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

April 2010 Archives

The Rolex Man Sees His Fake Watches Get Steamrolled

The government is coming down hard on product counterfeiting in Philadelphia. A steamroller crushed about 7,000 fake Rolex watches once hawked by the "Rolex Man."

The bulldozing event was staged under orders of federal authorities as the culmination of an international multimillion-dollar federal counterfeiting case, the Philly.com reports. 

Only in Louisiana. 

If a coconut falls from the sky, does it make a sound? 

Yes! says Daisy Johnson Palmer, a retired teacher who was allegedly struck in the head by a coconut at Mardi Gras in 2006. She is appealing her negligence claim to the Louisiana Supreme Court, challenging the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal's dismissal of her coconut lawsuit against the alleged coconut thrower. 

Mobile Medical Marijuana Dispensary Target of Police

Stewart Hauptman and Helen Cherry converted their 1985 Pace Arrow motor home into a rolling medical marijuana dispensary, which has become the target of police.

The couple travels in their Pace Arrow motor home around Southern California and Las Vegas serving about 700 members of their marijuana collective, which they say is legal under state law, the Press Enterprise reports.

Colorado Woman Wins Fight to Continue Topless Gardening Work

Catharine Pierce has won a fight to continue topless gardening work, wearing only a yellow thong and pink gloves.

The Colorado woman had been feuding with her landlords, who wanted her to cover up. But now Boulder Housing Partners officials are backing off their plans to change the rules in the Foothills Community, prohibiting residents from being topless when they're outside their homes, DailyCamera.com reports.

Fake IRS Agent Sentenced for Scamming Free Hotel Stay

A woman in her 60's pulled off a two year scam that came to an end on April 20 when she was sentenced to five years probation by Federal District Court Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco, Ca. The clever sexagenarian managed to convince the owners of the Inn Marin in Novato Ca., that she was an IRS agent and was able to continue her stay rent free from 2008, until the jig was up in February of this year. 

Fleeing Suspect Caught Neck Deep in Manure Pit

As we have discussed how chewing off fingertips to conceal identity and elude police could be viewed as taking somewhat drastic measures. But a fleeing suspect choosing a manure pit for his hideout may be an even more bizarre escape plan.

Police were searching for Thomas Hovis Jr. 52, wanted on numerous drug charges and found him neck-deep in a vat of liquid manure, the Journal Gazette reports.

Will Hawaii Law Say Aloha to Constant Birther Requests?

It looks like the government agencies of the great state of Hawaii are just sick and tired of dealing with the crazies. So much so, that their legislature has had to come to the rescue. A bill is making its way through the Hawaii state legislature to allow state agencies to ignore repeated (and repeated) requests for certain things, such as President Barack Obama's birth certificate.

Elderly Woman Fires .22 Caliber Handgun to Fend off Intruder

At 89, Beatrice Turner is packing heat. She fired a shot from her .22-caliber handgun to fend off an intruder who bashed in the front door of her Iowa home.

Turner said she was aiming to shoot Nelson McAlpine, 37, in the head but missed. Turner said the man began pounding on her door early in the morning and despite being told he had the wrong house, the man used his fists to break through the wood door, the Des Moines Register reports.

Florida Man Charged with Making 18 911 Phone Calls in 2 Months

A Florida man's streak has ended, at least for now. He was arrested after making 18 911 phone in two months.

David Bouchard, 55, was arrested on a charge of misuse of 911 and made accusations about a Manatee County Sheriff's Office deputy making out with a prostitute who lived across the street from him, Bradenton.com reports.

NJ Man Chews Off Fingertips to Hide Identity from Police

For Keith Simmonds Jr., chewing off his fingertips to conceal his identity after escaping from a cop car would perhaps be less painful than the thought of going back to prison.

An ex-convict from New Jersey, Simmonds was arrested on drug charges during a traffic stop after police found marijuana in a car he was driving, the Associated Press reports.

Rebels with a Clause: Tea Partiers Sue over Party Name

The Tea Party movement is under fire these days, and not just due to the breaking news about its front-woman, Sarah Palin, allegedly demanding bendy straws and first class air travel from cash-strapped Cal State Stanislaus where she was hired to speak. No, this is a hit from friendly fire. On April 14, a U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach, Florida, saw papers filed from more than one faction of the fractious movement each claiming the intellectual property rights to the name "Tea Party."

The Case of the Golden Tablet

A long time ago, archeologists discovered a beautiful golden tablet buried in the sands of the ancient Assyrian Empire, now known to us as Iraq. After many delays and a small diversion to Portugal during WWI, the golden tablet made its way to a Berlin museum. The tablet did not rest there long, but was supposedly "liberated" by the occupying Russian army after the fall of Berlin at the end of WWII. The tablet finally found a home with a Holocaust survivor who himself had moved to New York. After his death, his children inherited the tablet, and in a 'no good deed goes unpunished' twist, let the museum know they had it in their possession. The museum sued.

Update: Judge Who Arrested Teen for Overdue DVD is Fired

When we last left the town of Littleton, Colorado, pop. 40,340, the Mayor was giving the press his mea culpa for the treatment of local teen Aaron Henson. If you will recall, Henson was arrested by Littleton Police for the crime of not returning a DVD copy of House of the Flying Daggers to the town library. At the time, the mayor was unhappy over the bad publicity the town had received as a place that would toss kids in jail for the high crime of an overdue movie. Now the City Council has taken it one step further; they fired the judge who ordered Henson's arrest.

The Son Never Sets: Mom Seeks Decades of Child Support Income

A little behind on your child support payments? Well, consider this. Rosemary Douglas is suing ex-flame Urban Joseph Grass in a Los Angeles, Ca., courtroom on April 5, for some support payments she claims he missed. About 60 year's worth of payments. Yes, the plaintiff in this case is a youthful 81 and her son is now a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and grandfather, according to his proud mom.

Naked Guy found Not Guilty of Breaking Indecent Exposure Law

Erick Williamson was finally vindicated after he was found not guilty of breaking Virginia's indecent exposure law.

A jury acquitted Williamson, 29, who earned a nickname in Fairfax County as "The Naked Guy" last year when he was busted for being in the buff in his own home, the Associated Press reports.

Dad Arrested for Pot Stash Found in Son's Elmo Backpack

Ronald Washington admitted it was dumb to leave a stash of nearly four ounces of marijuana in his son's Elmo backpack.

Police arrested Washington, 33, after he called the school to ask if his son arrived because something was accidentally left in his Elmo backpack, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Bad Granny: Did Elderly Woman Scam $1 Mil from Friends?

Things you thought you could count on in this world: the Easter Bunny, flowers in springtime, Grandma. Sad to say you should cross one item off the list, and it isn't the mythological rabbit. Last week, a Florida granny was arrested and charged with the grandmother of all schemes: bilking more than $1 million from friends and her church pastor.

April Fool's Day Bank Heist is No Joke

An April Fool's Day bank heist was no joke when a gunman stole thousands of dollars in cash, locked employees in a vault and left behind a package with flashing lights.

The armed bank robber stole between $10,000 and $100,000 on April Fool's Day, locked three bank tellers of the National Exchange Bank and Trust in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin in a vault and left behind suspicious package with flashing lights, according to the Associated Press.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio: Inmates Use Pedal Power for TV

Under his latest tough jail policy by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, inmates must use pedal power in order to watch television.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio calls his new program "Pedal Vision," in which inmates must pedal stationary bikes to generate electricity for television sets, the Associated Press reports.

Maybe Ohio inmate Donald Dudrow III will think twice before sending out jail mail. He was convicted on drug trafficking charges after trying to send a pen pal letter to his mother labeled with the wrong zip code.

The Ohio inmate, Donald Dudrow III, was convicted of sending detailed instructions to his mother on how to sneak drugs into the prison, the Port Clinton News Herald reports.

Pop on Top: Man Sues Son-in-Law for Being Bad Husband

This particular case is so legally weird, even the lawyers stalking the halls here at FindLaw.com are shaking their heads. A former father-in-law in the town of Riverwoods, Ill. is suing his ex-son-in-law for breach of contract in being a very, very, bad husband. That is right, Dad is not just mad about the way his little princess was treated by this frog, he is going to get even -- to the tune of more than $75,000 in actual damages and $1 million in punitive damages.

A Florida appeal court overturned a ruling of contempt over a woman whose cell phone rang loudly inside a courtroom.

The court ruled that a judge went too far by stopping proceedings an ordering a cell phone to be tossed into the garbage after it rang in the court.

Update: The Face is Off, North Face and South Butt Settle

"One cannot help but embrace the irony that has been pervasive throughout this case," said lawyer Albert Watkins, attorney for upstart company South Butt. Watkins was referring to the settlement between the small Butt and the large Face as the two companies, South Butt and North Face, brought their trademark infringement suit to a close, on April Fool's Day. Irony has always abounded in this case where the South Butt company was beneath notice until sued by foe North Face.