Legally Weird - FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog


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?

A California atheist who sued after being jailed for complaining about being forced to participate in a faith-based drug rehab program has settled his case for nearly $2 million.

Barry A. Hazle Jr. was convicted of possession of narcotics and served a year in a California prison, reports The Sacramento Bee. He was released on parole but his parole was revoked after he complained to parole officials about having to participate in a recovery program that required him to acknowledge a 'higher power.'

After serving an additional three months in prison, Hazle sued the California Department of Corrections as well as the substance abuse firm contracted by the government to provide drug treatment for parolees.

An "aggressive mopper" at a Connecticut hotel was arrested on Monday after allegedly terrifying hotel staff and taking the cleaning into his own hands.

John Thornton, 30, apparently wasn't satisfied with the job that a hotel employee was doing with her mop, because he grabbed the cleaning tool from her and started his "aggressive mopping," as a police report described it. The hotel worker was left "shaken and crying," Hartford's WFSB-TV reports.

Yes, "aggressive mopping" is weird, but is it illegal?

Growing concerns about the spread of Ebola aren't just limited to talk of restricting flights or quarantining people who have possibly exposed to the virus.

The state of Louisiana was granted a court order Monday preventing the incinerated belongings of a Texas man who died from Ebola from being shipped into their state, reports The Times-Picayune. The restraining order comes after the Louisiana landfill in which the waste was to be disposed had already refused to accept the ashes.

Nevertheless, Attorney General Buddy Caldwell apparently wanted to make sure the ashes stayed out of his state.

A Missouri couple got more than they bargained for, twice, when they purchased an upscale home next to a golf course in 2007.

First, the couple discovered that their new home was filled with up to 6,000 venomous brown recluse spiders, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Adding insult to injury, the couple prevailed in a lawsuit against the home's previous owners, but was never able to collect the judgment nor were they successful in filing a claim with their insurance carrier.

How did this couple end up tangled in such an unfortunate legal web?