Legally Weird: February 2010 Archives
Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

February 2010 Archives

NC Man Violates Probation for Spot on The Jerry Springer Show

Maybe it was worth it to Richard Peterson.

His 15 minutes of fame on the Jerry Springer show cost him three days in jail.

The 30-year-old man was sentenced for violating his probation after he and his girlfriend got all-expenses-paid trip to appear on the show.

According to the Gaston Gazette his probation officer spotted him on the television program. He was sentenced for leaving the state to travel to Connecticut where the show is taped.

Note to former Alabama Judge Herman Thomas: We're not in the nineteenth century anymore. 

Thomas, a current candidate for Alabama State Senator, was disbarred on Monday, after a five member panel decided to revoke his license to practice law in a closed hearing in Mobile, Alabama.

But his attorney, Robert "Cowboy Bob" Clark, says that they will appeal the decision. Under the Alabama State Bar Association decision, Thomas will not be able to practice law in the State of Alabama for five years. 

Tampa Man Arrested for Wearing Clown Mask in Public

Who knew that wearing a clown mask in public could get you arrested in Florida?

That's what happened to a Tampa man who was charged with a somewhat arcane offense of wearing a mask or hood on a public road over the age of 16, the Tampa Tribune reports.

When can you deduct money spent on prostitutes as extraordinary medical expenses in your income tax calculation? According to Tax Court Judge Joseph Goeke, never! 

Last September, an octegenarian tax attorney tried to claim prostitutes and various pornographic materials as "extraordinary medical expenses." William G. Halby of New York, 78, claimed that these expenses should have been deductible because of "the positive health effects of sex therapy." 

Man Claims Royals' Team Mascot Caused His Hot Dog Eye Injury

Like most baseball fans, John Coomer thought he'd probably catch a foul ball at the game. But instead, he caught a wiener in the eye.

The Kansas City man is now suing the Kansas City Royals for damages after a flying hot dog almost put his eye out last year, the Associated Press reports.

He has filed a lawsuit seeking more than $25,000 for the eye injury he sustained after the team's mascot, Sluggerrr the Lion, began shooting hotdogs into the stands from an air gun.

The infamous Minneapolis Hilton orgy lawsuits have settled.

Two Minneapolis sexual harassment lawsuits were filed in late 2008, one in November and one in December, on behalf of two female Hilton employees whose employment was terminated upon allegedly witnessing what they claim was an "orgy" involving upper management at a Minneapolis Hilton chain. The two women have now reached an undisclosed settlement with the hotel chain.

Deborah Smith and April Bezedichek were both employees of the Hilton hotelier chain until they were fired from their jobs for complaining about the orgy that they claimed to have witnessed.  Smith, the night manager at the time of the alleged incident, claimed that she opened the door to the banquet room and saw Hilton executives on top of a table engaging in sexual behavior.

Man Charged with Theft for Stealing Police Cruiser

Jacob Segura was looking for a lift so he went to his local police department to ask for a ride.

The 32-year-old man Nebraska man asked the Madison police if he could get a ride to Columbus.

According to the Norfolk Daily News, an officer informed Jacob Segura that it was against department policy and that the police could not provide rides.

The girls are going wild in middle school these days. 

Don't fear -- school authorities are on top of it, with their zero tolerance policies. They are cracking down on troublemakers and making sure that these mischief-makers are apprehended.

Yes, they certainly showed that to Alexa Gonzalez, slapping handcuffs on her and hauling her away to the precinct. Let's see if that twelve-year-old ever scrawls "I love my friends Abby and Faith" on her desk again!  The school's resolve was firm on this wild-child, as they cuffed her hands behind her back in front of her classmates and had the police haul her away, with tears streaming down her innocent, twelve-year-old face.

Distressed homeowners everywhere, here's a unique way to deal with your bank: When facing foreclosure, bulldoze your house so that the bank gets nothing. Well, no, please don't take that as actual advice of any fashion; it's actually a terrible idea for many reasons. But a man in Ohio certainly decided that bulldozing his house was a sure-fire way to vindicate himself against the banks.

Terry Hoskins was a struggling homeowner in Moscow, Ohio. After a bitter foreclosure battle with the bank, he decided that if they weren't going to let him have his house, he wasn't going to let them have it, either.

So, he bulldozed it to the ground. Here's an actual slideshow.   

You don't need clairvoyance to know that something is amiss if your psychic asks for your credit card and returns $4000 later with bags from Ralph Lauren.

Perhaps Dane Chan was just innocent at heart, not cynical like the rest of us. No, she actually believed that her psychic needed to do such expensive rituals for Chan's personal and spiritual cleansing. After all, who was she but a mere mortal, one who failed to understand the complexities and expenses involved in spiritual laundry. 

Unfortunately for her, she was allegedly suckered out of thousands of dollars by her psychic, a Sylvia Mitchell at Zena Psychic in Manhattan. 

It was all allegedly one big, crazy, psychic scam.

Police Find Teen Hiding in Igloo with Marijuana Bong & Weapons

A concerned citizen called 9-1-1 to report two legs sticking out from the entrance of a homemade igloo.

Officers responded to the call and searched the area and saw two black shoes sticking out of the igloo.

But what exactly did the police find?

According to the Delaware News Journal, police arrived and found a teenager hiding in a snow bank, with a marijuana bong and weapons.

Wait... there's more.

High Wines and Misdemeanors: Court Punishes Wine Grape Fraud

By gum, for two whole years they got away with it! No, not Madoff style financial fraud, and no, not even an Edwards type sex scandal and cover-up. Here, we are speaking of something most Frenchmen (and not a few Californians) take nearly as seriously. Grape fraud. That is correct, on Wednesday, a French court in the city of Carcassonne handed down fines and probation to 12 men, including vintners and wine cooperative executives, convicted of duping U.S. winemaker Gallo.

Man Arrested for Attempt to Sell Police Scanner Radio at Taco Bell

"Think Outside the Bun".

Convicted thief, Anthony Williams seems to have taken Taco Bell's company slogan to a whole other level.

He was arrested after authorities say he tried to sell a police scanner radio to customers at a Taco Bell drive-through, the Trentonian reports.

Fake Pot: Lawmakers Push to Regulate Synthetic Marijuana

It looks like pot. Smells like pot.

But cops call K2 -- or "Spice," Genie" and "Zohai" imitation pot.

So, is K2 is the new fake pot?

Slap-Happy: DA Suspended for Unusual Plea Agreement

In Kanawha County, West Virginia, stealing from someone's stash of pain killers located in their personal medicine chest will get you a slap on the wrist. Or maybe the face. That is literally what the alleged victim of this crime suggested she be allowed to do in return for dropping the charges against the defendant. However, here is the "legally weird" part; the assistant D.A. agreed. And of course now, it's the ADA who is getting slapped.

OK to Say I'm Gay on a Vanity Plate in OK?

Perhaps it would not be everybody's idea of what is appropriate to spell out their sexual preference on their license plate, but can the state really say it is offensive to the general public? According to the local KoCo 5 News, that is the current finding of the Oklahoma State Tax Commission and it has resulted in, of course, a lawsuit. Keith Kimmel, 28, a political science and pre-law major at Oklahoma City Community College, is already advancing on his career in court and looking for a fight. He has sued the Oklahoma Tax Commission to force them to issue his preferred plate: "Im Gay."

Email is Contemptible: Email Barrage Gets Pitchman 30 Days in the Clink

Anyone who wants to complain about how overloaded their email inbox is, should check in with U.S. District Court Judge Robert W. Gettleman before opening their mouth. According to ABC News, as a result of an action by a defendant in a case before him, Judge Gettleman received so many emails they crashed his court computer and shut down his blackberry. So he did what any reasonable person would want to do; brought the person responsible up on contempt charges which look likely to include jail time.

That Will Be $7,000 at the Next Window, Please

Fight Over $6.00 Sonic Drinks Turns into a Big Legal Bill for Ex-Marine

Perhaps you are familiar with the saying, "he lives in a world of his own?" Well, the employees and managers at the Sonic burger restaurant in Golden, Col., live in a time zone all their own. To be specific, "Sonic time" is about 13 minutes ahead of everyone one else on Central/Mountain time. This little discrepancy lead former Marine Ray Garcia to be charged with trespass and harassment and rack up $7,000 in legal fees, all over the price of his soda.

Kiwi Student Auctions Virginity to Pay College Tuition

The (AP) reports that a 19-year-old New Zealand student has auctioned her virginity online for $32,000 to pay her college tuition fees.

Using the pseudonym "Unigirl," the student offered herself to the highest bidder on the website . According to the AP, over 30,000 people viewed her ad and more than 1,200 bid to have sex before she finally accepted the $32,000 offer.

Unigirl describes herself as "attractive, fit and healthy." But modesty prevented her from posting a photograph, video, or references - so bidders had no way of confirming the accuracy of her post.

"I am offering my virginity by tender to the highest bidder as long as all personal safety aspects are observed," she announced. "This is my decision made with full awareness of the circumstances and possible consequences."

We Paid for What?? Fraudulent Billing Suit Filed Against Blackwater

Maybe the U.S. government should put a revolving door on the nearest federal courthouse specifically for use by the company formerly known as Blackwater. A report by the Washington Post today, reveals yet another suit against the embattled company (now known as Xe Services, LLC) by two former employees who filed a false claims lawsuit which allows the employees, acting as whistleblowers, to win a portion of any public money that the government recovers as a result of the information.

German Seniors Kidnap & Imprison Banker Over Lost Savings

reports that four German seniors went on trial on Monday accused of kidnapping their financial adviser and holding him prisoner in a basement. The men held the adviser responsible for losing them 2.5 million euros ($3.4million) in savings.

Defence attorney Harald Baumgaertl told ARD television the seniors acted out of desperation: "They feared there was no legal way to get their money back and so they did what one should not do - committed a crime."

The prosecution allege the pensioners seized the banker, a 56-year-old man, outside his apartment in the western town of Speyer, binding and gagging him and bundling him into the boot of a car before driving him some 300 miles to the Bavarian town of Chieming.

Treasure Map: Rare Coin Dealer Sues Google over Directions to Home

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Privacy is getting to be a rare commodity these days. That is what precious coin dealer Jon Harris of Jupiter, Florida has discovered. The angry dealer in rare and precious coins is suing Google for invasion of privacy in telling the whole world where he lives. Which might not be such a terrible thing, except for Harris's reasonable assumption that as a coin dealer, thieves might be very interested in where he lives and what he keeps there.

Man Gets Misdemeanor Charges for Attempt to Buy Urine on School Campus

Some people will go to great lengths to pass a drug test.

For example, Kevin Manuel Duron, 18, was arrested after he entered an elementary school campus and allegedly offered to pay a third-grader for his urine.

According to the Daily Breeze, he was charged with two misdemeanors for entering a Manhattan Beach school campus to collect urine from boys in the restroom.

Resisting Arrest: Dad Reportedly Tells Kids to Bite Officers' Faces Off

Things got a little out of hand at Joshua Alger's children's Mc Donald's birthday party.

The 28-year-old Colorado man accused of passing out in the play area was charged with resisting arrest and told his children to bite the police officers trying to arrest him, the Associated Press reports. 

Police were called to Mc Donald's after getting a report that the man was intoxicated at the party and passed out. Alger began making a scene when the children's mother arrived and order his kids to ''bite the officers' faces off".

McDonald's Cheesed Off After Dutch Court Verdict

On its website, the helpfully provides a list of Holland's most treasured cultural icons: clogs, windmills, van Gogh, tulips, and cheese. 

reports that fast-food chain McDonald's took reverence for this last icon a little too far recently.

Apparently the company fired a waitress working at an outlet in the northern Dutch town of Lemmer, Friesland province, for failing to charge a colleague after she added a slice of cheese to her hamburger.  The restaurant manager said the cheese upgrade turned the hamburger (1.75 euro/$2.47) into a cheeseburger (1.95 euro/$2.75).

Still smarting over the potential loss of 28 cents revenue, McDonald's justified dismissing the waitress on the ground that she broke staff rules prohibiting "free gifts to family, friends or colleagues."

One Fish, Two Fish: Feds to Spend $75 Mil on Asian Carp Problem

If you have been following the river of lawsuits that is the Asian Carp controversy, there is recent news that may be of interest. Currently out of the hands of the courts after the last Supreme Court decision which declined to close the locks linking Chicago and the Great Lakes, the federal government has decided to implement a $75.8 million attempt to control the slippery interlopers.

Parolee Accused of Cheating Drug Test with a Cash Bribe

Bribing a state lab worker with $300 is probably not the smartest way to pass a drug test.

Using a "Whizzinator" is probably not a bright idea either.

A 34-year-old Colorado parolee found this out the hard way and could be headed back to prison. He was on parole for a 2007 menacing conviction.

According to the Associated Press, police said the man tried to bribe a state worker to allow him to use a "Whizzinator" to pass a drug test he had to take while on parole. The device is made of tubing and heater packs attached to a prosthetic penis sold to cheat drug tests.

Man Blames Pot Cookies for Strange Behavior on Plane

It's just something about those pot cookies that Kinman Chan blames for his strange behavior.

Chan, 30, of San Francisco claimed he began acting strangely after he had eaten a double dose of his medical marijuana cookies. 

According to the Associated Press, Chan was on a flight from Philadelphia to Los Angeles when he began making odd gestures. According to the criminal complaint he also allegedly began screaming in the airliner's restroom then fought with flight crew members who tried to sit him down before the flight was diverted to Pittsburgh International Airport.

Police Find NY Fugitive with Facebook & Myspace Info

Christopher Crego helped make police work a whole lot easier.

Instead of wearing out shoe leather trying to track down the 39-year-old fugitive, police simply read the information Crego posted on Facebook and MySpace making clear where he worked.

Lockport police posted a thank-you note on Crego's Facebook page saying: "It was due to your diligence in keeping us informed that now you are under arrest."

Butt Your Honor... South Butt Files Their Answer

For those of you that have been following the entertaining lawsuit (yes, those words can go together) that is the North Face v. South Butt trademark infringement case, here is a dollop of news. Filed on February 4, South Butt has submitted its required Answer to the Complaint filed by North Face.

Krazy Glue Revenge Case: Judge Spares Women Jail Time

Plea deals reached over a crazy glue related revenge plot on a cheating lover spared four Wisconsin women from jail time.

In what's being called the "Krazy Glue Revenge" case, Therese A. Ziemann and three other women took revenge on their cheating lover, the Washington Post reports. At a motel last summer, the women blindfolded and tied up a 37-year-old man while, Ziemann glued his penis to his stomach.

Driver Fined for Mannequin in HOV Lane

Cruising down the HOV lane of the Long Island Expressway can definitely cut down on commute time.

That is, except for when a 61-year-old Long Island driver was busted for using a life-size mannequin as her plus one in the passenger's seat.

According to the Associated Press, a sheriff's deputy noticed a "passenger" wearing sunglasses and a visor on a cloudy morning. After a closer look he saw that it was a life-size mannequin dressed in a long dark wig, blazer, shirt, scarf and sunglasses.

Fortunetellers Need Not Apply: Spiritual Advisor Sues for Discrimination

Q: What is the difference in Richmond, Virginia, between a fortuneteller and a spiritual advisor? A: A background check, five character references, zoning restrictions, and a $300 business license tax.

This distinction is unconstitutional, according to one spiritual advisor and her legal advisor. According to a report by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Sophie King of Richmond, Va., is suing in U.S. District Court in Richmond for the failure of the local government regulations to make a distinction between a run of the mill fortuneteller and a spiritual advisor, and that failure is a violation of her constitutional rights of free speech, free exercise of religion and equal protection.

Police Arrest Man for Alleged Threats After Wife Cancels ESPN

ESPN SportsCenter is probably the one thing Jerome Smalls couldn't live without.

When his wife cancelled their cable (and cut his ESPN Sportscenter), Jerome Smalls allegedly pulled out a kitchen knife and threatened to cut her, CBS News reports.

Hair Today, Federal Lawsuit Tomorrow: Ohio Picks Up Hair Fight

One more battle over student hairstyles has sprouted up, this time in the state of Ohio. A mother of an 11 year-old student filed suit last week in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, over the alleged humiliation of her son based on his hair.

Citizen O'Keefe: Portrait of an Investigative Journalist?

Will cooler heads prevail? In the midst of the on-going melee that has surrounded the story of the break in, friendly visit, fact-finding mission (choose one), that was James O'Keefe's trip to Sen. Mary Landrieu's office, most of the facts are still up for interpretation. One thing that seems clear, however, is a bit of retrenchment regarding his methods by the strongly partisan O'Keefe.