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

September 2010 Archives

Luxury Car Vandalism Spree Ends in Criminal Charges

It's said that there is a time and place for everything. But is there really a time for a random car vandalism spree? I mean, maybe if someone blew up your mailbox or something...you would still be breaking the law, but you would sound less crazy than the culprit of this piece, Nancy Chi Ni.

Ni, 30, was arrested Saturday for allegedly vandalizing luxury cars throughout California's Santa Clara and Alameda counties. She was already facing charges for allegedly scratching two vehicles with a pair of scissors, the San Jose Mercury News reports. This was her seventh arrest since June of this year. She is being held on $1 million bail and is now facing 13 felony charges for vandalism...yikes.

'Ugly Baby' Facebook Comment Ends in Stabbing

Since when is calling someone else "ugly" a stabbing offence? Since about September 3, 2010. On or about that day, new mother Briana Smith took grave offence when her newborn baby was called ugly by someone else's teenaged baby. A stabbing ensued. New mother is locked up, other mother and thoughtless daughter, recovering.

When Briana Smith read the Facebook comments of Natia Robinson stating she had an "ugly baby" she was not happy, nor was her mother, Judith Scott-Booker, according to the Post-Chronicle. After reading the comments by her supposed friend, Smith came to Robinson's house with her mother to discuss it. Or have it out. Or whatever.

Woman in Handcuffs Steals Police Car, Starts 100mph Chase

We won't be able to top this story for the display of an unusual skill set or for sheer idiocy. On September 24, 28 year-old Candace Broussard was arrested on the campus of Lamar State College in Port Arthur, Texas. Not so bad really, nor very weird. What happened next is. Broussard was handcuffed and sitting in the police cruiser when she gets into the front seat, steals the police the car and takes off down Highway 69 at about 100mph.

Not only was Broussard handcuffed in the back of the patrol car of Officer Max Wolgast while he was outside completing his investigation, reports KFDM News, she was sitting behind one of the prisoner screens patrol cars are all outfitted with. Broussard managed to get her hands in front of her, slide the screen over, climb into the front seat, and speed away. That is one set of survival skills on this young woman.

Officer Handcuffs Teen for Having Sex with His Daughter

There is a nice little country song by a guy named Rodney Atkins, that talks about the kinds of things a father would like to say to the boy dating his teenage daughter. The hook: "I'll see you when you get back / Bet I'll be up all night / Still cleanin' this gun." Just a song? Maybe not. In San Jose, Ca, a motorcycle cop is under investigation for slapping the handcuffs on a teen for sex with his daughter.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, the story is stirring debate about how far a father should go to protect his daughter. Healthy intimidation, yes. Fake arrest by an armed and uniformed cop, not so much. The secret cell phone footage shot by the boy's stepfather shows the cop in question telling the boy, "not a good thing that the person you had sex with is a cop's daughter" and that "the district attorney will probably file charges. ... A cop's daughter is not somebody you mess around with. You're stupid." Well, perhaps the part about the DA was not quite the whole truth.

'Where's Waldo Bandit' Bank Robber Hits Oregon Bank

It's sad, it's funny, it's against the law. It's "Where's Waldo" gone bad. A bank robber operating in the state of Oregon has been dubbed the "Where's Waldo bandit" for his chosen robbing outfit of a striped shirt, glasses and a mop of hair. The FBI, like other law enforcement these days, seems to be quite hooked on bestowing the catchy name on a bank robber (the Bouquet Bandit) or other thief (the Santa Claus Bandit). That's the funny.

According to the QMI Agnecy for the Toronto Sun, Facebook friends of the Where's Waldo Bandit say he is a diabetic and needs the money from the robberies for his medical expenses. "It's always been an issue for him to get coverage for his condition," one friend told QMI. Robbing banks to pay for healthcare? That's the sad.

Medical Marijuana Growers Unionize, Join Teamsters

California has been known for going it's own way when it comes to law and politics. Here's a new first: 40 Oakland, California, medical marijuana growers joined a Teamsters union. The new Teamsters work in the medical marijuana gardens in Oakland. They perform work trimming, cloning, watering and gardening the marijuana at Marjyn Investments, LLC. Marjyn contracts with California medical marijuana patients to grow pot on their behalf.

Under the Teamsters contract, the marijuana growers will receive $25.75 an hour, a substantial raise from the $18 an hour they are making now, Reason.com reports. The contract is for two years and includes a pension, health insurance, paid vacation and other benefits.

Murder Defendant Claims 'Caffeine Insanity' Made Him Do It

On occasion, people may revile criminal defense attorneys for the somewhat outlandish defenses occasionally used in the attempt to have their clients declared not guilty by a jury. However, if you were the person in the orange jumpsuit, you might be grateful for any defense that your attorney might come up with. Take for example the case of Woody Will Smith, on trial for murdering his wife, Amanda Horsnby-Smith. One defense his attorney may raise is that Smith should be found not guilty by reason of caffeine insanity.

We should not get carried away and think that this might be the "Coke" defense, a later-day version of the infamous, and now somewhat de-bunked, "twinkie defense" used by Dan White in his trial for the killings of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. No, according to USAToday, this defense is more about sleep-deprivation psychosis brought on by too much caffeine.

Jennifer Gille Gets Naked, Steals Cab in Louisiana

How do you get from Louisiana to Michigan? Jennifer Gille had a fresh new answer to that seemingly simple question. According to Ms. Gille, the best way to accomplish the trip is to hail a cab, while in the back seat take off every stitch of clothing and then demand to be driven the thousand plus mile trip. Funny when the driver refused.

According to the Times-Picayune, Jennifer Gille, 29, hailed a cab in Covington, La. and asked to be taken to a destination south of that city. When she arrived, she refused to leave the cab and scared the pants off the driver by removing her own pants. Or dress. Or in any case, removing all of her clothing and demanding to be driven to Michigan. Where precisely in Michigan, the Times-Picayune does not report.

Hands Up, Pants Down, But Is that An Illegal Search?

No good deed goes unpunished. Officer Kara Breci discovered the truth in that old saying during a drug bust outside White Castle burgers in November of 2008. When she spotted a possible drug deal going down in the parking lot, Officer Breci and her partner swung into action, got the suspects out of their vehicle and ordered hands in the air.

According to the Star-Tribune, unfortunately the drug bust wasn't the only thing that when down that fateful day, so did the pants of suspect Frank Wiggins, when he raised his hands. Out of kindness, or just a reluctance to get any better view of the suspect's underwear, Officer Breci reached to hoist Wiggins' pants back into place. That's when she found the gun.

Dr. Red Alinsod Sued for Carving Name Into Woman's Uterus

Ingrid Paulicivic feels burned. But not as burned as her gynecologist, Dr. Red Alinsod, is going to feel when he has his attorney look at the contents of the lawsuit filed by Paulicivic and her husband. It seems Dr. Red was goofing around a bit during an operation to remove Paulicivic's uterus. This is something it is doubtful they recommend in med school, and for good reason. Dr. Alison allegedly decided to engrave the removed organ with the name "Ingrid" so it 'wouldn't get mixed up with the others.' A novel idea, except for the burns on her leg that allegedly resulted and the completely horrified response from the organ's former owner.

CNN reports this type of "branding" is not common, but Dr. Red thought it would be a "gesture of friendship." Paulicivic and husband discovered the artwork on a follow up visit to the doctor's office. According to the report, after complaining of the burns on Paulicivic's legs, the couple was shown pictures of the removed organ proudly emblazoned with "Ingrid."

JetBlue Quitter Steven Slater to Have Mental Health Evaluation

Crazy like a fox.

Former JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater, who famously exited an airplane by way of the emergency escape chute, will receive a mental health evaluation from a psychologist. The findings of the mental health evaluation will impact the plea bargain that his attorneys are currently working on with prosecutors in New York. Slater has been charged with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and criminal trespass. The maximum penalty for his alleged offenses is seven years in prison.

Slater, 39, famously (or infamously) broke into the public consciousness after causing a stir after an altercation with a passenger on a JetBlue flight. According to reports, a passenger refused Slater's order to stay seated after the plane had landed. Their altercation may have been briefly physical. Something set off Slater, who swore at the passengers over the plane intercom, grabbed a few beers and activated the emergency slide. He then ran to his car, drove home and was at home having sex with his partner when police arrived. It's the kind of stuff that legends are made out of. It's also the kind of stuff that lands one in court.

Dad Hides Pot in Baby's Diaper, Gets Busted by Daycare

When it comes to charges of drug possession, there is possession and then there is possession. Your garden-variety case of possession can be illustrated in the current (as opposed to the two previous) Paris Hilton drug possession charges. Recently pulled over in Vegas and charged with felony possession of cocaine, Paris tried the old, "it's not my Chanel bag" defense. Too bad she Tweeted a picture of the exact bag when she purchased it in July.

But to come to the more interesting case of possession currently in the news, a man has been arrested over posession of marijuana. Possession of small amounts of marijuana is most often a misdemeanor charge and sometimes carries only very minor repercussions. Not this time, because in this case the drugs were kinda found in the possession of the man's 1 year-old child. Ooops.

Homeless Man: Call 911 for a Hug and Hot Chocolate

What follows is an excellent example of when to call 911 -- and when not to call 911. It is true that stories abound here on the FindLaw Blogs of those with quite a warped sense of when to contact emergency dispatchers. Who could forget the man who 911'ed because his mother took his beer? Or the woman who wanted a date? But in the story that follows, there is both an example of a legal, as well as an illegal, use of a 911.

According to The Oregonian, Mr. Mark Eskelsen, a homeless man, made himself comfortable last Sunday morning, August 29, in a backyard hot-tub somewhere in beautiful Beaverton, Or. After a thorough soak lasting about 10 hours, Eskelsen decided to call 911. He feared for his health, he told dispatchers. After such a prolonged stint in the tub, his towels were wet and he needed, (this is a direct quote, mind) "a hug and a warm cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows in it." Emergency dispatchers do benefit from clear and specific directions from callers telling them what they need and what the emergency is when they call 911, but it is doubtful this is what they have mind.

Teen Texts for Pot, Gets Sheriff

Texting can get people in a lot of trouble. We have heard about so many cases of sexting getting students into trouble in school and even getting criminal charges brought against them. Then there is the more mundane problems of texting while driving. Even texting while walking can get a bit dicey. But please, if you are going to text to perpetrate any kind of illegal activity, try to get the number right.

In Helena, Montana, a teenager decided to buy some pot. So far, so not uncommon. According to the Helena Independent Record, the teen texts his connection with a request: "Hey Dawg, do you have a $20 I can buy right now?" Sadly for the young consumer the text did not go to the hoped for dealer, it went instead to Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton. The irony almost makes your head hurt, doesn't it?

Student Kyle Dubois Sues School for Self-Inflicted Nipple Zap

From the time most kids are small, small children they hear the same thing from their parents, "don't play with that electrical cord (or wall outlet, or hairdryer) you'll get electrocuted." Maybe that is a small overstatement, but it gets the point across. So how did a teenager end up playing with a an electrical demonstration cord that he attached to himself and had plugged in, providing enough of a electric shock to stop his heart? And, one more not so shocking detail, the teacher of the shop class where this occurred is being sued for it.

Electrical Trades class must have been uneventful on March 11, when young Kyle Dubois decided to place an alligator clamp on each of his nipples (with help from a friend) and had a fellow future leader of America plug in the other end of the cord. The ever vigilant teacher, Mr. Thomas Kelly, "was talking about my fantasy baseball team with one student," while this was happening, according to the report by the Associated Press. The next thing Mr. Kelly knew, Kyle had hit the floor. According to the suit by Kyle's parents, "due to his heart stoppage" after the electric shock, Kyle suffered brain damage.

Wendy's 'Cooke' Charged with Assault over Bacon

Fooooood fiiiight ... and arrest, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. In the strong tradition of FindLaw Blogs covering legal, illegal and downright ludicrous activities on, about, or around fast food, let us now have the story of the fight over food at a Wendy's in West Hartford, Connecticut. There are several conflicting facts, as in every tale of crime and mayhem, but we will try to address all sides of the story.

According to the Hartford Courant, a dispute in the kitchen of the West Hartford Wendy's resulted in a cook pulling a knife on a co-worker and threatening to stab him. When police arrived, they were treated to the assailant's story. According to the arrested cook, the appropriately named Derron Cooke, 25, he watched as a co-worker dropped some bacon on the floor, retrieved it and attempted to go ahead and serve it to a customer. Cooke told him not to, and reported it to the manager.