Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

February 2016 Archives

Man in Walmart Vest Leaves Store With Four Flat-Screen TVs

With so many Walmart stores around the country, there is no shortage of news stories about the chain. But this latest is most amazing for the fact that it doesn't happen more often. A man in a Virginia location donned a Walmart vest over his clothes and stole multiple televisions from the store, reports UPI.

A maintenance worker has been arrested in Fullerton, California and charged with 33 burglaries, all involving women he tracked using the photo-based social media app Instagram. Arturo Galvan allegedly targeted Chapman University and Cal State Fullerton students, and is accused of stealing over $256,000 worth electronics, jewelry, and clothing, including underwear from some of the women's sorority houses.

So how did Galvan identify his burglary victims and find out where they lived? And what can you do to protect yourself?

While there are no hard and fast rules to joyriding, there are some general parameters. The first is that is should involve something stolen; preferably the ride itself, but we'll also accept stolen cargo like a stuffed alligator or live great horned owl. Second, there should be some amount of freedom to the ride, i.e., you can go wherever you want. That freedom is part of what puts the "joy" in joyriding.

Which is why we're baffled by one woman's attempt to take a train for a joyride. Sure, the train would've been stolen, but those pesky tracks tend to limit your freedom of joyriding, no?

Brothers Arrested After Mocking Judge on Facebook

Do you ever feel like you just can't say anything anymore without paying for it? That's because we post our thoughts on social media, and some of us don't think much before we do. Now two brothers in England are thinking a lot about free speech on Facebook as they sit in jail, remanded into custody after insulting the judge who gave them suspended sentences.

Daniel and Samuel Sledden, along with their father, all pled guilty to trafficking in cannabis out of their home, according to The Guardian. The two sons -- Daniel, 27, and Samuel, 22 -- mocked Judge Beverly Lunt online just after she gave both suspended sentences. Now they are in custody again while she reconsiders the suspension and whether they should be incarcerated after all.

Late Shift: Waitress Spiked Co-Worker's Drink With Meth

You may not love your co-workers, but do yourself a favor and don't commit a crime that gets them hospitalized. A waitress in Dawsonville, Georgia, Sonseriea Dawn Evans, was arrested after a two-month investigation of her Waffle House co-worker's sudden illness led directly to her, according to the Associated Press.

The waitress has been charged with spiking the drink of a 37-year-old waiter with methamphetamine during their late night shift at Waffle House. He reportedly overdosed, was in a coma, and was critically ill. He has been in medical care ever since December 23 when he collapsed at work in his Atlanta-area restaurant.

Feeding Pigeons Means Fines and Jail Time in NM City

Laws reflect the specific preoccupations of the people in the places where they are passed, and this is particularly true for local ordinances. Everywhere you go around the world or around the US, you will find different prohibitions that express the unique concerns of citizens.

Some places don't want people walking around barefoot, or wearing certain costumes on Halloweens. And in Carlsbad, New Mexico, the City Council doesn't want you feeding the pigeons, according to KRQE News. Doing so could result in a $500 fine or even jail time.

Florida Teen Poses as Doctor, Steals From Elderly

"Just because you saw a season of Grey's Anatomy doesn't mean you could practice medicine," the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office tweeted after arresting a Florida teen at his medical clinic last week. Malachi Love-Robinson was charged with practicing medicine without a license, according to United Press International.

This week Love-Robinson was also charged with grand theft and forgery for stealing from one of his elderly patients, according to ABC News. So how did this happen? And how can it be that this is not the first time?

Why Kris Jenner Cannot Be a #ProudMama

Do you hashtag? Hashtags are usually used to commune online, or gather information. So why have they become so divisive that people are threatening to sue over them?

If you keep up with the Jenner-Kardashians then you'll know that for the rich, everything is a source of potential profit and litigation. Now proud mama of the famous, profitable, and litigious Kardashian clan, Kris Jenner, faces legal threats from a jewelry brand claiming she's infringing on their intellectual property by using #ProudMama in posts about her children while promoting a jewelry line.

CA Congressman Puffs E-cig at Legislative Debate

Yesterday, California Congressman Duncan Hunter became the first US legislator to vape at a congressional hearing. Exhaling vapors from his e-cigarette during a debate on their use on planes held by the Transport Committee, Hunter explained the advantages of "vaping" over smoking.

"This is called a vaporizer," Hunter said, as his colleague beside can be seen waving the vapors around with her hand. Congresswoman Candace Miller's gesture is typically used to indicate how irritating cigarette smoke is to the person sitting by a smoker, but Hunter was unfazed and continued, "There's no combustion. There's no carcinogens ... Smoking has gone down as the use of vaporizers has gone up."

We know, we know: no one actually reads the terms of service. Well, someone must've read through Amazon's terms of service for its game-development software, because it turns out those terms can be disregarded in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

Does this mean Amazon Prime members can finally get drone delivery if society collapses because reanimated human corpses are transmitting a widespread viral infection by feeding on living flesh?

If you needed yet another cautionary tale against soliciting strangers to rob your fast food drive-thru, look no further than the sad story of Alayna Weishner-Rush of Canton Township, Pennsylvania. Weishner-Rush is accused of recruiting a man and woman to rob the Burger King at which she worked, while she was on duty.

The lesson, as always, is you can't trust anyone in this cold, cold world, least of all two perfect strangers, with your plans for the perfect heist.

One normally doesn't think of the prison population as being especially helpful when it comes to fighting crime. But as one state Department of Corrections official said, "we've got 26,000 felons behind bars, and they know a lot."

So how do you figure out what they know? Here's an idea -- give inmates playing cards featuring cold cases, and then wait for the inmates to solve them.

'Bonnie and Clyde' Crime Spree Ends With Man's Death

The romance of the "real-life Bonnie and Clyde" (or the latest couple given this moniker) -- reached what might be called its inevitable end yesterday. Blake Fitzgerald was killed in a shootout with police in Florida, according to ABC News, after a wild week-long crime spree with his partner Brittany Harper.

Fitzgerald and Harper fought officers to the end. Now she is in a hospital and will face numerous criminal charges and he is gone forever. They were supposedly planning to get married and start a new life in Florida. Both were reportedly in their thirties.

Did Missouri Violate Tax Laws by Paying Executioners $250K in Cash?

Traditionally executioners wore hoods as it has always been understood that the business of death is grizzly. This is all the more true when the executioner is an authority, and that perhaps explains why the state of Missouri is reportedly paying its death penalty bills with, well, unmarked bills, envelopes stuffed with cash.

According to an investigation by BuzzFeed News -- a review of receipts, confidential communications, and cash withdrawals -- state officials spent nearly a quarter million in cash on executions since November 2013 alone. It is a strange tale of a trail of payments to nurses, anesthesiologists, and drug suppliers going by anonymous names like M1 and M2 and receiving envelopes stuffed with dollars. So, is Missouri violating federal tax law?

Porcelain Pup Thief Sweetens Apology With Chocolate Offerings

People make mistakes and most of us can understand and forgive, especially when forgiveness is sought politely in a typed letter and sweetened with chocolate offerings. That is what happened at a Belfast pub when a thief who stole a porcelain dog returned it with an eloquent explanation, a chocolate egg, and a promise to behave in the future, Mashable reports.

So could you avoid theft charges if you did the same thing? There are no guarantees. But sweet things do sometimes happen, as you are about to see.

If peeing in public is cool, consider San Francisco to be Miles Davis. The City by the Bay has had a long history battling public urination, and has deployed numerous strategies, from $500 fines to urine-repellant paint, to deter public pissers, with little or no success.

But San Francisco may have finally stumbled upon a solution. The city's (and possibly the nation's) first open air urinal, located in newly renovated Dolores Park. Just in time for the Super Bowl!