirls are required to get a $75-a-year license, which lists the applicant's name, date of birth, address, a full-color photo, and other identifying information, reports The Huffington Post. And Van Vleet says that he needs those full names and addresses in order to pray for them by name.

As public records, with no provision in the law to protect the strippers' privacy, the applications would seem to be open to any inquisitive individual with a taste for salvation. But the dancers, and a strip club manager, have taken action to block the request.

We try not to be too judgmental about potential criminal defendants, but you have to wonder about an "artist" who decides it's a good idea to paint graffiti on National Park landmarks all across the western United States.

Need more proof before you pass judgment? Not only did the accused vandal tag majestic rock formations (allegedly using acrylic paint), but she also posted pictures of her "artwork" on Instagram and Tumblr -- including a picture of herself in the act. Now, thanks to a little crowd-sourced sleuthing by two hiking blogs (Calipidder and Modern Hiker) and Reddit, the National Park Service has launched an investigation that will likely lead to charges.

What punishment could "creepytings" (the artist) potentially face? And how bad is the public's reaction to her so-called artwork?

A Long Island woman who broke up with her boyfriend can keep the $10,000 ring he gave her, even though he called it an "engagement" ring, a New York judge has ruled.

New York, like many other states, typically requires women to return engagement rings in the event a proposed marriage is broken off, reports The New York Post. However, 48-year-old Debbie Lopez successfully argued to keep the ring given to her by her ex-boyfriend in 2010, despite having broken off the relationship in 2012.

How did Lopez succeed in keeping this pricey piece of jewelry?

Dwight Pink Jr., a convicted murderer serving a 56-year sentence in Connecticut, is a man with taste. While others have sought to look at pornography in prison, and sued over their Playboys, he wants something more classy: "The Atlas of Foreshortening," a book that uses nude models to show how to draw human bodies.

It's not porn -- it's an instructional book on art. And yet, it was ensnared in the prison's porn ban (in place since 2012) and confiscated.

Pink is now suing for the right to his book, $25,000 in damages, and attorneys' fees, reports The Associated Press.

This is backwards. This is really backwards.

Last week, "Liberty Speaker" Gav Seim posted a video of himself pulling over an unmarked patrol car. In the video (embedded below), the activist lectures the visibly annoyed sheriff's deputy on the illegality of unmarked police cars, asks to see his identification, tells him that he could be arrested for going on patrol in an unmarked car, and eventually lets him off with a warning.

It'd be hilarious if the activist wasn't so smug (anyone who says, "We the people are sentinels of our liberty" can't be taken too seriously). But more importantly, does he have a point?

Keeping a well-manicured lawn is important for property values, appearances, and good old-fashioned neighborly manners. It might even be required by your neighborhood home owners' association. But is not doing so a crime?

Apparently, in Tennessee, it can be. Karen Holloway, of Lenoir City, was given a five-day jail sentence because she failed to maintain her lawn to the level required by a city ordinance. After an appeal, which included arguments about her right to counsel, the sentence was reduced to six hours, reports Knoxville's WLTV.

But still: Six hours in jail for not cutting the grass? Apparently so.

A Delaware man who underwent a colonoscopy procedure claims that he woke up from the anesthesia to find himself wearing a pair of pink women's underwear.

The man, 32-year-old Andrew Walls, was an employee of the Delaware Surgery Center in Dover at the time he underwent the colonoscopy exam in 2012, reports The News Journal. According to the lawsuit, when Walls "recovered from the effects of the anesthesia administered by defendants, he awoke to realize that while he was unconscious pink women's underwear had been placed on his body."

While the apparent prank may have been in unquestionably poor taste, is it grounds for a winnable lawsuit?