Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

August 2013 Archives

Accidental Pot Grower, 73, Gets Vt.'s 1st Marijuana Ticket

An accidental pot grower who received Vermont's first civil marijuana ticket blames some mysterious seeds that he found in a box. But the senior citizen with the green thumb says he won't fight his $200 fine.

William Reynolds, 73, of St. Johnsbury, claims that he found the mystery seeds and planted them, not knowing what they were. After the marijuana plant grew to about two and a half feet, police spotted it, confiscated it, and gave Reynolds a ticket, The Associated Press reports.

The ticket was the first of its kind to be issued in Vermont, which decriminalized possession of marijuana July 1. What does this mean, exactly?

N.J. OKs 'ATHE1ST' License Plate After Clerk Deems It 'Offensive'

New Jersey has approved a prominent resident's "ATHE1ST" license plate, clearing up a snafu in which the application had been denied for being "offensive."

After David Silverman, president of American Atheists Inc., was refused his "offensive" vanity plate, he took to Twitter, calling the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission's (MVC) actions "outrageously discriminatory," reports CBS New York.

Public outcry may have been the reason for the quick turnaround, but can states actually outlaw certain vanity plates?

Play Legally on the Playa: 5 Legal Issues at Burning Man

This year, about 68,000 (yes, thousand) people are expected to trek into the Black Rock Desert in Nevada for Burning Man. Veteran and virgin Burners alike should remember that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will enforce local and state laws during the event, which runs through Labor Day.

Though revelers will be there to watch The Man burn, here are five legal issues to consider on the dust-filled Playa:

Fla. Man Goes Nuts on Neighbor for Feeding Squirrels

A Florida man allegedly assaulted his neighbor for feeding peanuts to squirrels.

Actually, the fight wasn't even about the peanuts -- it was the peanut shells that set him off.

Eugene Oates, 57, of Vero Beach, was arrested for battery after he allegedly grabbed neighbor Ernest Willette and forced him out of his home. Their dispute was over Willette's feeding of peanuts to squirrels in their neighborhood: Oates was apparently angry that the squirrels kept discarding peanut shells on Oates' driveway and lawn, The Huffington Post reports.

No squirrels were reported harmed in the incident. Oates' neighbor, however, wasn't so lucky.

Acupuncture Patient Left 'Pinned' on Table: Can She Sue?

An acupuncture patient who was abandoned on a table found herself "stuck" in more ways than one.

The Texas woman was getting an acupuncture treatment at a clinic in Arlington, near Dallas, earlier this month when she helplessly realized her acupuncturist had closed shop and forgotten about her.

She managed to pull the needles out herself and called 911, Dallas' WFAA-TV reports. But can she sue the acupuncturist for leaving her "pinned"?

Qapla'! Illinois Gov't Website Translated Into Klingon

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has boldly gone where no state government office has gone before by translating its entire site into Klingon.

No one would dare call the IDES p'tak (a colorful Klingon insult, in case you didn't know) after May, when the organization offered its online resources in the fictional language in order to coincide with the release of "Star Trek: Into Darkness," reports the Chicago Tribune.

As J.J. Abrams continues to ride the success of the "Star Trek" franchise, will we see even more government sites in Klingon?

Backward Jogger's Traffic Ticket Tossed by Fla. Judge

If you're jogging backwards in Florida, you're weird but not unlawful. A Florida judge has dismissed a backward jogger's traffic ticket, ruling the man is free to roam in reverse as long as he stays in bike lanes.

The reverse runner was slapped with a ticket for obstructing traffic in Miami Beach in April. But this week, the case against him hit the skids.

Backrubbing Bandit Busted After N.C. Break-Ins

An alleged backrubbing bandit has been caught... again. Julio Antonio Yanez, 29, is accused of breaking into apartments, getting into bed with female occupants, and attempting to give them backrubs, reports Charlotte, North Carolina's WBTV.

Yanez has been linked to similar incidents in April and June of this year, along with two more recent incidents in July. He claimed, during his initial arrest, that he believed one of the homes belonged to an acquaintance of his.

Yanez is now being charged with three counts of breaking and entering, along with four counts of assault.

Man Named Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-Bop Busted for Pot, Again

A Wisconsin man with a jazzy name, Beezow Doo-doo Zopittybop-bop-bop, has been arrested for marijuana possession -- again.

The 32-year-old man formerly known as Jeffrey Wilschke legally changed his name in 2011, which undoubtedly gave police in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a good laugh when they pulled Zopittybop-bop-bop over for erratic driving in his turquoise minivan and allegedly found him in possession of half an ounce of marijuana, reports Yahoo! News.

What charges face the man with such a Seussical name?

Vet Cited for Allegedly Treating Man Who Had to Get Toes Amputated

A veterinarian has been cited for allegedly treating humans after a man had to get his toes amputated, reports Denver's KCNC-TV. But the vet insists police are barking up the wrong tree.

The alleged patient, whose identity is not being released because of medical privacy protections, claimed he had to get three toes amputated after he was treated by veterinarian Fran Freemyer, 78, of Greeley, Colorado.

Freemyer, however, claims he'd been treating a dog for skin cancer and prescribed some medicine for it -- which the dog's owner then gave to the unnamed man without Freemyer's knowledge or consent.

Seattle Cops Handing Out Munchies at 'Hempfest'

Seattle police aren't all looking to hand out citations at the city's three-day marijuana festival, billed as one of the world's largest. Instead, some officers are handing out snacks to help pot-friendly partiers beat the "munchies" -- and learn about the law.

Hempfest 2013 kicks off today with the support of Seattle's police department, which plans to dole out bags of Doritos to festival-goers -- along with a mini-guide on Washington's new marijuana law, reports NBC News.

Free snacks with a helpful legal message aren't likely to harsh the mellow of even the most cynical Hempfest attendee.

Fla. Flasher Offered to Pay for Butt-Kissing: Reports

Most Floridians would blanch at being asked to kiss someone's butt, but one Sunshine State flasher is apparently willing to pay top dollar to pucker up for a stranger's bottom.

Law enforcement officers in Venice, Florida, are on the lookout for a man who allegedly offered two women $200, or $100 apiece, if they would allow him to kiss their butts, reports The Huffington Post.

This "butt-kissing flasher" has been struck at least four times since Saturday. If caught, the alleged posterior-loving perp will likely face a buttload of legal consequences.

Cardboard Cutout Cops Prevent Bike Theft in Boston

A cardboard cutout cop? It may seem like a silly scare tactic, or a way to ward off potential thieves -- for about two seconds anyway, before they realize that they're dealing with... well, an inanimate piece of cardboard.

But when two life-sized cardboard cutouts of a real-life police officer were placed inside fairly busy bike cages in Boston, bike theft actually decreased by 67 percent, The Boston Globe reports.

Pretty clever and creative, don't you think? But Boston cops aren't the only ones using criminal psychology to their advantage.

Idaho Man in Doghouse, Accused of Sex With Cat

An Idaho man who allegedly had sex with his cat for a year was arrested last week on charges of animal cruelty and crimes against nature.

Ryan Havens Tannenholz, 28, of Boise, isn't just a questionable cat guardian, he's also a self-proclaimed "furry" who takes on the fursona of a "sparkly" anthropomorphic dog he calls "Bubblegum Husky" (which sounds suspiciously like a porn name for a cartoon dog), reports The Huffington Post.

Tannenholz's cat's name is yet unreported, but his alleged sexual acts with Kitty Doe are serious crimes.

Baby's Name Can't Be 'Messiah,' Tenn. Judge Rules

Deemed a mere mortal, a baby originally named Messiah is now just "Martin." A Tennessee Child Support Magistrate ruled the baby can't be named "Messiah" because it's "a title that's only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ."

Does the magistrate's ruling have a prayer of holding up under Tennessee law?

Fake Cop Pulls Over Real Police Officers in N.M.

A fake cop in New Mexico picked the wrong people to pull over this week when he chose to stop an unmarked truck with two state police officers inside.

John Shelton, 26, allegedly armed with a pistol on his hip and his experience as an emergency medical tech and a firefighter, detained two undercover officers traveling on a state highway in San Miguel County and was eventually arrested for impersonating an officer, reports The Albuquerque Journal.

Turns out that pretending to be a cop can have real consequences.

Man Who Blew Up Dog to Face Animal Cruelty Charge After Uproar

A man arrested for allegedly blowing up his dog is set to face an animal cruelty charge -- though prosecutors initially questioned whether the charge fit the alleged crime.

Christopher Dillingham, 45, of Stevenson, Washington, allegedly attached explosives to his dog's neck and then set them off, according to The Associated Press. Neighbors heard a loud explosion about 4 a.m. Sunday. When police responded, they found the blown-up body parts of Cabella, a Labrador Retriever, splattered all across Dillingham's yard.

Prosecutors at first only charged Dillingham for the alleged use of explosives. Why didn't they decide to charge him with animal cruelty until days later?

Beauty Queen Busted Over Homemade Bottle Bombs

A beauty queen was arrested along with three friends after allegedly lobbing homemade bombs at people and homes.

The reigning "Miss Riverton," whose non-bejeweled name is Kendra McKenzie Gill, was crowned in June and set to compete in the Miss Utah pageant. But that didn't stop the 18-year-old and her friends from chucking homemade bombs in the Salt Lake City suburb of Riverton.

Surprisingly, she didn't build the bomb with Botox.

Fake 'Service Dogs' Unleash Abuse by Non-Disabled New Yorkers

Move over disabled line cutters, fake "service dogs" are the newest and most fashionable way for the entitled to pimp their status.

New York City has been hit by a glut of phony "service dog" tags which can be purchased online. The tags allow "ordinary" dogs to enter restaurants, grocery stores, and malls, despite those businesses' "no-pets" policies, reports The New York Post.

So what, if anything, is being done to curb the use of fake service dogs?

Drunk Urinator Can't Get Workers' Comp for Fall

A drunk urinator has been denied workers' compensation benefits for falling over a railing while taking a whizz.

Longshoreman Gary Schwirse sustained an injury in 2006 from a drunken fall at his workplace in Portland, Oregon. He had apparently imbibed a half-pint of whiskey and at least nine beers, registering a blood-alcohol level of 0.25 percent. He also tested positive for marijuana use.

Initially, Schwirse's workers' comp claim was successful, based on his assertion that he'd tripped over an orange traffic cone at a Marine Terminals Corp. dock, The Oregonian reports. But upon appeal, one sobering fact tripped him up in court.

Does Fracking Settlement's Gag Order Apply to Kids?

Two young children appear to be under a lifetime "gag order" when it comes to fracking activities and a shale formation near their home in Pennsylvania. The order stemmed from their parents' settlement in a high-profile lawsuit over an underground deposit known as the "Marcellus Shale" in western Pennsylvania.

It's not uncommon for fracking settlements to require plaintiffs to keep mum about details. But insisting on applying the nondisclosure agreement to the kiddies, too? That's pretty weird.

Weird it may be, but is it legal?

Summer Camp Sued for $600K Over Alleged 'Kissy-Fit'

The parents of a 15-year-old girl who was kicked out of summer camp for kissing a boy are suing the camp and its directors for more than $600,000 in damages.

The lawsuit filed by "Jane Doe's" parents claims the teen suffered "severe emotional distress" and humiliation after she kissed the boy (named "Dick" in the lawsuit) and was escorted out of the camp by an armed police officer, reports United Press International. What's worse: The camp's director allegedly threw a hissy kissy-fit.

Was the abrupt end for "Dick" and "Jane" enough to justify more than a half-million dollars in damages?