Legally Weird: December 2009 Archives
Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

December 2009 Archives

CO Woman Arrested After 48 Prank 911 Phone Calls

After 48 prank 911 calls, investigators finally caught on that Caryn Sodaro was probably crying wolf.

Sodaro, a volunteer firefighter in Weld County Colorado, was arrested for making 48 phony 911 phone calls to county police dispatchers, according to the The Greeley Tribune. She was arrested following a four month investigation.

Mom Makes 911 Phone Call to Help Video Game Addict Son

It was the final straw for Angela Mejia who was frustrated by her video game addict son. She was so overwhelmed by his incessant video game playing that she called the cops on him.

According to the Associated Press, the Boston woman made a 911 phone call to say she couldn't get her 14-year-old son to stop playing video games and go to sleep.

Man Accused of Smuggling Wildlife Pleads Not Guilty

A California man accused of strapping 15 live lizards to his chest to get through customs at Los Angeles International Airport, pleaded not guilty to federal charges.

According to the Associated Press, Michael Plank entered his plea to a count of smuggling wildlife into the United States, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.

Miquel McNorton Gets Misdemeanor Charge for Biting SF Cop

No biting.

That's one of the first lessons children are taught. 

Miquel McNorton, 49, was reminded of that recently after jurors convicted him on a misdemeanor charge.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, McNorton was found guilty of misdemeanor charge for battery on an officer and two counts of resisting arrest stemming from an Aug. 18 run-in with two officers, one of whom he bit on the wrist.

Cop Sharply Criticized for Pulling Gun During Snowball Fight Game

Metropolitan D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier sharply criticized the actions of the veteran off-duty police officer for brandishing a gun during a good-natured snowball fight game.

Chief Cathy Lanier watched the videos that were widely circulated on the Internet of the off-duty plainclothes police officer pull his gun after snowballs hit his private car after a record snowfall.

CBS/Associated Press reports that off-duty police detective Michael Baylor must give up his gun and his badge.

Shark Attack! Lawyer Allegedly Bit Nose Off Man, Gets Sued

They must serve very small portions at the popular Memphis eatery Dish; because clearly, litigation attorney Mark Lambert was still hungry during an evening bathroom brawl with self-employed hair dresser Greg Herbers. So hungry, that he bit Herbers' on the nose, allegedly removing quite a chunk of his victim's nostril.

Man Convicted of Indecent Exposure at Home

Erick Williamson was recently convicted of breaking Virginia's indecent exposure law.

Why has this case made news? He was busted for being in the buff in his own home.

Divorcing Dad Fights for Custody of Kids, Breast Implants

Even King Solomon would have a difficult time dividing these assets. In a case of first impression in North Dakota courts (how big an impression is not made clear in court papers), divorcing parents Erik and Traci Isaacson are battling over custody of the children and... of Traci's breast implants. Well not really custody of the implants, that clearly remains with Mom, but the question before the North Dakota Supreme Court is: who's portion of the marital property gets charged for those little darlings?

Off Duty Police Officer Allegedly Pulls Gun During A Snowball Fight Game

During a snowball fight game, hundreds of young people took advantage of a winter storm with a little restless indulgence.

But the fun at the DC Snowpocalypse Guerrilla Snowball Fight 2009 took a strange turn when an off duty police officer allegedly pulled a gun during the snowball fight game.

The 20- and 30-somethings hurled snowballs at each other, but one of their projectiles also hit a Hummer, whose driver was an off duty plainclothes policeman, the Los Angeles Times reports.

A Cut Below the Rest? Bad Teacher Cut Braids Off Student

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A Milwaukee schoolteacher was charged with disorderly conduct for cutting the braid of a student off in the middle of her class.

ABC WISN reports that the teacher admitted to cutting off seven year old Lamya Cammon's braid in front of her first grade class after the girl kept playing with her braids even after the teacher told her not to. The bad teacher even threatened the seven year old; saying she would cut braids off again if she did not stop playing with them.

According to an interview by Essence given by the girl's mother Ms. Helen Cunningham, the teacher was annoyed when the Lamya Cammon kept playing with her beaded hair. She threatened the girl to stop playing with her hair or she would miss recess. When Lamya did not stop, she missed recess. However, it was when she kept playing with the hair after recess that things went from bad to worse.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio Christmas Music Playlist for Inmates

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will continue to share his Christmas music playlist with inmates. 12 hours a day, everyday.

His Christmas music playlist is aimed to spread Christmas cheer to 8,000 inmates inside Arizona county jails.

A federal court has thrown out the sixth lawsuit filed by inmates trying to stop the sheriff from playing holiday music in his jails this winter, the Associated Press reports.

Above the Law? 'Female Forces' Sued Over Media Consent

The Biography Channel's show Female Forces seems to bring out the litigious side in people! Another lawsuit has been filed involving the reality show. This lawsuit is against the City of Naperville, two police officers and the show's production company. The show features female police officers as they go about their patrols. This is the second lawsuit involving Female Forces in the past three months regarding media consent from others shown in the reality tv show.

According to NBC Chicago, Eran Best has filed a federal lawsuit because she claims that she was featured on the show without her consent. She claims that being on the show was the last thing she wanted. She told the Chicago Tribune: "This is the last thing I wanted ... and I was just shocked."

Forget Health Care, House Votes to Turn Down Loud Commercials

Citizens, this is bi-partisanship in action. We can't agree on health care. We can't agree on Afghanistan. But we can agree that those darn loud commercials have got to go. And go they will, under HR 1084, which the House of Representatives bill approved Tuesday by voice vote. Loud voice vote.

In God We Trust? Can an Atheist Hold Office in N.C?

Much hot air and blog space has been devoted to the quaint story of one man who likes to call himself a "post-theist" and whether or not he can hold elected office in the great state of North Carolina -- readers, here's a bit more. In its infinite wisdom, the Tar Heel State has decided that its citizens may exercise their freedom of religion, but those who do not believe in God cannot hold office. The text of the Constitution of North Carolina reads as follows: 

Laura Lundquist, 98, Charged With Murder of 100 Year Old Roommate

Laura Lundquist is believed to be the oldest murder defendant in Massachusetts state history.

The 98-year-old woman was indicted recently on a second-degree murder charge that alleges she strangled a 100-year-old woman who was her roommate at a nursing home the Associated Press reports.

The Hangover: DUI for Drunk Man Who Slept in Wrong House

Christopher Paul Silga was drunk and asleep on a couch cuddling a teddy bear.

The problem? He was in the house of a couple he did not know, and who did not know him.

The Mississippi Press reports that a couple was shocked when they awoke to a drunken man they had never met asleep on their couch, snuggling with a teddy bear.

Self-Appointed School Crossing Guard Arrested as "Traffic Hazard"

A concerned father and self appointed school crossing guard Mike Sibrian helps children across the street.

That was until the cops in San Antonio hauled off to jail.

Sibrian, a proud parent volunteer helps his son along with the many other children Harlandale Middle School cross a busy intersection.

KSAT 12 reports, Sibrian who said what he was doing as a public service was arrested by police for being a traffic hazard.

DUI by Horse & Buggy: Again, Just about Any Vehicle Counts

In case there's been some confusion, operating just about any type of vehicle while intoxicated generally counts as driving under the influence.

In Pennsylvania, a drunk Amish man found slumped over asleep in his horse & buggy provides yet another illustration of this rule.

No First Amendment Right to Booze in Adult Bookstores in TN

Down in Tennessee, its business as usual for adult bookstore owners; except for the ones who had their hearts set on encouraging patrons to exercise their First Amendment rights to view adult entertainment while sipping cocktails. Thanks to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, that just ain't gonna happen. To try to prevent this Orwellian turn of events, the owners of East Brooks Books sued Shelby County for said rights. In their suit, East Brooks Books made several arguments based on the First Amendment. Here is the highlight reel.

SF Lawyer Sues Wrong Defendants in Elevator Accident Case

A San Francisco lawyer admits that he filed a wrongful death suit against the wrong defendants in an elevator accident case that cost a life last year.

According to SF Weekly, Mr. Zimmerman represented the family of Dan Kliman, who fell to his death in a downtown SF elevator last year. Zimmerman has admitted that he filed the lawsuit against people who don't even own the building in question.

Mr. Zimmerman filed the lawsuit against Coast Counties Management, Inc. and the Kone Elevator company along with Scott and Elisa Stephens (Academy of Art University). The problem? The building where the elevator accident happened was not owned by any of these people.

Quit Your Carping: Michigan Files Lawsuit over the Asian Carp

Evidently, an Asian carp is a scary creature. It can jump into your innocent little fishing boat and break your nose. But that's not even the real problem with this invasive species, originally brought to the American south in the 1970's to eat algae in fish farmer's ponds. The real problem is the carp have made their way into the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal and are heading for the Great Lakes where they will threaten or even wipe out the valuable indigenous Great Lakes fish population. As they say in the movies, we're gonna need a bigger boat. Or, a federal lawsuit.

Off-duty Cop Fatally Shot after Grabbing Man's Behind

A playful pat on the butt went tragically wrong at Vinnie's Rock Bottom tavern in Jefferson Wisconsin.

Jennifer Luick and her boyfriend were dancing and drinking, but no sooner than the fun began, it all came to an end.

The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reports that Luick and her boyfriend were fatally shot after she pinched Andrew Wirth on the behind.

"Jesus Christ" Booted from Alabama Jury

Everyone should do their civic duty to participate in the grand experiment we call America. Vote. Recycle. Do jury duty when called.

And if opening that jury summons has ever caused anyone to ask, WWJD?, it looks like we have an answer.

She would show up.

Colorado Teens Seek Record for Most Stolen Cars in a Single Day

Four juveniles arrested in Lakewood, Colorado may have set an all-time Colorado record high for the most stolen cars in a single day.

The Denver News Blog reports that the Lakewood Police Department transported the juveniles to a detention facility. While being placed in custody, one of the juveniles asked if they had "set a record for the most stolen cars in a day."

Elf Bomb: Angry Elf Tells Mall Santa He's Packing Dynamite

The holidays can cause stress for all of us. This must particularly apply to those slaving in Santa's workshop. One case in point: 45 year old William C. Caldwell, III, surely the frontrunner for 2009 Angry Elf of the Year. 

It may come as no surprise to anyone that your local mall Santa receives excellent security training these days. And a good thing, too. On Wednesday evening, the mall Santa on duty at Southlake Mall in Morrow, Georgia came face to face with a potentially explosive situation. The 45 year old Mr. Caldwell, in full elfin attire, wanted his picture taken with Santa. When his turn came, he informed Santa that he had in fact brought some of his own tools from the workshop... specifically, a bag of dynamite.

Who You Callin' A Rat? Mob Informant Loses Defamation Suit

Seems like a guy can't get a break in this town. Alleged mob informant Shemtov Michtavi, sued the New York Daily News and the Polish Daily News for defamation and emotional distress after they printed that he planned to cooperate with prosecutors while behind bars serving 20 years for narcotics offenses. Being called the "key lieutenant" of Ze'ev Rosenstein, an organized crime figure, really didn't bother the alleged mobster. Being called a snitch did. 

Ban Divorce? Man Pushes California Marriage Protection Act

What started out as a joke may become a ballot reality for 2010. NBC reports that Sacramento web designer John Marcotte wants ensure that his state does all it can to "defend the institution of marriage." He has proposed a ballot initiative called the 2010 California Marriage Protection Act. It would ban divorce in the state.

While the site is clearly satirical (the blurb about the author states that he opposes government-funded death panels and Obama talking to children and MSNBC's entire prime-time line-up), there are many conservatives who are willing to put the bill on the ballot as a legitimate measure.

Mr. Marcotte started his push for the California Marriage Protection Act as a joke aimed at people who voted for California's Proposition 8 (which banned same sex marriage) by claiming that Prop. 8 did not go far enough to protect "traditional marriage."

Patrick Tribett Sues Those Turning Gold Mugshot into Mugshot Gold

We've all heard of a golden smile.

But what about a golden mugshot?

Patrick Tribett was arrested in Bellaire, Ohio, in 2005. Police say he had been huffing the fumes from gold spraypaint. The proof? Perhaps the fact that the lower half of his face was covered in gold paint, as shown in his mugshot:

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Man Blames Airport Noise for Divorce, Sues Everyone

There are many things that could have led to Stanley Hilton's divorce.

But above all else, he blames the "around-the-clock" airport noise at San Francisco International Airport.

He said the noise from the jet roaring overhead was so powerful that it ripped his marriage a part.

'Kick a Ginger Day'? Cyberbullying and Ginger Bashing

Is one pudgy cartoon character to blame for the beating and bullying of junior high aged redheads in Calabasas, California? According to a Facebook page, November 20th was official "Kick a Ginger Day." For those who do not speak fluent South Park, that translates to: beat up a redhead. And, since kids take everything literally, it turned into just that at a California junior high.

Pedicure Fish Spawn Lawsuit Against AZ Board of Cosmetology

The Arizona State Board of Cosmetology had to deal with a lawsuit filing over pedicure fish this week. Yes, you read it correctly, pedicure fish.

According to the Phoenix New Times, pedicure fish are imported Garra Rufa fish that suction off dead skin cells from the feet of pedicure clients. Garra Rufa fish are toothless miniature carp that are native to hot springs in Turkey. The fad started in Asian nail salons in Queens as featured in The Gothamist. Pedicure fish are in tanks of water where pedicure clients dip their feet in order to get the smooth, soft feet that they desire.